Korean War: Enemy Flanks Eighth Army in the West 1950 (13)

 The smallest detail, taken from the actual incident in war, is more instructive for me, a soldier, than all the Thiers and Jominis in the world. They speak, no doubt, for the heads of states and armies but they never show me what I wish to know—a battalion, a company, a squad, in action.  

The N.K. 6th, farthest to the west of the enemy divisions, had a special mission. After the fall of Seoul, it followed the N.K. 3rd and 4th Divisions across the Han as far as Chonan. There the N.K. Army issued new orders to it, and pursuant to them on 11 July it turned west off the main highway toward the west coast. For the next two weeks the division passed from the view of Eighth Army intelligence. Various intelligence summaries carried it as location unknown, or placed it vaguely in the northwest above the Kum River.  

Actually, the 6th Division was moving rapidly south over the western coastal road net. Its shadow before long would turn into a pall of gloom and impending disaster over the entire U.N. plan to defend southern Korea. Its maneuver was one of the most successful of either Army in the Korean War. It compelled the redisposition of Eighth Army at the end of July and caused Tokyo and Washington to alter their plans for the conduct of the war.  

Departing Yesan on 13 July, the N.K. 6th Division started south in two columns and crossed the lower Kum River. (See Map III.) The larger force appeared before Kunsan about the time the 3rd and 4th Divisions attacked Taejon. The port town fell to the enemy without resistance. The division’s two columns united in front of Chonju, thirty miles to the southeast, and quickly reduced that town, which was defended by ROK police. [N13-1 ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 100 (N.K. 6th Div), pp. 33-35; GHQ FEC Sitrep, 20 Jul 50.]  

The N.K. 6th Division was now poised to make an end run through southwest Korea toward Pusan, around the left flank of Eighth Army. In all Korea southwest of the Taejon-Taegu-Pusan highway, at this time, there were only a few hundred survivors of the ROK 7th Division, some scattered ROK marines, and local police units. [N13-2 EUSAK WD, Briefing for CG and G-3 Sec, 20 Jul 50.] 

The 6th Division departed Chonju on or about 20 July. At Kwangju on 23 July the three regiments of the division separated. The 13th went southwest to Mokp’o on the coast, the 14th south to Posong, and the 15th southeast through Sunchon to Yosu on the southern coast. The division encountered little resistance during this week of almost constant movement. About 25 July, it reassembled at Sunchon , ninety air miles west of Pusan, and made ready for its critical drive eastward toward that port. Logistically, the division was poorly prepared for this operation. Its supply was poor and rations were cut in half and on some days there were none. [N13-3 ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 100 (N.K. 6th Div), p. 36. The dates given in the enemy interrogations are often erroneous by one to several days, dependent as they are on human memory. They always have to be checked against U.S. records.]  

Advancing next on Chinju, General Pang Ho San, commander of the N.K. 6th Division, proclaimed to his troops on the eve of the advance, “Comrades, the enemy is demoralized. The task given us is the liberation of Masan and Chinju and the annihilation of the remnants of the enemy. . . . The liberation of Chinju and Masan means the final battle to cut off the windpipe of the enemy.” [N13-4 ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 100 (N.K. 6th Div), p. 37.]

 Everywhere refugees fled the terror sweeping over southwest Korea with the advance of the North Korean Army and guerrilla units. An entry on 29 July in the diary of a guerrilla tellingly illustrates the reasons for panic: “Apprehended 12 men; National Assembly members, police sergeants and Myon leaders. Killed four of them at the scene, and the remaining eight were shot after investigation by the People’s court.” [N13-5 ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 2, pp. 8689, Notebook, Itinerary of Guerrilla Band, 4 Jul-3 Aug 50.6 Telecom, Tokyo to Washington, TT 3559, 21 Jul 50, and TT 3563, 22 Jul 50.]

 Walker Acts

 During the battle for Taejon, U.N. aerial observers had reported enemy movements south of the Kum River near the west coast. U.N. intelligence mistakenly concluded that these troops were elements of the N.K. 4th Division. A report from the Far East Command to Washington on 21 July noted this enemy movement and attributed it to that division. The next day a similar report from the Far East Command stated, “The 4th North Korean Division . . . has been picked up in assemblies in the vicinity of Nonsan.” Enemy forces in battalion and regimental strength, the report said, were moving in a “southward trend, colliding with local police forces.” General MacArthur’s headquarters considered this “a very bold movement, evidently predicated on the conviction of the enemy high command that the Allied units are potentially bottled up in the mountainous areas northeast of the headwaters of the Kum River. . . . The potential of the advance of the enemy 4th Division to the south is altogether uncomfortable, since at the moment, except for air strikes, there is no organized force capable of firm resistance, except local police units.”

General Walker knew enemy units were moving south of the Kum River into southwest Korea and maintained aerial observation of the roads there when flying weather conditions permitted. His intelligence section wanted distant armored reconnaissance of this region, but the armored vehicles and personnel to carry it out were not available. In addition to aerial reconnaissance, however, there were the many reports from local South Korean police units. These often were vague, conflicting, and, it was thought, exaggerated.

[N13-7 Telephone interv, author with Lieutenant Colonel James C. Tarkenton, Jr. (Eighth Army G-2 in 1950), 3 Oct 52. Colonel Tarkenton said that at this time he used two L-4 planes to fly daily reconnaissance to the west coast below the Kum River. Information also came from aerial combat missions.]

 On 21-22 July, heavy overcast prevented aerial reconnaissance and permitted the enemy to put his columns on the road during daylight and to move rapidly without fear of aerial attack. Alarm at Eighth Army headquarters began to grow. The Fifth Air Force had moved its advance headquarters from Itazuke, Japan, to Taegu on 16 July. The most advanced air bases in Japan—Itazuke and Ashiya—were hardly close enough to the battle area of early and middle July to allow more than fifteen to twenty minutes of support by jet fighters. When weather was bad the F-80 jets could scarcely fly a mission at the front and get back to Itazuke. Effective 24 July, the advance group of the Air Force was designated as the Fifth Air Force in Korea. Fair weather returned on 23 July, and General Walker requested the Fifth Air Force to fly an armed reconnaissance of the Kwangju-Nonsan area. [N13-8 EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 23 Jul 50; Landrum, Notes for author, n.d., but received 8 Mar 54; New York Times, July 23, 1950; USAF Hist Study 71, pp. 15-16, 20].

 When General Walker asked for aerial reconnaissance of southwest Korea on 23 July, he had at hand a G-2 estimate of the enemy situation in the west below the Kum, just provided at his request. This estimate postulated that elements of one division were in the southwest. It estimated the rate of progress at two miles an hour and calculated that if the enemy turned east he could reach the Anui-Chinju line in the Chiri Mountains by 25 July. [N13-9] This proved to be an accurate forecast. The air reconnaissance carried out on 23 July was revealing. It showed that enemy forces had indeed begun a drive south from the estuary of the Kum River and were swinging east behind the left (west) flank of Eighth Army.[N13-10]

[N13-9 EUSAK WD, G-2 Stf Rpt, 23 Jul 50; Interv, author with Tarkenton, 3 Oct 52.] & [N13-10 EUSAK WD, G-3 Sec, 24 Jul 50.]

 On the basis of the time and space estimate given him on the 23rd and the aerial reconnaissance of the same date, General Walker realized that a major crisis was developing in a section far behind the lines, and at a time when constant enemy attack was pushing his front back. On 24 July, Eighth Army made its first move to counter the threatened enemy envelopment in the southwest. General Walker decided to send the 24th Division posthaste southward to block the enemy enveloping move. He also directed his chief of staff, Colonel Landrum, personally to make sure that the Fifth Air Force made a major effort against the enemy forces in southwest Korea. [N13-11 Interv, author with Lieutenant Colonel Paul F. Smith, 1 Oct 52; Landrum, Notes for author, recd 8 Mar 54.]

 At noon on the 24th, General Walker asked General Church, the new commander of the 24th Division, to come to Eighth Army headquarters in Taegu. There Walker informed him of the threat in the southwest and told him that he would have to move the 24th Division to the sector. “I am sorry to have to do this,” he said, “but the whole left flank is open, and reports indicate the Koreans are moving in. I want you to cover the area from Chinju up to near Kumchon.” [N13-12] The two places General Walker mentioned are sixty-five air miles apart and separated by the wild Chiri Mountains.

 General Church had assumed command of the 24th Division just the day before, on 23 July, after General Dean had been three days missing in action. The division had been out of the line and in army reserve just one day. It had not had time to re-equip and receive replacements for losses. The division supply officer estimated that 60 to 70 percent of the division’s equipment would have to be replaced. All three regiments were far understrength. [N1313]

 [N13-12 Interv, author with Church, 25 Sep 52.] & [N13-13 EUSAK WD, Summ, 12-31 Jul 50; 24th Div Go 52, 23 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, G-4 Hist Rpt, 23 Jul-25 Aug 50, p. 16 At one point in his career, General Church had commanded the 157th Regiment at Anzio in World War II.]

 General Church immediately ordered the 19th Infantry to move to Chinju, and it started from Kumchon shortly before midnight, 24 July. The next day, 25 July, at 1700, Eighth Army formally ordered the division, less the 21st Regiment, to defend the Chinju area. [N13-14]

 Eighth Army now had reports of 10 enemy tanks and 500 infantry in Mokpo at the southwest tip of the peninsula; 26 trucks and 700 soldiers in Namwon; tanks, trucks, and 800 soldiers in Kurye; and 500 enemy troops engaging South Korean police in Hadong. [N13-15] The Eighth Army G-2 estimated at this time that the N.K. 4th Division was dispersed over 3,300 square miles of southwest Korea.

 On the morning of 25 July, Colonel Ned D. Moore arrived at Chinju about 0600, preceding his 19th Infantry Regiment headquarters and the 2nd Battalion, which reached the town at 1500 in the afternoon. Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Rhea, following with the 1st Battalion, remained behind on the Kumchon road north of Chinju. There, at Anui, where a road came in from the west, Colonel Rhea placed A Company in a defensive position. The remainder of the battalion continued south eight miles to a main road junction at Umyong-ni (Sanggam on some old maps and Hwasan-ni on others), just east of Hamyang. [N13-16]

 The next day, 26 July, Colonel Charles E. Beauchamp’s 34th Infantry Regiment, on orders from General Church, moved from the Kunwi-Uisong area north of Taegu to Kochang. At the same time the 24th Division headquarters and divisional troops moved to Hyopch’on, where General Church established his command post. Hyopch’on is 12 air miles west of the Naktong River, 25 miles north of Chinju, and 15 miles southeast of Kochang. It was reasonably well centered in the vast area the division had to defend.[N13-17]

 [N13-14 24th Div WD, Jul 50, 25-26 Jul;Ibid., G-2 Jnl, entries 53, 241440 Jul 50, and 104, 2517000 Jul 50; EUSAK WD POR 36, 24 Jul 50.] & [N13-15 EUSAK PIR 13, 25 Jul 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, 25 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, G-2 Jnl, entry 81, 250215, entry 1513, 251700, and entry 1491, 250530 Jul 50; Telecon, Tokyo to Washington, TT 3567, 24 Jul 50.] & [N13-16 Ltr, Colonel Robert L. Rhea to author, 21 Sep 53; Moore, Notes for author, Jul 53; 24th Div WD, 25-26 Jul 50.] & [N13-17 Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52; 24th Div WD, 26 Jul 50.]

 Of the eleven infantry battalions requested by General MacArthur in early July to make up shortages within the infantry divisions of the Far East Command, two battalions from the 29th Infantry Regiment on Okinawa were the first to arrive in Korea. The history of these units between the time they were alerted for probable combat use in Korea and their commitment in battle shows the increasing sense of urgency that gripped the Far East Command in July, and how promises and estimates made one day in good faith had to be discarded the next because of the growing crisis in Korea. And it also shows how troops not ready for combat nevertheless suddenly found themselves in it.

 About the middle of July, Major Tony J. Raibl, Executive Officer, 3rd Battalion, 29th Infantry, learned in Tokyo that the Far East Command expected that the regiment would have at least six weeks’ training before being sent to Korea. [N13-18 Interv, author with Raibl, 7 Oct 53; Raibl, 10-page typescript statement prepared for author, 19 Oct 53, on events leading up to and participation of 3rd Bn, 29th Inf, in action at Hadong; Ltr, Capt James E. Townes (S-4, 3rd Bn, 29th Inf, Jul ]

 Yet, immediately after making that estimate, the Far East Command issued orders to the regiment on 15 July to prepare for movement. All troops were placed in two battalions, the 1st and 3rd. Lieutenant Colonel Wesley C. Wilson commanded the 1st Battalion and Lieutenant Colonel Harold W. Mott, the 3rd Battalion. The regimental headquarters was to remain behind as a nucleus for a new regiment that would assume responsibility for the ground defense of Okinawa. The USS Walker arrived at Okinawa on the 20th with about 400 recruits. They were hastily disembarked and allowed to take with them only their toilet articles, driven to the battalion areas, assigned to companies, issued arms and field equipment, and moved back to the Naha docks. On 21 July the two battalions, now at full strength, loaded on board the Fentriss and Takasago Maru during a heavy rain and sailed for Pusan.

 On 20 July at Yokohama, Major Raibl learned that the two battalions would not come to Japan but would sail directly for Korea, where they would receive at least ten days of intensive field training in the vicinity of Pusan before they would be committed. When Major Raibl arrived at Taegu on 22 July, he found Colonel Allan D. MacLean, Eighth Army Assistant G-3, in no mood to listen to or discuss the lack of combat readiness of the 29th Infantry. Raibl talked at length with General Walker, who was sympathetic but indicated that the situation was urgent. When he left Taegu, Raibl understood that the two battalions would have a minimum of three days at Pusan to draw equipment and zero-in and test fire their weapons. [N13-19 Raibl, Statement for author, 19 Oct 53 Interv, author with Lt Col Charles E. Arnold (Ex Off, 1st Bn, 29th Inf, Jul 50), 22 Jul 51; Captain Sam C. Holliday, Notes prepared for author, 31 Mar 53, on 1st Bn, 29th Inf, 21 Jul-4 Aug 50 (Holliday was S-2, 1st Bn, in Jul 50); Ltr, Gen Wright to author, 9 Mar 54; 3rd Bn, 27th Inf, Hist Rpt, 24 Jul-31 Aug 50) to author, 8 Oct 53. 50 (3rd Bn, 29th Inf, in Jul 50).]

 Instead, when the two battalions disembarked at Pusan the morning of 24 July orders from Eighth Army awaited them to proceed to Chinju. There they would be attached to the 19th Infantry Regiment. The next afternoon the two battalions arrived at Chinju. Instead of the six weeks of training first agreed upon, they found themselves now in a forward position, rifles not zeroed, mortars not test-fired, and new .50-caliber machine guns with cosmoline rubbed off but not cleaned. [N13-20 EUSAK WD, POR 36, 24 Jul 50; Ibid., G-4 Sec, 24 Jul 50.]

 That evening, 25 July, Colonel Mott received orders from Colonel Moore, commanding the 19th Infantry at Chinju, to seize Hadong, a road junction point thirty-five miles southwest of Chinju. Colonel Moore said that about 500 N.K. troops were moving on Hadong and comprised the nearest enemy organized resistance. Major General Chae Byong Duk, formerly ROK Army Chief of Staff and now in Chinju, urged on Colonel Moore the importance of Hadong in controlling the western approach to Chinju and the desirability of holding it. He offered to accompany any force sent to Hadong. Colonel Moore gave Chae permission to accompany the troops; he had no command function-he was merely to serve as an interpreter, guide, and adviser to Colonel Mott.

[N13-2121 Raibl Statement, 19 Oct 53; Interv, author with Raibl, 7 Oct 53; Interv, author with Major George F. Sharra (CO L Co, 29th Inf, Jul 50), 20 Oct 53; Interv, author with Col Moore, 20 Aug 52.]

 The Trap at Hadong

 At dusk, 25 July, the 3rd Battalion issued a warning order to its units to be prepared to move at 2230 that night, with the mission of seizing Hadong. Colonel Mott and Major Raibl based their plans on the assumption that the battalion would reach Hadong before daylight. They expected that some enemy troops would already be in the town.

 Half an hour after midnight the motorized battalion started for Hadong. General Chae and some other ROK officers guided the column south out of Chinju through Konyang, where it turned north to strike the main Chinju-Hadong road at Wonjon. In taking this route they had detoured from the direct road because of an impassable ford. The column spent the entire night trying to negotiate the narrow road and pulling vehicles out of rice paddies. [N13-22 Raibl Statement, 19 Oct 53; Intervs, author with Raibl, 7 Oct 53, and Sharra, 20 Oct 53.]

 A little after daylight, the battalion encountered a truck traveling south containing 15 to 20 badly shot-up South Koreans. They claimed to be the only survivors of about 400 local militia at Hadong, which the North Koreans had attacked the night before. Pondering this grave information, Colonel Mott led the battalion on to Wonjon on the main road. There he halted the battalion for breakfast and set up security positions. Mott and Raibl decided that Colonel Moore should know about the happenings at Hadong and, since the battalion did not have radio communication with the 19th Infantry in Chinju, Raibl set out by jeep to tell him.

 At Chinju, Raibl told Colonel Moore and Major Logan the story related by the wounded South Koreans. He requested authority for the 3rd Battalion, 29th Infantry, to dig in on a defensive position west of Chinju to cover the Hadong road. After considerable discussion, Colonel Moore told Raibl that the battalion should continue on and seize Hadong. Major Raibl accepted the order reluctantly since he thought the battalion could not accomplish this mission. Major Raibl returned to Wonjon shortly after noon and informed Colonel Mott of the instructions. Colonel Mott stopped the battalion at dusk at the village of Hoengchon, situated about three miles from Hadong on a bend of the tortuous mountain road.

 An Air Force captain with a radio jeep and a tactical air control party arrived a little later. His mission was to direct air strikes the next day and provide communication for the battalion. But en route his radio had become defective and now he could not establish communication with Chinju.

 The battalion moved out from Hoengch’on-ni at approximately 0845, 27 July. Captain George F. Sharra and L Company, with a platoon of the Heavy Weapons Company, were in the lead, followed by the battalion command group and K, M, and I Companies, in that order. Sharra was an experienced rifle company commander, having seen action in Africa, Sicily, France, and Germany in World War II.

 When he was about 1,000 yards from the top of the Hadong pass, Sharra saw a patrol of ten or twelve enemy soldiers come through the pass and start down toward him. The Heavy Weapons platoon fired their two 75-mm. recoilless rifles at the patrol but the rounds passed harmlessly overhead. The enemy patrol turned and ran back over the pass. Captain Sharra ordered L Company to dash to the top of the pass and secure it. His men reached the top and deployed on either side of the pass. It was now about 0930. Sharra received orders for L Company to dig in and wait for an air strike on Hadong scheduled for 0945. [N13-23 Raibl Statement, 19 Oct 53; Interv, author with Maj Robert M. Flynn, 5 Nov 53 (Flynn was S-3, 3rd Bn, 29th Inf, in Jul 50); 25th Div WD, 3rd Bn, 27th Inf, Hist Rpt, 24 Jul-31 Aug 50.]

 The road climbed to the top of the pass along the southern shoulder of a high mountain in a series of snakelike turns, and then started downward to-Hadong a mile and a half westward. A high peak on the right (north) towered over the road at the pass; to the left the ground dropped away rapidly to flat paddy land along the Sumjin River.

 The command group, including Colonel Mott, Captain Flynn, and most of the battalion staff, now hurried forward to the pass. General Chae and his party accompanied Colonel Mott. Captain Sharra pointed out to Colonel Mott unidentified people moving about on the higher ground some distance to the north. Mott looked and replied, “Yes, I have K Company moving up there.” Raibl, at the rear of the column, received orders from Mott to join him at the pass, and he hurried forward. As the battalion command group gathered in the pass, Captain Sharra, thinking that it made an unusually attractive target, walked over to the left and dropped to the ground beside the gunner of a light machine gun.

 Raibl arrived at the pass. He saw that L Company was deployed with two platoons on the left of the pass and one platoon on the right, and that K Company was climbing toward higher ground farther to the north. Colonel Mott directed Raibl’s attention down the road toward Hadong. Around a curve came a column of enemy soldiers marching on either side of the road. Sharra also saw it. He directed his machine gunner to withhold fire until the column was closer and he gave the word. The enemy soldiers seemed unaware that American troops were occupying the pass.

 Standing beside Raibl in the pass, General Chae watched the approaching soldiers, apparently trying to determine their identity. Some appeared to be wearing American green fatigue uniforms and others the mustard brown of the North Korean Army. When the approaching men were about 100 yards away, Genera] Chae shouted to them in Korean, apparently asking their identity. At this, they scampered to the ditches without answering. The machine guns of L Company then opened fire. Sharra, who had the column in clear view, estimates it comprised a company. [N13-24 Raibl statement, 19 Oct 53; Intervs, author with Raibl, 7 Oct 53, Sharra, 20 Oct 53, and Flynn, 5 Nov 53; Interv, author with Captain Kenneth W. Hughes (who commanded the advanced mortar platoon at Hadong), 21 Jul 51. All these men saw the incident described and agree on the essentials.]

 Almost simultaneously with the opening of American fire, enemy machine gun, mortar, and small arms fire swept over the pass from the high ground to the north. The first burst of enemy machine gun fire struck General Chae in the head and a great stream of blood spurted from the wound. He died instantly. Korean aides carried his body back to a vehicle. The same machine gun fire hit Major Raibl. He rolled down the incline to get out of the line of fire. Colonel Mott, the S-2, and the Assistant S-2 were also wounded by this initial enemy fire into the pass. Enemy mortars apparently had been registered on the pass, for their first rounds fell on the road and knocked out parked vehicles, including the TACP radio jeep. Captain Flynn, unhurt, dropped to the ground and rolled down from the pass. In the first minute of enemy fire the 3rd Battalion staff was almost wiped out.

 Just after the fight opened, Major Raibl saw two flights of two planes each fly back and forth over the area, apparently trying vainly to contact the TACP below. They finally flew off without making any strikes. Raibl was wounded again by mortar fragments and went down the hill seeking a medical aid man. Meanwhile, Colonel Mott, wounded only slightly by a bullet crease across the back, got out of the line of fire. He was just below the pass helping to unload ammunition when a box dropped, breaking his foot. A soldier dug him a foxhole. As the fighting developed, everyone in Mott’s vicinity was either killed or wounded, or had withdrawn down the hill. Very soon, it appears, no one knew where Mott was. [N13-25 Intervs, author with Raibl, 7 Oct 53, Flynn, 5 Nov 53, and Sharra, 20 Oct 53.]

 In the pass a hard fight flared between L Company and the North Koreans higher up the hill. On the righthand (north) side of the road, 2nd Lieutenant J. Morrissey and his 1st Platoon bore the brunt of this fight. The enemy was just above them and the machine gun that had all but wiped out the battalion group in the road was only 200 yards from the pass. Enemy soldiers immediately came in between them and elements of K Company that were trying to climb the hill higher up. These North Koreans attacked Morrissey’s men in their foxholes, bayoneting two of them. Morrissey proved a capable leader, however, and his men held their position despite numerous casualties.

 Across the road on the south side of the pass, Captain Sharra and the 2nd Platoon gave supporting fire to Morrissey’s men. Sharra had only voice communication with his three platoons. It is a tribute to the officers, the noncommissioned officers, and the rank and file, half of them young recruits freshly arrived from the United States, that L Company held steadfast in its positions on both sides of the pass against enemy fire and attack from commanding terrain. The North Korean soldiers exposed themselves recklessly and many must have been killed or wounded.

 Captain Flynn hastened down from the pass at the beginning of the fight to hurry up the supporting elements of the battalion. Down the road he found part of the Heavy Weapons Company and part of K Company. He ordered a platoon of K Company to attack up the hill, and talked by radio with the company commander, Captain Joseph K. Donahue, who was killed later in the day. Flynn continued on down the road looking for I Company.

 Coming to the battalion trains, Flynn had the wounded, including Major Raibl, loaded on the trucks and started them back to Chinju. Farther in the rear, Flynn found 1st Lieutenant Alexander G. Makarounis and I Company. He ordered Makarounis to move the company into the gap between L and K Companies. Flynn started one of its platoons under MSergeant James A. Applegate into the rice paddies on the left of the road, where he thought it could get cover from the dikes in crossing a large, horseshoe-shaped bowl in its advance toward the enemy-held hill mass. [N13-26 Interv, author with Flynn, 5 Nov 53.]

 About noon, 2nd Lieutenant Ernest Philips of L Company came to Captain Sharra in the pass and told him he had found Colonel Mott, wounded, a short distance away. Philips went back and carried Mott to Sharra’s position. Mott told Sharra to take over command of the battalion and to get it out.

 Sharra sent instructions to his three platoons to withdraw to the road at the foot of the pass. His runner to Lieutenant Morrissey and the 1st Platoon on the north side of the pass never reached them. As the L Company men arrived at the trucks they loaded on them, and at midafternoon started for Chinju. On the way back to Chinju this group met B Battery, 13th Field Artillery Battalion, which had started for Hadong on Colonel Moore’s orders at 0800 that morning. The artillery battery had moved slowly with many stops for reconnaissance. It now turned around and went back to Chinju, abandoning one 105-mm. howitzer and four 2½-ton trucks that became bogged down in rice paddies. [N13-27 13th FA Bn WD, 27 Jul 50.]27

Meanwhile, a radio message from Colonel Mott reached Flynn near the top of the pass, ordering all elements still on the hill to withdraw. Flynn climbed to a point where he could call to Lieutenant Morrissey, still holding out on the right of the pass, and told him to withdraw.

 Morrissey had twelve men left; he and one other were wounded. The unidentified Air Force captain with the TACP had fought all day as a rifleman with Morrissey’s platoon and had distinguished himself by his bravery. Now he was either dead or missing. Captain Mitchell, the battalion S-2, likewise had fought all day as a rifleman but he lived to withdraw. Morrissey’s riflemen fell back down the road to the waiting vehicles and wearily climbed in. When all were accounted for, Captain Flynn started them for Chinju. Then, getting into his own jeep, he found it would not run.

 Flynn clambered down to the low ground south of the road. In the rice paddies he saw many men of I Company. Looking back at the pass he saw enemy troops coming down off the hill, perhaps a battalion or more of them. Mortar and machine gun fire now swept the paddy area. The men caught there had to cross a deep, 20-foot-wide stream to escape, and many drowned in the attempt. Most men rid themselves of helmet, shoes, nearly all clothing, and even their weapons in trying to cross this stream.

 Flynn got across and, in a little valley about a mile and a half away, he found perhaps sixty to seventy other American soldiers. While they rested briefly, enemy fire suddenly came in on them from pursuers and they scattered like quail seeking cover. Flynn and three companions walked all night. The next afternoon his party, now numbering ten men, entered the lines of the 19th Infantry.

 The largest single group of survivors escaped by going south to the seacoast only a few miles distant. Sergeant Applegate of I Company led one group of ninety-seven men to the coast, where a Korean fishing vessel took them on board at Noryangjin, five miles south of Hadong. From there the vessel went west to a point near Yosu, where it transferred the men to a Korean naval patrol vessel which returned them to Pusan.

 The morning that Mott’s battalion approached Hadong, 27 July, Captain Barszcz received orders to take his G Company, 19th Infantry, from Chinju on a motorized patrol along secondary roads northeast of Hadong. He mounted his seventy-eight men in vehicles and conducted the patrol about fourteen miles northeast of Hadong without encountering the enemy. In the afternoon Barszcz returned to the main Hadong-Chinju road near the village of Sigum, about twelve miles east of Hadong. While he stopped there, an officer with about fifty men came down the road from the direction of Hadong. They told him they were all that were left of L Company. Most of the men were without clothing except for their shorts and boots. One M1 rifle, which apparently had not been fired, and a .45-caliber pistol were their only weapons. The L Company group explained their condition by saying they had to swim a river and wade through rice paddies. Barszcz relieved the group of the weapons, put the men on two trucks, and sent them down the road to Chinju.

 Expecting more American stragglers from Hadong, Barszcz put G Company astride the road in a defensive position to cover their withdrawal. He had sent a message with the Chinju-bound trucks explaining what he had done and asked for further orders. [N13-29] Barszcz held his roadblock east of Hadong until 0400 the morning of 28 July, when Captain Montesclaros from the staff of 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry, arrived with orders and trucks to take G Company back to a line of hills just west of the Nam River, about four miles from Chinju. [N13-30]

 At first, Colonel Moore had thought that the Hadong fight was going well. Major Raibl arrived at Chinju with the first wounded in the early afternoon of 27 July, and reported that the 3rd Battalion was fighting well and that he thought it would win the battle. But, when other survivors came in later, the real outcome of the engagement became clear. News of the disaster at Hadong reached higher headquarters with unexpected and startling impact. A message from Major Logan, 19th Infantry, to General Church that night reporting on the condition of the 3rd Battalion, 29th Infantry, said, “No estimate on total number of casualties. Over 100 WIA now in aid station” [N13-31] A count the next day of the assembled 3rd Battalion showed there were 354 officers and men, including some walking wounded, able for duty. When all the stragglers had come in, casualties were listed as 2 killed, 52 wounded, and 349 missing. An enemy soldier captured later said the North Koreans took approximately 100 American prisoners at Hadong. When American forces rewon the Hadong area in late September a search uncovered 313 American bodies, most of them along the river and in the rice paddies.[N13-32]

 [N13-29 Ltrs, Captain Michael Barszcz to author, 30 Jul and 21 Aug 52; Interv, Blumenson with Herbert (Plat Ldr, 1st Plat, G Co, 19th Inf, in Jul 50), 31 Jul 51, in OCMH files as Chinju Action.] & [N13-30 Ltrs, Barszcz to author, 30 Jul and 21 Aug 52; Intervs, author with McGrail and Montesclaros, 20 Aug 52.] & [n13-31 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 159, 27 Jul 50.] & [N13-32 24th Div G-2 Jnl, entry, 1583, 272210 Jul 50; EUSAK. WD, Br for CG, 27 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 206, 281245 Jul 50; 25th Div WD, 3rd Bn, 27th Inf, Hist Rpt, 24 Jul-31 Aug 50; Ltr, Townes to author, 8 Oct 53; 25th Div WD, Aug 50, 35th Inf Interrog PW’s (Ko Hei Yo). Major Sharra gave the author the figure of 313 American dead.]

 The loss of key officers in the battalion was severe. It included the battalion executive officer, the S-1, the S-2, and the Assistant S-3. The company commanders of Headquarters, I, K, and M Companies were lost, Donahue of K and Captain Hugh P. Milleson of M were killed, Makarounis of I was captured. (He escaped from the North Koreans in October near Pyongyang.) Approximately thirty vehicles and practically all the crew-served weapons, communication equipment, and even most of the individual weapons were lost. [N13-33 25th Div WD, 3rd Bn, 27th Inf Hist Rpt, 24 Jul-31 Aug 50.]

 On 28 July, the day after Hadong, the 3rd Battalion, 29th Infantry, was reorganized, all remaining personnel being grouped in K and L Companies. The next day,K Company was attached to the 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry, at Chinju, and L Company to the 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry, two miles to the south of Chinju. [N13-34 24th Div WD, 30 Jul 50.]

 The N.K. 4th Division Joins the Enveloping Move

 After the fall of Taejon, the N.K. 4th Division rested in the city for two days and took in 1,000 untrained replacements. On the morning of 23 July, it started south from Taejon on the Kumsan road. It was joining the 6th Division in an envelopment of the United Nations’ left flank. The N.K. 6th Division moved on an outer arc around the left of the U.N. position, the N.K. 4th Division on an inner arc. The two divisions were engaging in a co-ordinated movement on a theater scale. [N13-35]

 At Kumsan the 4th Division received another 1,000 replacements that had trained only a few days. Departing Kumsan on or about 25 July, the division reportedly left behind the tank regiment that had accompanied it ever since they had crossed the 38th Parallel together a month earlier. The tanks were to remain in Kumsan until the division had crossed the Naktong. [N13-36]

 On 28 July the first indication appeared in American intelligence estimates that elements of the N.K. 6th Division might have moved south. The next day the Eighth Army intelligence section conjectured that the enemy had shifted troops southward. It stated that major parts of one enemy division probably were in the Chinju area and major elements of another in the Kochang area. While the estimate did not identify the enemy unit in the Kochang area, it erroneously repeated that “all elements of this division [the 4th] are attacking eastward along the axis Chinju—Masan.” [N13-37] Even after the Hadong battle on the 27th, Eighth Army did not know that these troops were from the 6th Division.

 [N13-35 ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 100 (N.K. 6th Div), pp. 35-37; Ibid., Issue 94 (N.K. 4th Div), pp. 46-47.] & [N13-36 Ibid., Issue 94 (N.K. 4th Div), p. 47.] & [N13-37 EUSAK WD, G-2 Stf Sec Rpt, 29 Jul 50.]

The 34th Infantry of the 24th Division, defending the Kochang approach to the Naktong, had a regimental strength at this time of about 1,150 men, with the 1st and 3rd Battalions averaging approximately 350 men each. It was in position at Kochang on 27 July. Kochang is about midway on the main road between Kumchon and Chinju and is strategically located near the point where two lateral east-west roads, one from Namwon and Hamyang and the other from Chinan, cross the Kumchon-Chinju road and continue eastward through Hyopch’on and Ch’ogye to the Naktong River. Chinju is thirty-five air miles south of Kochang.

 On 27 July, Colonel Moore sent Colonel Wilson with the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry, north from Chinju to relieve Colonel Rhea in the Anui area. Colonel Rhea was then to bring his battalion south to Chinju, where Colonel Moore planned to concentrate the 19th Infantry. The relief took place at Umyong-ni in the early afternoon of 27 July. Wilson’s battalion had no artillery, armor, or air support. A platoon of 4.2 mortars had only two rounds of white phosphorous shells for ammunition. Mounted messengers traveling over thirty-five miles of road were the only means of communication between Wilson and Colonel Moore’s command post. [N13-38 Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53]

 In the early afternoon, Colonel Rhea guided 1st Lieutenant John C. Hughes with B Company, 29th Infantry, reinforced by approximately thirty-five men and their weapons from the Heavy Weapons Company, from Umyong-ni to relieve A Company, 19th Infantry, at Anui. A Company was engaged in a small arms fight and its relief could not be accomplished at once. Colonel Rhea returned to Umyong-ni, leaving instructions that the company should follow him as soon as possible, which he expected would be shortly. At Umyong-ni Rhea waited about five hours for A Company. Then, when reconnaissance toward Anui showed that an enemy force had cut the road, he started just before dusk with the rest of the battalion for Chinju as ordered. [N13-39]  

Meanwhile, Colonel Wilson had sent 2nd Lieutenant Frank Iwanczyk, Assistant S-3, with two jeeps from Umyong-ni to make contact with the 34th Infantry at Kochang; 1st Lieutenant Sam C. Holliday, S-2, went to make contact with the ROK troops at Hamyang. Iwanczyk set off northward. At the Anui crossroads he checked his map and then led off toward Kochang, waving the other jeep to follow. Because of the heavy dust the second jeep kept well behind the first.

 A mile north of the crossroads, an enemy machine gun, hidden in a native hut on a turn of the road, suddenly poured devastating fire into the lead jeep. The bodies of all four men fell from the wrecked vehicle into a rice field. The second jeep stopped with a jerk and the men jumped into the ditch by the road. After three or four minutes of silence, seven or eight North Korean soldiers started down the road. They passed the first jeep and, when nearing the second, they shouted and started to run toward it. Private Sidney D. Talley stood up and fired his M1 at the North Koreans. He killed two of them. His three companions now joined in firing. The surviving North Koreans turned and ran back.

 One of the Americans scrambled up the bank, turned the jeep around, the others jumped in, and the driver raced back to the Anui crossroads. There, they excitedly told members of B Company about the roadblock. At the battalion command post they repeated their story. [N13-40]

 By this time, Lieutenant Holliday had returned from Hamyang. There he had found somewhat less than 600 men of the ROK 7th Division and 150 fresh South Korean marines from Mokpo. Holliday with three men now set off for Anui. Two and a half miles short of the town, enemy fire from a roadblock destroyed their jeep and wounded one man in the chest. Holliday covered the withdrawal of his three men with BAR fire, and then followed them.

 Relieved finally at Anui about 1600, A Company, 19th Infantry, loaded into trucks and started south to join Rhea’s battalion. A mile below the town the company ran into a fire fight between North and South Korean troops and was stopped. After enemy fire wrecked six of its vehicles, the company destroyed the others, abandoned its heavy equipment, and started on foot through the hills toward the 34th Infantry positions at Kochang. The next morning 64 American and 60 ROK soldiers came in to Colonel Beauchamp’s positions there. Why this force did not return to Anui and join Lieutenant Hughes is not known.[N13-41]  

[N13-39 Ltrs, Col Rhea to author, 9 Apr and 21 Sep 53.] & {n13- 40 Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53.]

Meanwhile at Anui, Lieutenant Hughes’ B Company, 29th Infantry, was under attack from superior numbers closing in from three sides, and by nightfall it had been forced back into the town. Hughes made plans to withdraw across the upper Nam River to a high hill east of the town. Two officers and sixteen men got across before enemy automatic fire cut off the rest. After vainly trying to help the rest of the company to break out eastward, the eighteen men went over the hills to the 34th Infantry position at Kochang. In Anui the cutoff troops engaged in street fighting until midnight. Those who escaped walked out through the hills during the next several days. Approximately half of the 215 men of B and D Companies, 29th Infantry, taking part in the Anui battle, were either killed or listed as missing in action. [N13-42]

 Colonel Wilson and the rest of the battalion at Umyong-ni meanwhile knew nothing of the fate of B Company at Anui except that enemy forces had engaged it, and that roadblocks were above and below it. Wilson made two unsuccessful attempts to send help to B Company.  

[N13-41 Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53; 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 159, 27 Jul, and entries 217 at 281120 and 219 at 281407 Jul 50; Ibid., G-2 Jnl, entry 1570, 27 Jul, and entries 1614 and 1621, 28 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, 29 Jul 50.] & [N13-42 Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53, The account of B Company action at Anui is based largely on information supplied by Lieutenant Hughes in the Notes. ]

The enemy troops that had closed on Anui were advanced units of the N.K. 4th Division. They were well aware that a mixed force of American and South Korean troops was only a few miles below them. To deal with this force, elements of the division turned south from Anui early on 28 July.

 In defensive positions about Umyongni and Hamyang, Colonel Wilson’s men were on the east side of the Nam River. Colonel Min Ki Sik’s remnants of the ROK 7th Division and a small force of South Korean marines were on the west side. American mortar fire turned back the small enemy force that approached Umyong-ni. On the west side of the river near Hamyang a hard fight developed. There, the South Koreans seemed about to lose the battle until their reserve marines fought through to the enemy’s flank. This caused the North Koreans to withdraw northward. From prisoners captured in this battle Wilson learned of the American defeat at Anui the day before. [N13-43]

 Learning that evening that the enemy was moving around his battalion on back trails in the direction of Chinju, Colonel Wilson began, after dark, the first of a series of withdrawals. On 30 July the battalion reached the vicinity of Sanch’ong, twenty miles north of Chinju, and went into defensive positions there on orders from Colonel Moore. Colonel Min’s ROK troops also withdrew southward, passed through Wilson’s positions, and continued on into Chinju. [N13-44]

 [N13-43 Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53.] & [N13-44 Ibid. The author has been unable to find the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry, records for July 1950.]

 The N.K. 4th Division Seizes the Kochang Approach to the Naktong

Having brushed aside the American and ROK force at Anui, in what it called a “small engagement,” the N.K. 4th Division turned northeast toward Kochang. A patrol from the 34th Infantry on 27 July had, from a distance, seen and heard the fighting in progress at Anui. Its report alerted Colonel Beauchamp to the possibility of an early attack. [N13-45]

 Colonel Beauchamp had disposed the 34th Infantry in a three-quarter circle around Kochang, which lay in the middle of a two-and-a-half-mile-wide oval-shaped basin in a north-south mountain valley. The 3rd Battalion was on high ground astride the Anui road two miles west of the town, the 1st Battalion about the same distance east of it on the Hyopchon road, a reinforced platoon of I Company at a roadblock across the Kumchon road four miles north of the town, while the Heavy Mortar Company was at its northern edge. Artillery support consisted of A Battery, 13th Field Artillery Battalion, which had five 105-mm. howitzers in position two miles southeast of the town. [N13-46]

[N13-45 ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 94 (N.K. 4th Div), p. 47; Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52.] * [N13-46 Ibid.; 24th Div WD, 28 Jul 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, 23-29 Jul 50, entries 219, 281407, and 220, 281415; 34th Inf WD, 25 Jul 50; Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52; Interv, author with Cheek (Ex Off, 13th FA Bn, and with A Btry at Kochang in Jul 50), 7 Aug 51.]  

The 34th Infantry, not having been able to re-equip since Taejon, did not have a regimental switchboard. There were only a few radios. The regiment was short of mortars, bazookas, and machine guns. Some of the men did not have complete uniforms, many had no helmets, most did not have entrenching tools. Every man, however, did have his individual weapon. Before dusk of 28 July, forward observers could see a long line of enemy traffic piled up behind a roadblock that the 34th Infantry had constructed at a defile on the Anui road west of the town. They directed artillery fire on this column until darkness fell. [N13-47] Colonel Beauchamp then brought his two infantry battalions closer to Kochang for a tighter defense.  

About dark, Beauchamp received orders to report to the 24th Division command post at Hyopchon. There he told General Church of an anticipated enemy attack and of his plan to withdraw the 3rd Battalion to a previously selected position three miles southeast of Kochang. General Church did not agree and told Beauchamp to hold the town. [N13-48] Beauchamp thereupon telephoned his executive officer and told him to stop the withdrawal of the 3rd Battalion. When Beauchamp returned to Kochang at 0300 everything was quiet. In darkness an hour later (about 0400 29 July), a North Korean attack came from two directions. One force, striking from the north, cut off I Company. Another moved around the town on the north and then struck southward across the road east of Kochang. The 1st Battalion repulsed this attack, but then, without orders, fell back toward the secondary position three miles east of Kochang. Colonel Beauchamp met the battalion on the road and stopped it.  

[N13-47 Intervs, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52, and Cheek, 7 Aug 51; 24th Div WD, 28 Jul 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, 23-29 Jul 50, entry 220, 281415.] * [N13-48 Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52.]  

Before daylight the 3rd Battalion, also without orders, fell back through Kochang, leaving I Company isolated to the north. This battalion ran a gantlet of enemy automatic and small arms fire for a mile, but in the protecting darkness suffered few casualties. After daylight the 1st Battalion rescued all but one platoon of I Company. The men of this platoon were either killed or captured. [N13-49]

 During the predawn attack some small arms fire struck in the howitzer positions of A Battery, 13th Field Artillery Battalion, from a ridge 500 yards eastward. Major Leon B. Cheek, the battalion executive officer, awoke to the sound of the firing. Hurrying to the road he saw the battery commander, who said the enemy had overrun the artillery. The battery executive officer came up and told Cheek that everyone had “taken off,” although he had ordered the men to their foxholes. When the firing began, he said, someone yelled, “Run for your life!” Two squads of infantry attached to the artillery to provide security had joined the stampede. [N13-50]

 Cheek stopped the wild shooting in his vicinity and started toward the howitzers. He ordered all prime movers driven back to the gun positions. Twelve men from the artillery and the drivers of the prime movers obeyed. From the infantry, a BAR man and three riflemen volunteered to go forward to cover the artillerymen while they pulled out the howitzers. Cheek placed these four men in firing positions and they soon almost silenced the enemy. A small enemy patrol of six or seven men apparently had caused the debacle. Cheek and the twelve artillerymen loaded the equipment and ammunition, hitched the prime movers to the guns, and, one by one, pulled the five howitzers to the road. They then withdrew eastward.

 [N13-49 34th Inf WD, 29 Jul 50.] & [N13-50 Interv, author with Cheek, 7 Aug 51; Ltr, Ayres to author, 5 Jun 53 (Ayres commanded the 1st Bn, 34th Inf, at Kochang); 13th FA Bn WD, 29 Jul 50; Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52.]

 During 29 July the 34th Infantry Regiment withdrew eastward 15 miles to hill positions near Sanje-ri on the road to Hyopch’on. From a point 3 miles southeast of Kochang the road for the next 10 miles is virtually a defile. The withdrawing 34th Infantry and its engineer troops blew all the bridges and at many points set off demolition charges in the cliffs overhanging the road.

 The 18th Regiment of the enemy division pressed on after the retreating 34th Infantry. The N.K. 4th Division left its artillery behind at Kochang because of the destroyed bridges ahead of it. In advancing to the Naktong River on the Hyopchon road, it employed only small arms and mortar fire. [N13-51]

 It was anticipated that the enemy force which had captured Kochang would soon approach the Naktong River for a crossing below Taegu. This prospect created another difficulty for Eighth Army. To meet it, General Walker told General Church he would send to him the ROK 17th Regiment, one of the best South Korean units at that time. He also shifted the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, from the Pohang-dong Yongdok area on the east coast to Hyopchon, where it took up defensive positions back of the 34th Infantry west of the town. The ROK 17th Regiment, 2,000 strong, arrived at the 34th Infantry position in the dead of night at 0200 30 July. It went at once into positions on the high ground on either flank. [N13-52] 

[N13-51 Interv, author with Beauchamp, 24 Sep 52; 34th Inf WD, 29 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, 30 Jul 50; ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 94 (N.K. 4th Div), p. 48.] 

Only after the Kochang action did Eighth Army finally, on 31 July, identify the enemy unit in this area as the 4th Division. This led it to conclude in turn that the enemy force in the Chinju area was the 6th Division. Eighth Army then decided that the enemy effort against the United Nations’ left flank was in reality being carried out by two widely separated forces: the N.K. 4th Division from the Anui-Kochang area, to envelop the main battle positions on Eighth Army’s left flank, and the N.K. 6th Division from the Chinju area, to cut lines of communication in the rear, drive through Masan, and capture the port of Pusan. [N13-53]

[N13-52 24th Div WD, 30 Jul 50; Interv, author with Church, 25 Sep 52. The 34th Infantry War Diary for 29 July says that the ROK 17th Regiment was in position that day.] * [N13-53 EUSAK WD, PIR 19, 31 Jul 50.]

Chinju Falls to the Enemy—31 July

 On 28 July, Colonel Rhea arrived at Chinju from Anui with the 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry, less A Company. He passed through the town with orders to take up blocking positions ten miles south. Rhea proceeded to the vicinity of Kuho-ri, about two miles west of the Sachon Airfield. There his battalion of only 200 riflemen went into position to block a secondary road approach to Chinju along the coast from Hadong. [N13-54] Colonel McGrail’s 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry, that same morning occupied defensive positions on high ground astride the Chinju-Hadong road just west of the Nam River. Remnants of the 3rd Battalion, 29th Infantry, that had escaped from the Hadong fight and numerous ROK troops were in and around Chinju. Aerial reconnaissance during that day and the next showed heavy enemy traffic entering Hadong from all roads and noted movement northeast on the Chinju road. American intelligence estimated that two enemy regiments with tanks were in the Hadong area. [N13-55]

 Before noon, 29 July, an enemy column with three motorcycles in the lead approached the 2nd Battalion’s advanced blocking position about six miles southwest of Chinju. Although there was an automatic weapon available, it did not fire on the column. The few rounds of artillery that fell were inaccurate and ineffective. The advanced unit, F Company, then withdrew to join the main battalion position just west of the Nam River four miles from Chinju. An air strike on the enemy column reportedly inflicted considerable damage, halting it temporarily.56

[N13-54 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 206, 281245 Jul 50; Ltrs, Rhea to author, 9 Apr and 21 Sep 53.] * [N13-55 24th Div WD, G-2 Jnl, entries 1651, 290755, and 1753, 290818 Jul 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, entries 247, 29100, and 260, 291 145 Jul 50.] * [N13-56 Interv, author with Montesclaros, 20 Aug 52; 24th Div WD, 29 Jul 50; 19th Inf WD, 29 Jul 50.]

 Early the next morning an enemy unit moved around the right flank (north) of the 2nd Battalion and cut the road running northwest out of Chinju to the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry. Captain Barszcz, from G Company’s position across the Nam River west of Chinju, saw and reported at least 800 enemy troops moving across his front. Small arms fire did not disperse them. He called for an aerial observer, but the observer overhead reported he saw no enemy. The reason was clear: the North Koreans were all wearing foliage camouflage and they squatted quietly on the ground while the plane was overhead. Captain Barszcz directed artillery fire on the column, but after about twenty rounds the artillery stopped firing because of ammunition shortage. Rain and low overcasts during the day hampered efforts of aerial reconnaissance to report on enemy movements. [N13-57]  

That afternoon, 30 July, E and F Companies of the 19th Infantry fell back across the Nam River to the hills two miles west of Chinju. Just before evening, G Company crossed the river from its isolated position. Once on the east side it took up a defensive position in the flat ground near the river bank, with the mission of preventing enemy infiltration into Chinju between the road and the river. The hill positions of the rest of the battalion were beyond the road to its right (north). There was no physical contact between G Company and these troops. [N13-58]

 [N13-57 Ltr, Barszcz to author, 30 Jul 52; 24th Div WD, 30 Jul 50; 19th Inf WD, 30 Jul 50. Civilians in the Chinju area seemed openly hostile to American troops and friendly to the enemy. Refugees had to be watched closely. Interv, Blumenson with Herbert, 31 Jul 51.] * [N13-58 Ltr, Barszcz to author, 30 Jul 52; Notes, Montesclaros (Asst S-3, 2nd Bn, 19th Inf) for author, n.d.; Interv, Blumenson with Herbert, 31 Jul 51.]

The 19th Infantry faced the critical test of the defense of Chinju pitifully understrength. Its unit report for 30 July gives the regiment a strength of 1,895, with 300 men in the 1st Battalion and 290 men in the 2nd Battalion. Colonel Moore, however, states that the strength of the 19th Infantry on 30 July, including the replacements that arrived that afternoon, was 1,544. The 3rd Battalion, 29th Infantry, still disorganized as a result of the Hadong battle, had a reported strength that day of 396 men. On 30 July, all ROK forces in the Chinju area came under Colonel Moore’s command, including the remnants of the 7th Division, now known as Task Force Min, which during the day arrived at Chinju from the Hamyang area with 1,249 men. [N13-59]  

Several hundred replacements arrived at Chinju for the 19th Infantry at this time—175 on 28 July and 600 on 30 July—but it is doubtful if they contributed much to the combat effectiveness of the regiment in the Chinju battle. Of the 600 that arrived on 30 July, 500 went to the 19th Infantry and most of the remainder to the 13th Field Artillery Battalion. About 1600 these replacements started forward from the regimental command post in Chinju for distribution by the battalions to the rifle companies that evening. Although the rifle companies were then engaged with the enemy, Colonel Moore decided that they needed replacements at the front to help in the fighting, and that it would be best to send them forward at once rather than to wait for an opportunity to integrate them into the units during a lull in the battle. [N13-60]

 [N13-59 19th Inf Unit Rpt 21, 30 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, G-3 Jnl, entry 386, 312325 Jul 50; EUSAK WD POR 53, 30 Jul 50; GHQ UNC G-3 Opn Rpt, 31 Jul 50.] * [N13-60 19th Inf WD, Narr Summ, 22 Jul-25 Aug 50; Intervs, author with Moore, 20 Aug 52, and McGrail, 24 Oct 52.] 

The 1st Battalion received about 150 of the replacements just before dark and Colonel Rhea immediately assigned them to companies. Some died without ever appearing on the company rosters. The 2nd Battalion received an approximately equal number of replacements, and they, too, reached the rifle companies about dusk. Of the sixty replacements assigned to G Company, four or five became casualties before they reached the company position. Captain Barszcz had pleaded in vain with the battalion executive against sending replacements to him in the midst of action. He believed that they not only would be a burden to him but that many of them would be casualties. In the battle that night both fears became reality. [N13-61]  

After dark the enemy moved in for close-quarter attack. Before midnight, G Company killed several North Korean soldiers inside its perimeter. Out of communication with battalion headquarters, and with friendly artillery fire falling near, Barszcz tried to join the other rifle companies on his right, but he found North Koreans on the road in strength and had to move around them. About midnight he crossed the road to the north side. There he and his men lay hidden in bushes for two or three hours. During this time several enemy tanks loaded with infantry passed along the road headed in the direction of Chinju. [N13-62] 

[N13-61 Ltr, Rhea to author, 9 Apr 53; Ltr, Barszcz to author, 21 Aug 52; Interv, Blumenson with 2nd Lieutenant Joseph Szito, 25 Aug 51, Action in Chinju, in OCMH. Szito, in July 1950, was in the Mortar Platoon, H Company, 19th Infantry.] * [N13-62 Ltr, Barszcz to author, 30 Jul 52; Interv, Blumenson with Herbert, 31 Jul 51.]

The North Koreans directed their main attack against E and F Companies in front of Chinju. This began about 0215, 31 July, with artillery barrages. Forty-five minutes later whistles signaled the infantry attack and enemy soldiers closed in, delivering small arms fire. The main effort was against F Company on the hill overlooking the river. There a crisis developed about 0500. [N13-63]

 Back of the F Company hill, members of the Heavy Weapons Company watched the battle as it developed in front of them. One of the youngsters in H Company said, “Here comes the cavalry just like in the movies,”. as a platoon of F Company came off the hill followed by North Koreans. Other members of F Company ran toward E Company’s position. At least one platoon of the Heavy Weapons Company opened fire on the intermingled American and North Korean soldiers. Within a few minutes, however, this platoon withdrew toward Chinju. At the edge of the town, Colonel McGrail met H Company and put it in a defensive position around the battalion command post. The organized parts of E and F Companies also fell back on Chinju about daylight. [N13-64]

[N13-63 19th Inf Unit Rpt 22, 31 Jul 50; Interv, author with McGrail, 24 Oct 52; Interv, Blumenson with Szito, 25 Aug 51.] * [N13-64 Interv, Blumenson with Szito, 25 Aug 51.]

 While this battle was in progress, Captain Barszcz received radio orders to move to Chinju. He took his company north over high ground and then circled eastward. On the way he picked up stragglers and wounded men from E, F, and H Companies, 19th Infantry, and K Company, 29th Infantry. By daylight his group was two or three miles northeast of Chinju. Around noon, Barszcz joined Colonel Moore and elements of the 19th Infantry east of the town. During the night, G Company had suffered about 40 casualties, but of this number it brought approximately 20 wounded through the hills with it—10 were litter cases. [N13-65] The 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry, also had come under attack during the night. It held a strong defensive position below the Nam River on high ground four miles south of Chinju, overlooking the Sachon-Chinju road near its juncture with the road east to Masan.

 Colonel Rhea and his men at dusk on 30 July could clearly see North Koreans out in the open going into position, but they were forbidden to fire because a ROK Marine battalion attack was scheduled to sweep across in front of them. But the ROK’s never entered the fight there, and the enemy used this three-to four-hour period unmolested for maneuvering against the 1st Battalion. [N13-66]

 That night, enemy mortars and self-propelled weapons supported efforts of the N.K. 15th Regiment to infiltrate the 1st Battalion’s position. But it was on terrain hard to attack, and the enemy effort failed. The North Koreans in front of the 1st Battalion withdrew before dawn, apparently veering off to the northwest.

[N13-65 Ltr, Barszcz to author, 30 Jul 52; Interv, Blumenson with Herbert, 31 Jul 51; Moore, Notes for author, Jul 53.] * [N13-66 Ltrs, Rhea to author, 9 Apr and 21 Sep 53, together with sketch map of 1st Bn positions, 28-31 Jul 50.]

 After daylight, 31 July, Colonel Rhea, on orders from Colonel Moore, began moving his battalion ten miles eastward on the Masan road to occupy a defensive position at the Chinju pass. The 1st Battalion withdrew to this position without enemy contact and went into defensive perimeter there astride the road before nightfall. [N13-67]

 Within Chinju itself, Colonel Moore, shortly after daybreak, prepared to evacuate the town. By 0600 enemy small arms fire was striking in its western edge, and six North Korean armored vehicles, which Colonel Moore believed to be three tanks and three self-propelled guns, were in Chinju firing at American targets. At 0640 Moore ordered heavy equipment withdrawn from the town. Fifty minutes later the 13th Field Artillery Battalion (less A Battery) and B Battery, 11th Field Artillery Battalion, started to displace and move eastward. Enemy mortar, machine gun, and small arms fire fell in Chinju during the withdrawal. Enemy snipers were also inside the town. [N13-68]

 By 0745, 31 July, Major Jack R. Emery, regimental S-4, had dispatched eastward out of Chinju the last of five trains totaling twenty-five cars evacuating the 19th Infantry supplies. Colonel Moore and his command post stayed in Chinju until about 0800. The withdrawal from Chinju was relatively orderly, although slow and laborious, with refugees, animal-drawn wagons, and American and ROK foot soldiers intermingled in the streets. There was some tendency to panic, however, and Colonel Moore himself had occasion to stop some cars that started to “take off” east of Chinju. [N13-69]

 [N13-67 Ibid.; Ltr, Maj Elliot C. Cutler, Jr., to author, 9 Mar 53. Cutler was Acting S-3, 19th Infantry, at the time.] * [N13-68 Intervs, author with Moore and Montesclaros, 20 Aug 52; 24th Div WD, 31 Jul 50; 25th Div WD, 3rd Bn, 27th Inf, Hist Rpt, Aug 50; New York Times, August 1, 1950, W. H. Lawrence dispatch from southwestern front; 13th FA Bn WD, 31 Jul 50.] * [N13-69 Interv, author with Moore, 20 Aug 52; Interv, Blumenson with Szito, 25 Aug 51.]

 The main highway bridge over the Nam at the southern edge of Chinju was under enemy fire and considered unusable. In the withdrawal, therefore, the 2nd Battalion followed the road north of the Nam to Uiryong, where it assembled on the evening of 31 July. The regimental command post moved eastward out of Chinju, crossed the Nam about 3 miles northeast of the town, and then went east on the Masan road to Chiryong-ni, a small village 12 air miles east of Chinju and 1 mile beyond the Much’on-ni-Masan road fork. The artillery, accompanied by the 3rd Battalion, 29th Infantry, withdrew from Chinju north of the Nam River, crossing to the south side at Uiryong, and went into an assembly area at Komam-ni (Saga) shortly after noon. There it received an airdrop message from General Church ordering it to return to the vicinity of Chinju. During the afternoon the five 105-mm. howitzers of B Battery, 13th Field Artillery Battalion, and the eight 155-mm. howitzers of B Battery, 11th Field Artillery Battalion, rolled west and went into position at the Chinju pass in support of Colonel Rhea’s 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry. [N13-70]

 The 19th Infantry estimated enemy strength in the Chinju area, when the city fell on the morning of 31 July, as 2,000 troops, with an unknown number of tanks and artillery pieces. American aerial strikes on Chinju during the day left it in flames. Late that night a Ko rean source sent a message that 4,000 enemy troops were in Chinju setting up communications and weapons. [N13-71]

 A ROK Army source reported that North Koreans had secured Chinju at 0900, 31 July. This may very well have been true for the main part of the town north of the Nam River, but it was not true for that part south of the Nam, where 1st Lieutenant Samuel R. Fowler and fourteen enlisted men still stayed by three M26 Pershing medium tanks.

 [N13-70 Intervs, author with Moore, 20 Aug 52, and McGrail, 24 Oct 52; Ltr, Cutler to author, 9 Mar 53; 13th FA Bn WD, 31 Jul 50.] * [N13-71 19th Inf Unit Rpt 22, 31 Jul 50; 24th Div WD, G-2 Jnl, entry 10, 010255 Aug 50; Ibid., G-3 Jnl, entry 421, 011800 Aug 50.]

 Three Pershing Tanks at Chinju  

One little drama was enacted in Chinju on 31 July after the 19th Infantry withdrew from the town that should be told. It is the story of the first three medium tanks in Korea and their brave commander. On 28 June, the fourth day of the war, Colonel Olaf P. Winningstad, Eighth Army Ordnance chief, found three M26 Pershing medium tanks at the Tokyo Ordnance Depot in bad condition and needing extensive repairs, including rebuilt engines. The repair work began at once and was completed on 13 July. The three tanks were shipped to Pusan where they arrived on 16 July, the first American medium tanks in Korea. With them were Lieutenant Fowler and fourteen enlisted crew members. Trained to operate M24 light tanks, they were now expected to become familiar with the Pershing tank.

 The tanks gave trouble because of improper fan belts that would stretch and permit the motors to overheat. Belts made in Japan were either too short or too long despite emergency orders for corrections in them. [N13-72]

 Eighth Army hoped to use these tanks to help stop the North Korean drive in the southwest. It sent them by rail to Chinju where they arrived at 0300, 28 July. They were unloaded at the Rail Transportation Office on the south side of the Nam River where the rail line terminated. There they awaited new belts. When the N.K. 6th Division entered Chinju on the morning of 31 July, these tanks took no part in the battle.

 Flatcars from Pusan to evacuate the tanks passed through Masan the morning of 31 July but never got beyond Chungam-ni, about twenty-five miles short of Chinju. Snarled rail traffic caused by evacuation of the 19th Infantry supplies blocked the way.

 At daybreak, Lieutenant Fowler went to Colonel Moore for instructions. Moore told him that if the enemy overran the 19th Infantry positions on the northwest side of Chinju and he could not evacuate the tanks under their own power, he was to destroy them and evacuate his tank crews by truck. Lieutenant Fowler telephoned Masan and apparently learned that the flatcars had departed there for Chinju to get the tanks. He decided to stay. [N13-73] Gradually the firing in Chinju died down. A ROK soldier who passed the rail station about noon told Fowler that only a very few ROK soldiers were still in the town.

[N13-72 EUSAK Inspector General Rpt (Colonel William O. Perry), Three M26 Tanks at Chinju, 31 Jul 50, dated 10 Sep 50.] * [N13-73 Ibid., testimonies of Colonel Moore, Maj Emery, Captain Applegate (RTO Off, Masan), Private First Class Harold Delmar; Interv, author with Moore, 20 Aug 52.]

 A little later, William R. Moore, an Associated Press correspondent, suddenly appeared and suggested to Fowler that he should check a body of men coming up the rail track. It was now perhaps an hour past noon. Fowler had an interpreter call to the approaching men. They were North Koreans. Fowler ordered his tank crews to open fire. In the fire fight that immediately flared between the tank .30- and .50-caliber machine guns and the enemy small arms fire, Fowler received a bullet in his left side. In this close-range fight the tank machine gun fire killed or wounded most of the enemy group, which was about platoon size. The tankers put Fowler into his tank and started the three tanks east on the road to Masan.

 Two miles down the road the tanks came to a blown bridge. The men prepared to abandon the tanks and proceed on foot. They removed Fowler from his tank and made a litter for him. Fowler ordered the men to destroy the tanks by dropping grenades into them. Three men started for the tanks to do this. At this moment an enemy force lying in ambush opened fire. A number of men got under the bridge with Fowler. Master Sergeant Bryant E. W. Shrader was the only man on the tanks. He opened fire with the .30-caliber machine gun. A North Korean called out in English for the men to surrender. Shrader left the machine gun, started the tank, and drove it close to one of the other tanks. He dropped the escape hatch and took in six men. He then drove back toward Chinju and stopped the tank a few feet short of the bridge over the Nam, undecided whether to cross to the other side. There the overheated engine stopped and would not start again. The seven men abandoned the tank and ran into the bamboo thickets fringing the river. After many close calls with enemy forces Shrader and his group finally reached safety and passed through the lines of the 25th Division west of Masan. [N13-74]

 The men back at the blown bridge had no chance. Some were killed or wounded at the first fire. Others were killed or wounded under the bridge. A few ran into nearby fields trying to escape but were killed or captured. One of those captured said later he saw several bodies floating in the stream and recognized two as Fowler and Moore. [N13-75] Colonel Wilson Escapes With the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry On the morning of 31 July, the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry, was at Sanchong. It was unaware that Chinju, twenty air miles to the southeast, had fallen and that the 19th Infantry Regiment had withdrawn eastward.

 The mess trucks that went to Chinju the day before from the battalion had not returned. During the morning local villagers suddenly disappeared, a sure sign that enemy forces were approaching. Colonel Wilson drove south to Tansong, ten air miles from Chinju, where he had a roadblock. While he talked with Lieutenant Criffin, who was in command of a platoon there, about 700 refugees streamed through the roadblock. All agreed that enemy troops were behind them. [N13-76]

 [N13-74 EUSAK IG Rpt, testimony of Captain John W. Coyle, Jr. (CO 8066th Mech Rec Det), 2nd Lieutenant Vincent P. Geske, Sergeant Francis A. Hober, and Master Sergeant Bryant E. W. Shrader (C Co, 89th Tk Bn), Private First Class Carl Anderson; ATIS Res Supp Interrog Rpts, Issue 1, Rpt 1, p. 119, Captain Pak Tong Huk.] * [N13-75 EUSAK IG Rpt, testimony of Private First Class Anderson.] * [N13-76 Ltr, Colonel Wesley C. Wilson to author, 13 Jun 53; Holliday, Notes for author, 31 Mar 53.]

 Colonel Wilson now decided to send the battalion’s heavy vehicles out eastward before the roads were cut. His executive officer, Major Charles E. Arnold, brought the vehicular convoy to Tansong and there it turned east over a trail through the mountains in the direction of Uiryong. The trail was passable only to jeeps. But by the labors of his own men and all the Koreans he could assemble, Arnold improved it to the extent that all vehicles got through and reached Chungam-ni, except one that broke through an improvised bridge and was abandoned.

 At 1700, Colonel Wilson and the battalion troops started withdrawing southward from Sanch’ong. They had marched about an hour when a liaison plane flew over the column and dropped a message. Opening it, Colonel Wilson was astonished to read, “Yesterday you were ordered to report to the concentration area of Haman. What are you doing here?” Haman was thirty-five miles away as the crow flies and much farther by the roads and mountain trails.

 Wilson led his battalion on down to Tansong. There, a South Korean naval lieutenant detached himself from a group of refugees and came over to Wilson with a map. He said he had been at Chinju and that the American troops had left there, retreating eastward. He continued, “The Reds are just seven miles behind us and will get here tonight.” Wilson talked to him at length and became convinced that his story was reliable. After consulting some of the battalion staff, Wilson decided to leave the Chinju road and head for Haman across the mountains.

 The men discarded all personal effects. Three or four sick and injured soldiers rode in the few jeeps, which also carried the radios, mortars, and machine guns. The battalion late in the evening headed east over the Uiryong trail. At 0200 the men reached Masangni, where the last north-south road that the enemy from the Chinju area could use to cut them off intersected the lateral trail they were following. Once east of this crossroad point, Wilson halted the battalion and, after security guards were posted, the men lay down to rest. During their night march, many refugees had joined them.

 At 0600 the next morning, 1 August, the battalion took up the march eastward. It forded a stream and, half a mile beyond, the footsore men came on a gladsome sight: Major Arnold awaited them with a convoy of the battalion’s trucks that he had led out the day before. On the last day of July the North Koreans could look back on a spectacular triumph in their enveloping maneuver through southwest Korea. Chinju had fallen. Their troops were ready to march on Masan and, once past that place, to drive directly on Pusan.

SOURCE: South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu; BY: Colonel Roy E. Appleman (United States Army Center of Military History)

Korean War: Blocking the Road to Masan 1950 (14)

Korean War: (12B) 1st Cavalry Division Arrives 1950

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World War Two: Sicily (2-17) Battle of Traina

The 1st Division’s pursuit of the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division from Nicosia came to an end on 29 July, when heavy rain and stubborn rear guard resistance stopped the 16th RCT about four miles east of the former Axis stronghold. That afternoon the forward troops of the 16th Infantry dug in on three hills which commanded the highway about three miles short of Cerami. Beyond Cerami, eight more miles of road would have to be taken before the 1st Division could enter Troina.

Meanwhile, General Rodt’s 15th Panzer Grenadier Division had completed its preparations to move back toward the Etna line, which, in the northern sector extended from Sant Agata to San Fratello and Cesaro, first occupying an intermediate defense line hinged on Troina. Along this forward line, General Rodt disposed Group Fullriede in Troina and along the high ground north of the town, Group Ens in the terrain to the south. Rodt’s division, united for the first time during the campaign, maintained a loose contact with the Hermann Gӧring Division on its left near Regalbuto, and on the right with the 29th Panzer Grenadier Division, also pulling back along the north coast toward the Etna line. The Aosta Division, holding a vague sector between the 15th and 29th Panzer Grenadier Divisions, placed its four artillery battalions under German control just east of Troina.

 As early as 22 July, American intelligence officers were describing the Etna line with accuracy. But they guessed that the Germans were building up another, more highly organized, final defensive line from which they could launch a vigorous counterattack as well as screen a possible withdrawal to the Italian mainland.

In this the Americans guessed wrong. General Hube had no concept of a final defensive line. Rather, he saw in the northeast sector of the island ground on which he could establish a succession of strongpoints-as opposed to a line of defenses-almost, but not quite, as though lateral means of communication did not exist. The fact that the terrain denied freedom of maneuver was something Hube could use to his advantage. If small garrisons proved effective, they could stay as long as they were not endangered by the fall of a flanking stronghold. And when the garrisons were in imminent danger of falling or of being encircled, they would have at their rear a good road along which they could withdraw. At the same time, most of the defending forces would be well away from the front lines.

 It was the failure to appreciate the priority which the Germans gave to their withdrawal movement that caused the Americans most of their trouble at Troina. This failure was spotlighted by the unremitting search for a final defensive line in the Seventh Army’s zone. All information pointed to heavy troop and materiel movements passing through, and not stopping at, Troina. Air reconnaissance also discovered a large bivouac area near Cesaro, and when direct observation from Nicosia and Cerami showed how lightly Troina was held, the guesses about where the Germans would hold focused farther and farther eastward. On 28 July, the II Corps G-2 believed the Germans would continue their rear guard actions and make a final stand either along a line located on high ground some five miles east of Troina, or along a line between Cesaro and Randazzo. The reason: “The successful defense of Catania and the Catania Plain have raised German morale and hopes to the point where they are willing to gamble two or three more divisions to hold a Sicilian bridgehead.” On 30 July, the II Corps G-2 said: “Indications from observed bivouac areas north of Cesaro and the general withdrawal of the enemy east of Cesaro following the day’s fighting are that the enemy is falling back to that area.”

 The II Corps and the 1st Division intelligence estimates also emphasized the poor condition and small size of the enemy force holding Troina. Relying chiefly on prisoner of war and civilian testimony, the 1st Division G-2 (Lieutenant Colonel Ray W. Porter, Jr.) reported at 1215, 29 July, “Germans very tired, little ammo, many casualties, morale low.” And two days later, he said: “Offering slight resistance to our advancing force, the enemy fought a delaying action while the bulk of the force withdrew toward Cesaro. The delaying forces consisted of small groups of infantry with mortars and machine guns and were supported by artillery.” That same evening, 31 July, the II Corps announced: “Indications are Troina lightly held.”

The terrain facing the II Corps forces on Highway 120 was difficult. Half a dozen ridge systems running generally north and south compartmentalize the terrain between Nicosia and Randazzo, and each series of hills commands the highway. Any of several might have served to anchor a defensive line forward of the Etna positions but the Troina ridge in particular possessed several choice features: avenues of communication in the vicinity of the town were so few and the hill systems so arranged that half a dozen fortified hills could completely control not only Highway 120 but also any endeavor to flank these positions-any attempt to envelop the town would require a very wide encirclement; gun positions in the town not only looked down on the highway, they could also pour effective fire on Cerami (from which an attack had to be launched) and especially on a wide curve which the highway made as it left Cerami; the cup-shaped valley between Cerami and Troina was exceptionally barren and devoid of cover; and, above all, since the Germans had shown from the beginning of the campaign that the one line they insisted on holding was the line stretching along the southern base of Mount Etna, Troina was the best place along Highway 120 that would serve as the continuation of the line from Etna to the north coast.

Nicosia and even Cerami were not only comparatively easy to outflank, but were also too far from the towns holding out against the Eighth Army-first Agira and Regalbuto, but above all Adrano and Catania. To give up these towns (except on a definite timetable) would mean that the greater part of the German garrison in Sicily would be trapped in the Etna area, the limited communications and stone walls of which had been a Major factor in the entire delaying action. Again, to let Troina go and try to use Cesaro (which had nearly the same bundle of things to recommend it) would bring the Allies entirely too close to the southern portion of the Etna line. Cesaro had to be given up after, not before, Adrano, to allow the German center to evacuate along two roads to Messina instead of only one. In other words, the loss of Traina would mean that the entire Etna line would become a dangerous liability.

 The terrain canalized the 1st Division’s advance, and Troina was an effective blocking point. The road itself came under interdiction possibilities at Cerami. Just south of Cerami, a high hill (Hill 1030), and just beyond that the Cerami River, afforded cover for an assembly area, and a stream-bed approach to the southeast of Troina-the so-called Gagliano salient. These features in the approaches to Troina weakened somewhat the all-around defense capabilities. Unlike most other towns in Sicily, Cerami has wide streets. Through traffic would not be a great problem, and a few blown houses would not become an effective barrier.

 But as the highway comes in from the southwest, crosses the south end of town, then turns north, the exposed road emerges into point-blank range for any artillery in or south of Troina. Beyond Cerami, the highway bears east for a mile and a half before making a reverse loop which is a pocket. Sheltered from artillery positions on Monte Acuto by Hill 1234 on the north and from Troina by Hills 1140 and 1061 on the east, the road pocket around a small valley head was in complete defilade; high-angle fire alone could reach it. But the mountain streams that run through the pocket make steep gulches, and two blown bridges in the loop would add considerably to the 1st Division’s engineering problems.

 Beyond the face of Hill 1030, Troina looks down the throat of any force approaching from the west. Two and a half miles of the road were completely dominated by positions in Troina and on the north extension of the Troina ridge. Besides controlling the highway, positions in Troina also covered the hill noses west of the town. Any approach to Troina by troops north of the road must come down these noses, and artillery fire from across the small valley between them and Troina could literally slap an advance in the face. The Major hill noses are those of Hills 1061 and 1035, which could be fired upon also from Monte Acuto. The south and southwest faces of Hill 1061 were defiladed from fire from Monte Acuto; but Hill 1035 (Monte Basilio), an extension of the Acuto ridge, was vulnerable to enfilade on both faces. Thus, an advance on Troina in the terrain north of the highway would be caught between two fires.

 The Monte Acuto position, almost a mile high, marked one of the strong features of the German line. It dominated the lower ridges and ridge noses toward Troina. It covered the valley and the entire Troina front; the highway for some distance west of Troina, and east of the town as far as the Troina River crossing; the front of the positions south of Troina along the Gagliano road; and its own approaches: west from Capizzi, and southwest around the flank of Hill 1254 towards Cerani. Only from the north, where the ground ascended to Monte Pelato, was the Monte Acuto position vulnerable, but only if the defenders could not hold the higher points.

 Troina proper, a town of 12,000 people, was itself a natural strongpoint, built on a bluff ridge, high and dominating. The highway did not go through the town; rather, it ran along the town’s front, then turned left and crossed the ridge through a sort of pass. This had several significant implications. First, Troina was not in itself a roadblock, but its high fortified position enabled it to control not only Highway 120, but also the road southeast to Adrano and a secondary road running southwest to Gagliano. Second, the highway swung around behind the ridge and was defiladed for some distance northeast toward Cesaro. This would make use of the highway possible even under attack from the west, and make it available for a withdrawal from Troina should the situation become untenable.

 These advantages did not obtain against positions on the Troina ridge at Monte Basilio (Hill 1035) which, if taken, would threaten to cut off any forces in Troina from withdrawal to the east. Troina’s streets were narrow with right angle turns. The main street made such a turn on the northeast face of a cliff. At the top of the town, two spires of a Norman church overlooked a small public square. At the cliff front a round feudal tower provided an ideal observation post. The streets, buildings, and massive stone houses made good holding places for infantry.

 Once beaten down from the front, the infantry could always crawl out the back way and down the road to Cesaro. The Troina ridge extended northeast beyond the town, covered the Cesaro road, and afforded excellent artillery emplacements. Shielding the town on the west was another ridge system, with key strongpoints both north and south of the highway, and there would occur some of the bitterest fighting in the battle for Troina, particularly at three key points: Hill 1061, north of the highway; Hills 1006 and 1034, south of the road. Below Hill 1034 the same ridge turned to the east, so that south of Troina the town’s defenses were at right angles to the positions north and west of the town. The south face held the key strongpoints of Hill 851, Monte Bianco, and Monte San Gregorio. Farther south lay the Gagliano salient: Gagliano, Monte Pellegrino, and Monte Salici, the latter two lying on high ground extending east across the Troina River.

 Gagliano was accessible by road from the south; it had few natural defenses and was too far from Troina to be held by a large force. An attacker could make use of the lower half of the Gagliano-Troina road to help gain flanking approaches to the other two hills in the salient and to the key points on the ridge line south of Troina. A powerful strike here could crack the salient and turn up both flanks, or else force a rapid withdrawal from the Pellegrino positions north to the ridge.

 This would pose a serious threat to the left flank of the Troina positions, and like Monte Basilio north of the town, the occupation of Monte Pellegrino would put the attackers in position seriously to threaten the highway east of Troina, the only good route of withdrawal. Throughout the Troina area, the ground was rugged. Hill slopes rose abruptly, forming canyons rather than valleys, and usually separated by rocky streams only a few feet wide. The Americans would find these streams sown with mines. Soldiers would have to scramble over surfaces that would tax the agility of a mountain goat.

 They would find objectives as difficult to recognize as to reach, for the hills looked much alike, and a distinguishing feature noted from one angle would tend to disappear when viewed from a different angle. The Troina area was a demolition engineer’s dream. The smallest ravine was a deep gulch, and a destroyed road would require a bypass down a long descent. The terrain favored the first comer, especially the defender, and the Germans proved to be most adept in selecting and employing the terrain for defense.

 1st Division patrols, from both the 16th and 18th RCT’s, on 30 July had already probed the approaches to Cerami. Noting some artillery and much activity in the town, they made no attempt to enter it. A 39th Infantry attack was scheduled for the following day. This unit, now under Colonel H. A. Flint, had been attached to the 1st Division pending the arrival of the remainder of the 9th Division.

 North of Highway 120 the 4th Tabor of Goums, attached to the 18th Infantry, moved toward Capizzi on 30 July without incident until late in the day. Then small arms and mortar fire stopped the goums. Not until daylight, 31 July, and only after a heavy volume of covering artillery fire were the Gourniers able to enter Capizzi. An advance that afternoon of a mile and a half northeast of Capizzi to Hill 1321 (Monte Scimone) stirred up only’ minor resistance. The Italian troops from the Aosta Division were falling back and in the process, though unknown to the Americans or Goumiers, were strengthening the right flank of the German defenses at Troina.

 South of the highway similar incidents occurred. A troop from the 91st Reconnaissance Squadron occupied Monte Femmina Morta (less than 1500 yards west of the German ridge positions, hills 1006 and 1034-west of Troina) on 30 July and gained contact with 16th Infantry patrols. Another troop of the reconnaissance squadron, furnishing right flank protection for the division, made contact with the Canadians in Agira, then moved northeast along the unimproved road toward Gagliano. Late in the afternoon, a huge crater just short of the village halted further progress. The enemy was nowhere in evidence.

 Not until the following morning, 31 July, when the reconnaissance troop tried to repair the crater south of Gagliano did a detachment of the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division put in an appearance and contest the road. And not until the next day, 1 August, after heavy supporting fires were laid on the enemy, did the reconnaissance troop enter Gagliano.

[N2-17-11: 91st Rcn Squad AAR. Sergeant Gerry H. Kisters, who knocked out two German machine gun positions though five times wounded, was later awarded the Medal of Honor.]

 Meanwhile, Colonel Flint’s 39th Infantry on 30 July had passed through units of both the 16th and 18th Regiments immediately north and south of the highway and by evening was prepared to jump off at dawn to take Cerami, then continue to Troina. Both objectives seemed ready to fall, for prisoners’ statements that day underscored the weakness of Troina’s defenders. Air reconnaissance confirmed this impression, for pilots could find little evidence of strong defenses around the town. Only light traffic passed between Troina and Randazzo. Troina seemed to be just another place with a skeleton garrison to fight a brief delaying action before pulling out, even though one report indicated that “they seem to be right in there.” Consequently, General Allen late on the evening of 30 July planned to reinforce the 39th Infantry’s attack by committing the 26th Infantry through the 16th south of the highway at darkness on 31 July for a direct thrust to Troina by daylight of 1 August. This, Allen hoped, would coincide with the 39th Infantry’s advance eastward from Cerami toward the northern edge of Troina.

 In support of the attack, General Andrus, the 1st Division’s artillery commander, deployed an impressive array of supporting fires. Controlling the eight organic battalions of the 1st and 9th Divisions, plus almost the same number of artillery battalions attached from the II Corps, General Andrus had at his disposal 165 artillery pieces.

 This massive artillery support actually did not appear to be needed, for when Flint’s 39th Infantry jumped off toward Cerami at dawn on 31 July the troops met no opposition except that offered by the rough terrain north of the highway. By 0900 that morning a battalion was in Cerami.

 Though Allen had contemplated moving Bowen’s 26th Infantry through the 16th Infantry for a direct thrust to Troina, Flint’s easy success made commitment of the 26th seem unnecessary. Allen therefore instructed Flint to continue alone, his mission to capture Troina and the high ground east of Troina astride Highway 120.

 Optimism was the order of the day when Generals Bradley and Allen visited Flint’s command post early in the afternoon. They passed along a report from civilians who said the town contained only a few troops, some anti-tank guns, an antiaircraft battery, and one heavy gun.

They informed Flint that they had no specific deadline for his capture of Troina. They also suggested he use a trail along an aqueduct for his approach to the town while artillery worked over the reverse slopes of the hills shielding Troina. Despite this optimism Flint’s troops were already running into trouble. German mortar and artillery fire denied the Americans a direct approach to Troina. Covered by heavy concentrations of supporting artillery, the regiment advanced only with difficulty. By the end of the day one battalion had reached Monte Timponivoli (Hill 1209), about halfway to the objective north of the highway, and two hills south of the road on line with Monte Femmina Morta.

 Yet American optImIsm persisted. German prisoners emphasized “There is a pull-out now. Troina has a couple of guns in it.” General Allen still felt the 39th Infantry could take Troina alone, but he again turned to the idea of bringing up the 26th Infantry if it became necessary in the next few days.

 For Flint’s second day of attack on Troina, 1 August, the Tabor of Goums, released from attachment to the 18th Infantry and placed under division control, was to cover the 39th’s left flank by moving eastward toward Monte Acuto, then southeast to Monte Basilio, and eventually past Troina and the highway east of town. Flint’s scheme of maneuver envisioned Lieutenant Colonel Van H. Bond’s 3rd Battalion making the main effort by following the general line of the highway to seize high ground adjacent to and north of the town. The other two battalions were to be echeloned to the rear on both flanks, the one on the right operating as far as two miles south of the highway.

Though the plan for the ground assault seemed to promise success, the artillery was unable to give the expected support because all the battalions could not be brought far enough forward in time for the attack. The road was in poor shape and clogged with traffic. The Luftwaffe (making one of its rare appearances) had strafed and bombed artillery positions and caused some confusion if not casualties. And German artillery was interdicting the routes of displacement.

[N2-17-19: 39th Inf Regt Scheme of Maneuver, 1 Aug 43; Verlet Rpt of Opns, 4th Tabor; 1st Infantry Division G-3 Journal, entry 54, 31 July 1943 states: “Tell 39th we can’t give them all artillery they ask for.” See also 39th Inf Regt Jnl, entries 47 and 57, 31 Jul 43; On 31 July, for example, it took the 7th Field Artillery Battalion three hours to complete a seven and a half mile move to new positions southwest of Cerami. See 7th FA Bn AAR, 31 Jul 43]

 Despite the absence of what was considered adequate artillery support, Flint decided to go ahead. Perhaps he had little choice in the matter. The remainder of the 9th Division was scheduled to unload in Palermo on 1 August and General Allen felt a moral obligation to capture Troina before turning over “a tight sector” to General Eddy. In any event, almost everybody expected Troina to fall easily.

 When Colonel Bond’s 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry, jumped off at 0500, 1 August, the regiment was already halfway from Cerami to Troina: a scant four miles from the objective. Advancing southeast from Monte Timponivoli (Hill 1209) north of Highway 120, Bond hoped to move as rapidly as the terrain permitted. He would have to cross a series of abrupt hills that paralleled the highway, but these constituted no ridge line in the real sense of the term. The 3rd Battalion, though, would be advancing along hill noses west of Troina, noses covered by fire from Troina as well as from Monte Acuto. Colonel Bond was to be disappointed. His battalion immediately encountered mortar and small arms fire, and beyond one thousand yards from Monte Timponivoli the battalion could not advance. Artillery fire against suspected enemy positions having no effect on the intensity of the German reaction, Bond in midmorning pulled back to his line of departure.

The withdrawal was fortunate. As a result, Bond was ready to meet and repel a relatively small German counterattack down the aqueduct trail from the north. With effective artillery support, Bond’s 3rd Battalion turned back the threat before noon. Yet continued mortar and machine gun fire from German positions east and north of Monte Timponivoli was in sufficient volume to negate hopes for any advance at all toward Troina.

Pessimism might have been warranted had not Group Ens’ defenses south of the highway proved porous indeed compared to the defense put up thus far by Group Fullriede north of the road. Major Phillp C. Tinley’s 1st Battalion, 39th Infantry, had its leading company three miles ahead of its line of departure and ensconced on Hill 1034, a key spot on the important ridge position west of Troina, about the time that Bond was repelling the counterattack to the north. Because the company had met no opposition, Tinley reinforced it early in the afternoon with another rifle company. As the lead company dug in on Hill 1034, the company coming up behind rounded up thirty prisoners and entered the perimeter. Either the 1st Battalion had moved too rapidly or Group Ens did not yet have its defenses well organized. In any event, Colonel Ens began to prepare to retake the high ground, less than a mile west of Troina, and dislodge the Americans, who had a clear view not only of the streets of Troina but of artillery positions farther to the east.

 The contrasting fortunes of the battalions north and south of Highway 120 gave General Allen no sure guidance on whether or not to commit the 26th Infantry to reinforce the 39th Infantry’s attack. He first decided to act on the side of prudence and in midmorning ordered Colonel Bowen to pass his 26th Infantry around Flint’s forces, to the north of the highway, instead of on the south side as originally planned. Operating north of the 39th Infantry positions, Colonel Bowen was to cut the highway about two miles beyond Troina by striking eastward, first to Monte Basilio, and then to a hill mass commanding the road. Now, too, the 16th Infantry was also to join the fight. Allen directed Colonel Taylor to attack on the 39th Infantry right, striking out from Monte Femmina Morta toward the south side of Troina and then on to Hill 1056, south of the highway and about a mile east of the town.

 By gaining Hill 1056, the 16th Infantry would cut the road leading from Troina to Adrano, one of the two exit roads from Troina available to the Germans. In effect, Allen was applying the same tactics used at Sperlinga and Nicosia the week before: a double envelopment of a strong, natural defensive position. General Andrus promised full support for the attack, scheduled to go off at 0500 on 2 August.

 Later, however as word of Tinley’s encouraging progress south of the highway came into division headquarters, Allen began to reconsider. After Flint insisted that his 39th Infantry could do the job alone, Allen definitely made up his mind to let Flint have another try at Troina. Adding support to this decision was a conversation Allen had with General Bradley. The II Corps commander expected the 9th Division to relieve the 1st, not on 4 August as originally anticipated but a day or two later. Since the 39th Infantry seemed to be moving, Bradley agreed that there was no reason for concern over the possibility that the arrival of Eddy’s troops might interfere with Allen’s attack on Troina would surely be taken in ample time to allow the 1st Division to retire to Nicosia and cede the field of battle to the 9th.

 But an hour later, near 1400, Allen again changed his mind. Now, though Flint’s regiment was to continue making the division’s main effort against Troina, the 26th Infantry was to come up on Flint’s left to go for the hill mass which commanded the highway east of Troina. Taylor’s 16th Infantry was not to be used on Flint’s right, for it appeared that Tinley’s 1st Battalion, 39th Infantry, would be able to take the objective earlier contemplated for Taylor.

 As for Bowen, since Allen did not specify the strength Bowen was to employ, the 26th Infantry commander proposed to use two battalions on Flint’s left, as Allen had suggested earlier in the morning. The 1st Division G-3, Lieutenant Colonel Frederick W. Gibb, thought one battalion would be enough, since the Tabor of Goums would be operating on Bowen’s left. Bowen finally decided to jump off in a column of battalions. To satisfy his request for all possible artillery assistance, General Allen gave him four batteries of 155-mm. guns (Long Toms), four battalions of light artillery, and one medium battalion for direct support. Despite this help, Colonel Bowen was still worried over the scale of German resistance around Troina: “I think there is a hell of a lot of stuff there up near our objective,” he said, “and down south also.” All the information at Bowen’s disposal pointed toward “a very strong defense,” and he questioned whether “we have strength enough to do the job.” Later, when the 2nd Battalion, 26th Infantry, was moving toward its line of departure, Bowen thought it was “moving right into the teeth of the enemy and not around him.”

 The 4th Tabor of Goums would have been in agreement with Colonel Bowen’s estimate, for the Goumiers that day, trying to push from Monte Scimone to Monte Acuto, had advanced only a mile to the Troina River before being stopped by showers of mortar and artillery fire. Efforts to advance during the night and on the following day, 2 August, met with no success.

 Meanwhile, Flint, on the afternoon of 1 August and with General Allen’s permission, had been trying to take Troina alone. He ordered the 2nd and 3rd Battalions to launch a co-ordinated attack to the high ground north of Troina. But the push turned out to be a gentle shove that got nowhere. Enemy shelling was the obstacle. Adding to Flint’s problems was a counterattack at nightfall directed by Group Ens against Tinley’s 1st Battalion on Hill 1034, just west of Troina. The Germans “thumped hell out of A and C Companies.” Strong German artillery and mortar fire accompanied the thrust by some two hundred men, which scattered the American companies badly.

 Hoping to use his reserve company positions-more than a mile to the rear-as a rallying point, Tinley asked permission to withdraw. Flint grudgingly assented. By midnight, Tinley had the battalion well in hand, though Company A had only two platoons left, Company C slightly less. The entire battalion numbered about 300 men, and the Germans were less than 2,000 yards from the 1st Battalion’s positions. Ens had gained his objective, the important ridge line strongpoint at Hill 1034, but instead of exploiting this success, he set his troops to digging in along the ridge to block further American attempts against Troina he expected from the west and south.26

 The third day of the action against Troina on 2 August again proved fruitless. The Goumiers on the division’s left could not cross the Troina River and remained in place throughout the day. Flint’s 39th Infantry was able to do no more, every attempt to advance meeting scorching enemy fires. Only in the terrain between the Goumiers and the 39th Infantry, where the 26th Infantry entered the battle, did the 1st Division achieve any success, and this gain, a result of cautious advance, was only tentative in nature. 

Jumping off at 0500 that morning in a column of battalions, the 26th Infantry moved eastward slowly, hampered by the lack of success of the units on its flanks as well as by unsatisfactory communication with them. The leading battalion met little ground opposition, and though they received increasingly heavy enemy artillery fire as well as occasional small arms fire, the forward elements pushed ahead more than a half a mile to Roccadi Mania. With the regiment’s flanks already exposed, further advance seemed not only risky but pointless. Bowen halted his troops and awaited the following day and the execution of a stronger attack which General Allen was even then planning and preparing.

 By this time, Allen was finally convinced that he had to make a large-scale and coordinated effort to smash the Troina defenses. His new plan involved employing additional forces in a frontal assault which he hoped would develop in its later stages into a double envelopment. He attached a battalion of the 18th Infantry to the 16th on the division’s right for an attack from Gagliano to Monte Bianco, about two miles south of Troina, a key strongpoint on the German ridge defense line. The organic infantry battalions of the 16th Infantry were to take the town and cut the road to Adrano. The 39th Infantry was to seize Monte San Silvestro, two miles northwest of Troina and then go into division reserve. The 26th Infantry was to continue its encircling movement of Troina, swinging past the 39th Infantry to take Monte Basilio and then moving southeast to cut the highway behind Troina.

 Though the main attack was scheduled to start at 0300, 3 August, the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry, moved out shortly after midnight, leading the regiment in its swing to the south toward the southern corner of the German ridge positions, where the ridge line swings in its arc to the east. The 3rd Battalion followed. By dawn, the leading elements of the battalions were halfway up the slopes of the ridge, ready for the final assault. But as daylight came, German small arms and machine gun fire interfered. The men were pinned to the ground. Several attempts to get the assault moving failed, and by noon it was evident that the 16th Infantry could not move.

 Having reached that conclusion shortly before noon, General Allen ordered the battalion of the 18th Infantry attached to the 16th to push beyond its originally assigned objective and take high ground a half mile south of Troina. The 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry, was to assist.

The battalion from the 18th Infantry had been advancing from Gagliano without opposition, though hindered by terrain. General Allen wanted the battalion to speed up its movement, for the two battalions of the 16th Infantry, pinned down on the ridge slope, appeared to be in a precarious position. What Allen wanted to do was divert German attention from the main body of the regiment. Before the battalions coming up from the south could start a real push, Group Ens mounted a counterattack around noon, using infantry and tanks in an attempt to throw the advance troops of the 16th Infantry off the slopes of the ridge. Responding to a request from Colonel Taylor, General Andrus put the fire of six battalions of artillery along the high ground. This, plus dogged fighting by the infantry, prevented the men from being overrun.

 Although stalled in this counterattack, Colonel Ens kept exerting pressure throughout the afternoon. The strongest effort occurred around 1500, when two hundred men came into such close contact with the American troops that artillery support could not be used. By the end of the day, Companies E and F, 16th Infantry, seemed to have little more than one platoon each remaining, with the others missing. Though the 3rd Battalion, 16th Infantry, was in better shape, it was in no condition to resume the attack. Nor could the two battalions on the south make much progress in driving toward Troina from Gagliano. German raids on both flanks and effective fire stopped the push about halfway to Troina.

 Still hoping to keep the attack going on his right (south) flank, General Allen ordered one of the two battalions to make a wider swing to the east and attempt to outflank Troina completely. But a few minutes later, the assistant division commander, General Roosevelt, arrived in the area, took one look at the terrain to the east, and advised Allen against the move. The terrain, much of it sheer rock, and the condition of the units-badly scattered in the process of getting this far-seemed to rule out success.

 Conditions north of the highway were hardly better. A battalion of the 26th Infantry reached its initial objective, Monte Basilio, with surprising ease, about the same time that a battalion of the 39th Infantry had, with the same facility, reached Monte San Silvestro. Yet soon after the leading troops of both regiments reached these hill masses, enemy artillery began to pound them. Observing that the fire was coming from reverse slope positions to the north and east, positions difficult to reach with artillery, Bowen called for an air strike. Some half a dozen Spitfires responded about 1100 and bombed and strafed the north slopes of Monte Castagna and Monte Acuto. The enemy shelling lessened as a result.

 About the time that Bowen was getting his air strike, Flint called for another. He had learned that a road, not shown on available maps, ran generally east and northeast from Capizzi for some fifteen miles to link Monte Acuto, Monte Pelato, and Monte Camolato. Guessing that the Germans had concentrated their artillery along this road, Flint requested help from the air. Unfortunately, part of Bowen’s forward units and the Goumiers were so close to the road that division headquarters disapproved the request.

 Part of the caution at division headquarters developed after the Spitfires which had responded to Bowen’s call inadvertently strafed the Goumiers, though no serious harm had been done. The Goumiers were still immobilized at the Troina River under the shadow of Monte Acuto, still trying to get across the river and up on the high ground, still incurring heavy casualties in the process. Communication with the 4th Tabor was rarely as good as with American subordinate units, and for seven hours that day the division headquarters had no word from the Moroccans and consequently no clear knowledge of their location. This did not prevent three artillery battalions from delivering counterbattery fire most of the afternoon against reported enemy guns a hundred yards from where the Goumiers had last reported their positions.

 After dark, Captain Guido Verlet was able to pull his Tabor of Goums back from the Troina River and out of enemy fire. Shortly thereafter Verlet himself was in Capizzi to plead for a half-hour artillery concentration on enemy positions two hundred yards east of where the 4th Tabor had spent the day. This, he was sure, would enable the Goumiers finally to take Monte Acuto. Dubious, the artillery refused; friendly troops were too close, and their locations not altogether clear. Meanwhile, a battalion of the 26th Infantry had moved east early that morning with the purpose of coming abreast of the other two battalions of the regiment near Monte Basilio. The battalion became lost, wandered in the hills, and finally came to rest on Monte Stagliata, some two miles west of the other regimental elements on Rocca di Mania and Monte Castagna.

 This lost battalion could have been of use on Monte Basilio, which was struck in the early afternoon of 3 August, first by a heavy barrage of artillery fire, and then by Group Fullriede infantrymen. Stubborn defensive fires from the American riflemen and machine gunners, supported by effective artillery concentrations, repulsed the German effort to retake this key terrain feature. But Monte Basilio, vulnerable to enfilade fire on both faces, continued to take a pounding from Monte Acuto and from the Troina area. 

Although successful in its defensive stand, the battalion on Monte Basilio was in no condition to resume the 26th Infantry’s attack to cut the highway east of Troina. During a lull that afternoon, when General Allen suggested that the 39th Infantry might move its leading battalion forward about 800 yards to Monte di Celso, Flint agreed. “There is nobody there now,” Flint said. “We can take it over if you want.” Yet when a company started to move toward the high ground shortly before dark, artillery and mortar fire heralded an infantry counterattack that scattered and disorganized the American unit and drove the riflemen back to the regimental positions. 

Actually, the Germans had telegraphed their intention, but the division headquarters had been asleep at the switch. About an hour and a half earlier, the 26th Infantry had become aware of German infiltration-troops “walking up the stream bed”-on its right flank. Colonel Bowen had reported this to division headquarters, but the Division’s G-3 had apparently failed to pass the information on to Flint.

 Despite its failure to take Troina by the fourth day of the attack, the division had made some important gains. The 16th and 39th Regiments, though temporarily disorganized by counterattacks, retained positions seriously threatening the town. And Bowen’s 26th Infantry on Monte Basilio could call interdictory fire on Highway 120 beyond Troina, thereby disrupting German communications. During the evening of 3 August, General Allen ordered renewal of the attack by the units already committed and with added strength from the south against the Gagliano salient. Instructing Colonel Smith to bring forward a second battalion of his 18th Infantry, General Allen gave Smith responsibility for a zone on the extreme right flank. Smith was to control not only two of his own organic battalions, but also the 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry, already in the area. By these means, Allen hoped to execute what would be in effect a pincers movement by the two regiments on the flanks: the 18th Infantry on the south, the 26th Infantry III the north, while the two regiments in the center, the 16th and 39th, exerted frontal pressure against the town.

 General Allen would have been even more hopeful of success had he known what effect the fighting of the past two days had had on the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division. The German division had incurred heavy losses, at least 1,600 men. Furthermore, the XIV Panzer Corps had given General Rodt the last of its reserve units during the night of 3 August.

 General Hube, the XIV Panzer Corps commander, was not only watching the situation closely at Troina, he was also concerned with the sector immediately to the south where the Canadians were advancing along Highway 121. Early 30 July, following a heavy artillery preparation, Canadian troops had struck hard in a move to jump the Dittaino River, clear Catenanuova, and present the newly arrived British 78th Division with a bridgehead for the attack toward Regalbuto on the left, Centuripe on the right. As both Canadian and British troops converged against Regalbuto and Centuripe, the former fell on the evening of 2 August, the latter the following morning. The two main outposts in the German defense of Adrano thus lay in Allied hands.

 If the British pressed beyond Regalbuto and cut the Troina-Adrano road, as Hube was sure they would, the German corps commander had to face the danger that the Canadians might turn north and cut Highway 120 east of Troina. In that case, withdrawal of Rodt’s division would be imperative. But as long as Rodt’s troops retained their escape route to the east, there was no reason to give up the defenses at Troina that had proved so effective. Although the Allies were seriously threatening the Etna line by 4 August they had not yet cracked it.

 Hube’s timetable for evacuating Sicily (although formal evacuation had not yet been ordered) hinged on holding the Etna line as long as possible, and this Hube was determined to do. As a result, Rodt’s units dug in still more firmly around Troina for what they expected might be a last-ditch stand.

 The Germans were surprisingly successful during the morning of 4 August, the fifth day of the battle for Troina. North of Highway 120, Group Fullriede was particularly aggressive in its defense. Counterattacks by infiltrating parties kept the Americans off balance and inflicted heavy casualties. South of the highway, Group Ens, perhaps not quite so aggressive in launching counterattacks, remained firm in its defensive positions. By noon, it was evident that the 1st Division needed more assistance to get the attack moving. Help appeared from the skies. General Bradley had successfully solicited two large-scale air attacks, one scheduled around noon, the other at 1700, each by thirty-six P-51 planes. In addition, General Allen had obtained the promise of eight P-51s to bomb and strafe Monte Acuto at 1445.

 [N2-17-42 1st Inf Div Adv G-3 Jnl, entries 15, 16, 28, and 29, 4 Aug 43, The aircraft were dispatched from the 27th and 86th Fighter-Bomber Groups, See Attack Order 22, 3rd Air Defense Wing, 4 Aug 43.]

 The planes turned out to be A-36’s (modified P-51’s), but this made little difference. Throughout a good part of the afternoon, as artillery added its weight, American aircraft plastered Troina and the surrounding hills, though Monte Acuto escaped-the pilots failed to identify that target. Reactions from the ground units were uniformly enthusiastic: “Air and artillery bombardment lovely.” “The enemy is completely unnerved.” “Have captured a few Germans and they are jittery, and they seem to be attempting to give themselves up.” “It took a lot of pressure off our troops.”

[N2-17-43: 1st Inf Div Adv G-3 Jnl, entries 4 1, 45, 46, and 47, 4 Aug 43. The Canadians at Regalbuto were not happy with the air strikes. American planes had flown over Regalbuto the day before and dropped several bombs. And on 4 August two flights discharged their loads on the Canadians. When American aircraft bombed Regalbuto again on the following day, General Leese, the British 30 Corps commander, asked General Bradley to call a halt. The bombings of Canadian troops at Regalbuto came to an end. II Corps G-3 Jnl, entry 278, 6 Aug 43; see also Bradley, A Soldier’s Story, p. 152.]

 Though all four of General Allen’s regiments moved rapidly during the afternoon of 4 August to take advantage of the demoralization of German troops, the benefit proved to be only temporary. The American units could register only slight gains before meeting fire and counterattacks. One battalion of the 18th Infantry managed to dislodge the Germans from the base of Monte Pellegrino (a key strongpoint in the Gagliano salient positions) before setting up its own perimeter for the night; but try as it might, the battalion could not dislodge the Germans from the rest of the hill. North of Highway 120, two battalions from the 39th Infantry moved quickly down the slopes of Monte San Silvestro and against some ineffectual fire reached Monte San Mercurio, about a mile northwest of Troina. The 26th Infantry finally cleared Rocca di Mania, more than two miles northwest of Troina, but when the men on Monte Basilio tried to move eastward, they ran into Group Fullriede’s last reserve, but a force strong enough to make the Americans retire to their mountain position.

 The best gain had been made in the south, where part of the 18th Infantry was getting into position to roll up the Gagliano salient and thrust an attack home against the southern approaches to Troina. This development seemed promising, all the more so since the Canadians, pressing on beyond Regalbuto, had that same day crossed the Troina River and taken firm possession of a stretch of the Troina-Adrano road.

 By this time, the remainder of Eddy’s 9th Division was coming into the Nicosia area preparatory to relieving the 1st Division. General Bradley had instructed General Eddy to replace Allen’s forces east of Troina so that the 9th Division could continue along the axis of Highway 120 to break the next German defensive line, expected to be uncovered in the Cesaro area. Eager to enter the fray, yet denied maneuver room in the Troina area, Eddy, with his sights fixed on Cesaro, planned to commit Colonel Frederick J. DeRohan’s 60th Infantry on the 1st Division left. With the Tabor of Goums attached, DeRohan was to make a difficult cross-country advance generally eastward from Capizzi, across Monte Pelato and Camolato; he was to debouch from the hills on the north-south Sant Agata-Cesaro road and be ready to attack Cesaro. By that time, Eddy hoped, the 1st Division would have cleaned up Troina so that he could commit Colonel George W. Smythe’s 47th Infantry along Highway 120 for a direct advance on Cesaro. There the 47th Infantry could assist DeRohan’s enveloping attack from the north.

What Eddy envisioned was making a wide bypass of Troina on the north and striking quickly toward the next enemy defensive line. As an added dividend, DeRohan’s movement, starting before the Germans had given up Troina, might prompt the Germans to loosen their hold on Traina in order to escape a trap at Cesaro. On the assumption that Allen would have Troina by nightfall on 5 August (at the end of the sixth day of attack) and that the relief could be completed that night, General Bradley directed Eddy to start moving the 60th Infantry eastward from Capizzi on the morning of 5 August. This would permit the 60th to work its way toward Cesaro while the 1st Division and the attached 39th Infantry completed the reduction of Troina.

 As the 60th Infantry, with the Goumiers attached, started its cross-country strike toward Cesaro on 5 August, the 1st Division resumed its attack against Troina. On the left, Bowen’s 26th Infantry was unable to move forward because of rifle fire and artillery shelling. Twice Bowen asked for air support-once against Monte Acuto, the second time against “some guns which we cannot spot from the ground . . .. Make it urgent.” But the missions scheduled could not get off the ground because of fog at the airfields.

The 26th Infantry, without gaining ground, sustained serious casualties. In the afternoon, after an estimated sixty Germans attacked Monte Basilio, only seventeen men from Company I could be located. The fighting had been hot and heavy.

Private James W. Reese, for example, had performed with exceptional heroism. Moving his mortar squad to a more effective position, he had maintained a steady fire on the attacking Germans. When they finally located his squad and placed fire against the mortar position, Reese sent his crew to the rear, picked up his weapon and three rounds of ammunition (all that was left), moved to a new position, and knocked out a German machine gun. Then picking up a rifle, Reese fought until killed by a heavy concentration of German fire. [N2-17-47: entry 51, 5 Aug 43. Reese was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.]

 By late afternoon the 26th Infantry was in bad shape. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions, on Monte Basilio for almost three days, had been virtually cut off from supplies for much of the time and were running low on food and ammunition. Two aerial resupply missions, one by artillery observation planes on 5 August and one the following day by XII Air Support Command aircraft, failed to bring sufficient relief. In contrast with the 26th Infantry, Flint’s 39th Infantry made a solid gain.

 During the preceding night, two battalions worked their way east from Monte di Celso and Monte San Mercurio. Reaching a point about a mile due north of Troina, they turned southeast to cut the highway. When daylight came, the Germans spotted the movement. Accurate machine guns, small arms, and mortar fire in heavy volume stopped the American advance and sent the men of one rifle company back in disorganization. Using two tanks as roving artillery, the Germans pounded away at Flint’s troops. At noon, Colonel Flint ordered his men to desist from further eastward advance. It would be enough, he instructed, if they dug in where they were and did no more than threaten the eastward exit from Troina.

 Late in the afternoon, eighteen A-36’s in two groups bombed east and west of Troina. Flint, thinking this was the start of another air-artillery show (although he had not been informed that one was coming off), queried Colonel Gibb on this matter. Gibb laconically answered: “Bombing unscheduled.” The division had no plans to exploit the unexpected appearance of the American fighter-bombers. The 39th remained buttoned up.

 Similarly, Taylor’s 16th Infantry spent the day trying to advance against the two key points on the ridge system west of Troina-Hills 1034 and 1006-but made no headway because it had to devote its Major effort to warding off German counterattacks and digging in for cover against accurate German fire.

 South of Troina, where Smith’s 18th Infantry tried to seize the dominating hills of the Gagliano salient as well as the two hills-Bianco and San Gregorio closer to Troina, the Americans were no more successful. Heavy German fire, small counterattacks, and mine fields reduced American units in strength and prevented them from seizing the commanding ground. Rifle companies numbering sixty-five men became common. At the end of the day, Group Ens still held the vital heights.

 Despite his defensive success on 5 August, General Rodt knew that he could not hold out in Troina much longer. With his units badly depleted and his men near exhaustion, he had already requested-though it was disapproved Rube’s permission to withdraw some 5,000 yards to a new defensive line.

 Rodt’s greatest concern was the threat that American units north of Troina, particularly the 26th Infantry on Monte Basilio, were exerting against Righway 120 east of the town. Sensitive to the necessity of preventing the Americans from cutting his single escape route out of Troina, Rodt had made his strongest effort north of the highway where his troops had manhandled Bowen’s and Flint’s regiments.

 Though he felt he had the situation under control at Troina, Rodt had nothing substantial with which to contest the wider envelopment that DeRohan’s 60th Infantry represented. Also, he was concerned with maintaining contact on his left flank with the Hermann Gӧring Division, which was slowly being pushed back up against Mount Etna by the British 30 Corps. Only a slight penetration as yet existed on his left flank, but the absence of German reserves on the island made Rodt doubtful that the Germans could long contain the British threat.

 Because of the tense situation along the entire front late on 5 August-the greatly reduced combat efficiency of the 15th Panzer Grenadier Division, the over-all lack of German reserves, the danger of an Allied breakthrough of the Etna line in the Cesaro area, the possibility of Allied seaborne landings in his rear-Rube followed Rodt’s suggestion and decided to withdraw to a shorter line. This line, which Rube designated as the shorter bridgehead line (Guzzoni called it the Tortorici line), extended from Giarre on the east coast over Mount Etna to Randazzo, Poggio del Moro, and on to the north coast at Cape Orlando. Ordering his divisions to make a fighting withdrawal on successive phase lines, Rube hoped to gain a week in pulling back to the new line. If he could have his troops in this new position by the morning of 12 August, he would be more than satisfied.

 Guzzoni, still nominally in command of the Axis forces on Sicily (though he had surrendered most of his prerogatives on 25 July), protested Rube’s decision to start withdrawing from the Etna line on 5 August. Guzzoni thought the movement premature, particularly since the 29th Panzer Grenadier Division still held firmly in the northern sector near San Fratello. But over Guzzoni’s protests, Rube started to withdraw his forces in the eastern and central sectors of the front during the night of 5 August. In fact, on the east coast, the Hermann Gӧring Division began withdrawing from Catania during the evening of 4 August, leaving only a rear guard to contest British entry the following morning. The29th Panzer Grenadier Division was to hold until forced to withdraw by pressure.

 [N2-17-50: 0B SUED, Meldungen, 0815, 6 Aug 43; MS #R-144 (Bauer), pp. 26-29. There seems to be an error in the OB SUED entry which designates the highway from Troina to Nicosia instead of from Troina to Cesaro. The description of the new line varies greatly in different sources. It was merely a line drawn across the map, and was in no way reconnoitered or fortified. Its eastern hinge is shown anywhere from 2,000 yards north of Acireale to just south of Giarre; its northern hinge from 6,000 yards east of Sant Agata to Cape Orlando, and as far west as Station Zappulla, with the Zappulla River in between. In this narrative, the general description Giarre-Mount Etna-Cape Orlando will be used.]

 At the conference with Guzzoni on 5 August, the Germans urged the Sixth Army commander to transfer his headquarters to the Italian mainland. Suspecting that the Germans requested this because they wanted a completely free hand in Sicily, Guzzoni asked whether the Germans intended to withdraw even beyond the Messina Strait. Though the Germans emphatically denied this, Guzzoni remained on Sicily five more days. Not until Comando Supremo charged him with the defense of a part of Calabria did Guzzoni evacuate his headquarters to the mainland.

 At Troina, with permission at last to withdraw, Rodt started to puIl out his troops late in the evening of 5 August. Leaving behind rear guards to delay the Americans, he moved his forces east along Highway 120 to Cesaro. By night faIl of 6 August, Rodt’s men occupied a defensive line just west of Cesaro, and most of his heavy equipment was already on its way to Messina for evacuation from Sicily.

 The 15th Panzer Grenadier Division did not slip away from Troina without detection. American patrols late on 5 August reported Monte Acuto abandoned, German fires slackening, and even some positions no longer held. One patrol managed to reach the crest of Monte Pellegrino, earlier firmly defended, without opposition.

 Despite the signs of German withdrawal, General Allen had had enough experience at Troina to be wary. He made elaborate preparations for the renewal of the attack on 6 August, the seventh day of his effort to take the town. Planners outlined harassing and preparatory fire missions in great detail. Staff members requested at least seventy-two A-36’s to bomb the last half-mile of the highway east of Troina and to strafe the road as far east as Randazzo. Yet Allen withheld the hour of the attack until noon, presumably on the basis that if the Germans were going, it was better to let them go. For the subordinate units, the missions remained much the same as they had been for the past two days. A fifteen-minute artillery concentration was to precede the attack. All this proved unnecessary. By dawn of 6 August it was clear that the Germans were gone. Soon after 0800, 16th Infantry patrols were in Troina and meeting only sporadic rifle fire that was easily silenced.

 Troina itself was in ruins. Only several hundred inhabitants remained to welcome the Americans, most of the others having fled to the hills. One hundred and fifty dead-civilians as well as German and Italian soldiers-lay in the highway, in the streets, in demolished houses, in the round feudal tower that had been used as a German observation post. Plaster dust and the stench of death filled the air. Rubble completely blocked one street. The water mains were broken. The main street, where it made the right-angle turn on the northeast face of the cliff, was completely blown away. A 200-pound aerial bomb lay unexploded in the center of the church. That afternoon, General Allen relinquished his zone to General Eddy, and the 47th Infantry passed around Troina on its way to Cesaro.

General Allen also relinquished command of the 1st Division. He and the assistant division commander, General Roosevelt, turned the division over to Major General Clarence R. Huebner and Colonel Willard G. Wyman. General Allen would return to the United States to take command of another division, the 104th Infantry Division, which he would lead with distinction in northwest Europe; General Roosevelt, after serving as Fifth Army liaison officer to the commander of the French Expeditionary Forces in Italy, would earn a Medal of Honor during the Normandy invasion of 1944 as assistant division commander of the 4th Infantry Division. 

The end of the battle for Troina may well have seemed to the 1st Division commander and his assistant like a most unsatisfactory time to turn over the command of “The Big Red One” to General Huebner. For it had taken the 1st Division, reinforced with an additional regiment, a solid week to reduce defenses that had originally seemed easy enough to crack with a single regiment. In the process the division was depleted in strength, reduced to weariness. Perhaps some of this depletion, some of this weariness, could have been avoided had the intelligence estimates of the last few days in July not been so inaccurate. Perhaps more could have been avoided had General Allen, after the failure of the 39th Infantry to take Troina on 1 August, committed more of the division’s strength, instead of waiting for two more days to do so. Evaluation of the division’s performance in the fighting at Troina might also involve an answer to the question: did the expected relief by Eddy’s incoming 9th Division contribute to the initial optimism and a possible desire to spare the troops?

SOURCE: Sicily and the Surrender of Italy: BY; Lieutenant Colonel Albert Nutter Garland & Howard McGaw Smyth (United States Army Center of Military History)

World War Two: Sicily (2-16) Drive down the Coast

World War Two: Retaking Guam (4-15); Plans and Preparations

The Island: To the invaders of Guam, southernmost of the Marianas chain, the physiography of the island presented essentially the same problems and challenges that had already been encountered at Saipan—those for Guam were just on a larger scale. Located a little more than a hundred miles south of Saipan, Guam is more than twice its size, measuring 228 square miles in area. From Ritidian Point in the north to the southern coast line, the distance is about thirty-four miles; the width of the island varies from five to nine miles.

[N4-15-1 This account of the physical features of Guam is derived from ONI 99, and Military Intelligence Service, War Department (MIS WD), Survey of Guam, 1943]

Guam, like Saipan, is surrounded by coral reefs ranging in width from 25 to 700 yards. Even the lowest of these is covered at high tide by only about two feet of water —a condition that of course made the employment of amphibian tractors mandatory in the projected ship-to-shore movement. Around the entire northern half of the island from Fadian Point on the east coast to Tumon Bay on the west, sheer cliffs rising to 600 feet ruled that area out for landing. In the southern part of the island the shore line cliffs are somewhat less forbidding, but even so in many places, such as at the tip of Orote Peninsula on the west coast, they are still too precipitous to permit rapid movement inland by any large numbers of men approaching from the sea. The southern and southeast coasts, exposed as they are to the prevailing easterly winds, are pounded too heavily by surf to permit easy landing operations. This leaves about fifteen miles of coast line feasible for an amphibious assault, all on the west coast, north and south of Orote Peninsula. At various places in this region, the reef is low enough and the sandy beaches are both wide and deep enough to permit invading troops to get ashore and establish a foothold before assaulting the mountainous terrain inland.

Although nowhere does Guam’s mountain range reach the heights of Mount Tapotchau on Saipan, it still presents obstacles of no mean proportions. The northern part consists almost entirely of a coral limestone plateau broken by three elevations, Mount Barrigada (674 feet), Mount Santa Rosa (870 feet), and Mount Machanao (610 feet). The central part, the waist of the island between Agana Bay and Pago Bay, is mostly lowland draining into the Agana River through a wide swamp of the same name. Just south of the waist the land begins to rise again toward the mountain range that runs to the southern tip of the island. Dominating the northern part of this range are Mount Chachao, Mount Alutom, and Mount Tenjo, all inland from Apra Harbor and all attaining more than a thousand feet. East of Agat Bay below Orote Peninsula lies Mount Alifan (869 feet); south of it and inland from Facpi Point is Mount Lamlam, the highest point on the island (1,334 feet).

Though Guam’s mountain mass is not so high as Saipan’s, its vegetation is lusher, heavier, and thicker. A degree and a half of latitude in this area of the world makes a difference, and Guam is considerably more tropical than the northern island. At the time of the invasion the northern section of Guam was heavily covered with tropical forests, weeds, trailing vines, lianas, air plants, and underbrush—all combining to make foot passage almost impossible except through man-made jungle trails. The mountain tops themselves were mostly barren volcanic rock covered only with sparse growths of sword grass and scrub. The southern plateau was covered mostly with sword, cogon, and bunch grass and scrub forest, except between Mount Alifan and Mount Lamlam, where timber grew in fairly large stands.

To facilitate passage over and through this rough and forbidding country there were, in the summer of 1944, about a hundred miles of hard-surface road, linked together by single-lane unsurfaced roads and a network of narrow jungle trails cut through the bush. The main road ran from the town of Agat along the west coast to Agana, then northeast to Finegayan, where it split into two parallel branches, each terminating near Mount Machanao near the northern tip of the island. Another branch of the same road ran northeast to the village of Yigo, where it dwindled into a narrow unsurfaced road that continued on almost to Pati Point, on the northeastern coast. Also from Agana to Pago Bay on the east coast stretched a main artery that continued south and west along the coast line to Umatac. Umatac and Agat on the west coast were connected only by a dirt road.

Except for the surfaced highways, the roads and trails were normally all but impassable during the rainy season, which lasted from July to November. During this summer monsoon period, 20 to 25 days out of each month were rainy. Mean temperature was about 87° Fahrenheit and average humidity about 90 percent—factors that would increase the discomfort of combat troops, whether American or Japanese.

Plans for the Invasion

Guam was initially included in the list of American targets for 1944 by the Joint Chiefs of Staff directive of 12 March 1944 that ordered Admiral Nimitz to prepare to seize and occupy the southern Marianas. Like the islands to the north, it offered sites for B-29 bases and, in addition, Apra Harbor was the best ship anchorage in the entire archipelago, having excellent possibilities for development into a small forward naval base. Then too, Guam, like the Philippines, had been an American possession; its native population was presumed loyal to the United States, and its liberation deemed a moral obligation.

Little more than a week had passed since the 12 March directive when Admiral Nimitz issued a preliminary order (dated 20 March) for the seizure of the southern Marianas, including Guam. Saipan and Tinian were assigned to the V Amphibious Corps. To the III Amphibious Corps, commanded by General Geiger, USMC, went the job of recapturing Guam.[N4-15-3] General Geiger was to have under his command the 3rd Marine Division; the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, consisting of the 4th and 22nd Marine Regiments, reinforced; III Amphibious Corps Artillery; and the 9th and 14th Marine Defense Battalions. The 27th Infantry Division was constituted Expeditionary Troops Reserve for the entire force of the two corps. The 77th Infantry Division, commanded by Maj, General Andrew D. Bruce—still in the United States but scheduled shortly to move to Hawaii—was designated Area Reserve. Twenty days after Saipan was assaulted, the 77th was alerted for movement into the Marianas.

[N4-15-3 Actually at this date the unit was named I Marine Amphibious Corps (I MAC), but on 15 April its designation was changed to III Amphibious Corps. To avoid confusion the latter title is used throughout this volume.]

Command relationships between the top commanders for the Guam phase (Phase III) of the Marianas operation were to be in every way similar to those that were obtained for Saipan and Tinian. Under Admiral Nimitz, Admiral Spruance as Commander, Fifth Fleet, was in over-all command. Under him came Admiral Turner, Commander, Joint Expeditionary Force (Task Force 51), and General Holland Smith, Commander, Expeditionary Troops (Task Force 56), whose respective powers and responsibilities on this echelon of command have already been described.

[N4-15-6 TF 56 Opn Plan 2-44, 11 Apr 44; Opn Plan 3-44, 26 Apr 44; III Phib Corps Opn Plan 1-44, 11 May 44, Annex King. ]

The Joint Expeditionary Force was in turn divided into two groups. The first, called Northern Attack Force (Task Force 52), also under Admiral Turner, was directed to land and support the assault troops on Saipan and Tinian. The second, designated Southern Attack Force, commanded by Admiral Conolly, USN, was given the same task for Guam. In like manner, General Holland Smith’s Expeditionary Troops was split into two parts: Northern Troops and Landing Force (Task Group 56.1) consisting mainly of the V Amphibious Corps plus the XXIV Corps Artillery and commanded also by General Smith was allocated to Saipan and Tinian; Southern Troops and Landing Force (Task Group 56.2), made up mostly of the III Amphibious Corps, commanded by General Geiger, was destined for Guam. The command relationships between General Geiger and Admiral Conolly were essentially the same as those that obtained between General Smith as Commander, Northern Troops and Landing Force, and Admiral Turner as Commander, Northern Attack Force. [N4-15-6] Thus, during the ship-to-shore movement, Conolly was to command the landing force through Geiger. Once Geiger determined that the status of the landing operation permitted, he was to assume command of the troops on shore and report that fact to the task force commander. Planning for the invasion of Guam was somewhat complicated by the vast distances that lay between the headquarters of the various commanders concerned. General Geiger’s III Amphibious Corps headquarters was located at Guadalcanal; General Holland Smith’s Expeditionary Troops staff was at Pearl Harbor, as were Admirals Spruance, Turner, and Conolly and their staffs. The 77th Division was still in the United States during the period when the initial plans for the landing were being worked out.

On 29 March, General Geiger flew to Pearl Harbor, where for better than a week he conferred with General Smith and Admirals Turner and Conolly and their respective staffs. A week after Geiger’s departure from Pearl Harbor, Admiral Conolly flew to Guadalcanal, where the two commanders completed their planning and ironed out some of the many complicated problems involving naval-ground force coordination in the forthcoming landing.

The upshot of these various conferences was the promulgation of one preferred and two alternate landing plans for Guam. The preferred plan called for simultaneous landings on the west coast by the 3rd Marine Division between Adelup Point and Tatgua River and by the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade between the town of Agat and Bangi Point. The landing day (designated W Day) was tentatively set as 18 June, three days after D Day for Saipan.

To support the troops, Admiral Conolly split his Southern Attack Force into two groups, Northern and Southern Attack Groups. The former, commanded by Conolly himself, was, under the preferred landing plan, to support the 3rd Marine Division; the latter, to be commanded by Rear Admiral Lawrence F. Reifsnider, USN, would perform the same function for the 1st Provisional Brigade. The provisions for naval gunfire support during and after the landing closely paralleled those established for the Saipan operation. Before W Day, ships and aircraft of Admiral Conolly’s Task Force 53 were to co-ordinate their bombardments with scheduled strikes by aircraft from Admiral Mitscher’s Task Force 58. On W minus 2 and W minus 1, Task Force 53 was charged with responsibility for close-range support of underwater demolition teams and for destruction of coastal defense guns and antiaircraft and field artillery batteries on the landing beaches and of areas immediately inland. During the evenings ships of Task Force 53 were to provide harassing fires and sometime during this period were to conduct a diversionary bombardment on the east coast of Guam.

On W Day itself the first priority for the fire support ships would be counterbattery fire, beginning at dawn, on known and suspected enemy positions. Secondary attention would be paid to local defenses by close-range fire. Third priority would be given to interdiction fire against any roads leading to the landing beaches. Shortly before H Hour naval gunfire was to shift to close support fire on the flanks of the landing beaches. When the leading tractor waves were 1,200 yards from shore, cruisers were to lift their main batteries to the inland areas with an accelerated rate of fire to neutralize mobile batteries and mortars.

Five-inch gunfire was to be maintained along the beaches while naval aircraft strafed and bombed the same area. When the leading assault wave of LVT(A)’s was 500 yards from shore, the 5-inch batteries were to shift fire to the near flanks of the beaches. One novel safety factor was introduced into the plans for Guam that had not been prescribed for the other landings in the Marianas. During the period when air and naval bombardment was to be conducted simultaneously, ships were ordered to restrict their fire to a maximum range of 8,000 yards, which meant in effect a maximum shell ordinate of about 1,200 feet. At the same time pilots were instructed to fly no lower than 1,500 feet.

After H Hour, ships were to continue scheduled fires until ordered to stop. Call fires, it was planned, would be available as soon as communication with the shore fire control parties on the beaches was set up, and fire support ships were then to be prepared to deliver harassing fire, interdiction fire, star shell and searchlight illumination, and white phosphorus projectile fire on call.

Admiral Conolly, as Commander, Northern Attack Group, was to control the naval fire in support of the 3rd Marine Division’s landing over the Asan beaches, while Admiral Reifsnider was to control bombardment of the brigade’s beaches in the Agat area. Control of aircraft over both sets of beaches was to be exercised by Admiral Conolly alone through his Commander, Support Aircraft, stationed aboard the task force flagship, the AGC Appalachian. This officer was assigned control of combat air patrols, antisubmarine patrols, close air support of troops, and a variety of special missions. He would control not only the planes flown from the carriers attached to Task Force 53 but also planes flown from the fast carriers of Task Force 58 from the time of their arrival over the combat area until their departure for recovery by their parent ships.

Before the arrival of Appalachian in the Guam area, an Advance Commander, Support Aircraft, embarked on the cruiser Honolulu, would discharge these functions. A standby Commander, Support Aircraft, embarked in Admiral Reifsnider’s flagship George Clymer, was assigned the temporary additional duty of Commander, Landing Force Support Aircraft. He was to assume this role under the command of General Geiger after the latter had established his command post ashore. The plan provided that when the Landing Force Support Aircraft commander was ready to take control of aircraft (land-based and carrier-based) in direct support of the troops, he was to advise Admiral Conolly and thereafter, under Conolly, would assume control of all support aircraft over Guam. Requests for carrier-based and distant land-based aircraft were to be sent by the Commander, Landing Force Support Aircraft, to Admiral Conolly, who would affect the arrangements for getting the planes on station and notify the Commander, Landing Force Support Aircraft, of their estimated time of arrival at the rendezvous point.

This procedure would automatically give the landing force commander (General Geiger), through his air representative, more direct control over the aircraft employed in the support of his troops than was the case at Saipan and Tinian. There the Commander, Attack Force Support Aircraft, afloat, had kept close rein on all troop support missions flown from carriers.

To avoid conflict between air support strikes and field artillery fire, Commander, Support Aircraft, or Commander, Landing Force Support Aircraft, was to request a cessation of fire from the commanding general of III Amphibious Corps Artillery for the duration of the air strike. Further coordination was to be secured through air observers, artillery spotters, and through the air co-ordinator. The function of the latter was to direct scheduled air strikes from the air and to report developments of the ground situation. Marine air observers were to keep General Geiger informed on the ground situation, while artillery spotters would direct Marine artillery fire.

Preliminary air strikes on Guam were to begin on D Day at Saipan and last until W Day minus 1 under direction of the Advance Commander, Support Aircraft. On W Day itself a major air strike was scheduled to last for half an hour, from H Hour minus 90 minutes to H Hour minus 60 minutes. During this period forty-six fighters and ninety-six dive bombers were to bomb and strafe gun positions and beach installations in the two landing areas and surrounding territory.

Change of Plans

Following intensive amphibious training and rehearsals in the Guadalcanal area, the various Marine units of the III Amphibious Corps set sail aboard the transports and LST’s of Task Force 53 and arrived at the staging area at Kwajalein Atoll on 8 June. After a brief period allowed for fueling, watering, and provisioning, the convoy put to sea again and by 15 June had arrived at its designated assembly area over a hundred miles to the east of Saipan. There it waited for ten days, cruising idly through the open seas, while higher authorities debated the feasibility of an early landing on Guam.

Originally, W Day for the assault had been tentatively set as 18 June, but events on Saipan and in the adjacent waters made a postponement mandatory. As already indicated, the 27th Infantry Division, at first designated as reserve for the Saipan and Guam phases of the Marianas invasion, had to be committed in its entirety to Saipan, Furthermore, the Japanese Mobile Fleet had been sighted steaming toward the Marianas with the apparent intention of giving battle, and it was obvious folly to send the slow-moving troop transports and LST’s of Task Force 53 into the waters west of Guam. Hence, Admiral Spruance canceled W Day and ordered Conolly’s task force to remain out of danger well to the east of Saipan.

By 25 June the situation ashore on Saipan had improved sufficiently to warrant releasing the III Amphibious Corps from its duties as floating reserve for the V Corps. Accordingly, the ships carrying the 3rd Marine Division sailed back to Eniwetok where they were followed five days later by the rest of the vessels carrying the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. By early July, with the Saipan battle over two weeks old, thought could at last be given to deciding on a firm date for the landing on Guam. As a result of conferences among Admirals Turner, Hill, and Conolly and Generals Holland Smith and Geiger, 25 July was recommended. These commanders deemed an earlier attack on Guam inadvisable because, as Admiral Spruance expressed it to Admiral Nimitz, “The character of enemy resistance being encountered in Saipan and the increase over the original estimates of enemy strength in Guam” made the presence of the entire 77th Infantry Division necessary.

Admiral Nimitz was anxious to schedule the assault for 15 July, by which time it was presumed that at least one regimental combat team of the 77th Division could be dispatched to the scene of operations. Nevertheless, he deferred to the judgment of the officers present in the combat area and agreed to delay W Day until the whole of the Army division had arrived at Eniwetok.

On 6 July Admiral Spruance was advised that the last two regimental combat teams of the 77th Division to leave Hawaii could reach Eniwetok by 18 July, four days earlier than expected. Consequently, W Day was advanced to 21 July.

The 305th Infantry of the 77th Division was constituted reserve for the 1st Provisional Brigade and ordered to land on the Agat beaches sometime after the brigade had gone ashore. The rest of the division was designated corps reserve and was ordered to prepare to land “about William plus 2 Day on designated Beaches between Agat Village and Facpi Point”—also in the brigade zone.

77th Infantry Division Training and Preparation

For the 77th Infantry Division, the invasion of Guam was to be the first chapter of a distinguished combat record in the Pacific war. Activated in March 1942, the unit spent its first two years in the United States undergoing training in basic infantry warfare and in various specialties such as desert warfare at Camp Hyder, Arizona, mountain warfare in West Virginia, and amphibious warfare in the Chesapeake Bay area. In May 1943 General Bruce assumed command of the division. A veteran of World War I, General Bruce was a graduate of the Infantry School, the Field Artillery School, the Command and General Staff School, the Army War College, and the Naval War College. Before he assumed command of the 77th Division he completed a tour of duty in the Operations and Training Division of the War Department General Staff and commanded the Tank Destroyer Center at Camp Hood.

By March 1944 the division was located at Oahu, and for the next three months it was put through an intensive indoctrination in the techniques of warfare peculiar to the Pacific area under the direction of General Richardson’s United States Army Forces in the Central Pacific Area (USAFICPA). Infantrymen were trained as flame thrower and demolition men so as to avoid the necessity of relying exclusively on engineers to perform these functions in combat.

Officers and noncommissioned officers took a forward-observers course to reduce dependence on artillery personnel. The 706th Tank Battalion trained with the infantry regiments in mutual close-in support, combined maneuver problems, and landing operations. The entire division spent six days at the Unit Jungle Training Center on Oahu. Amphibious training for the infantrymen consisted of net-climbing, embarkation, and debarkation from mockup ships, transfer of personnel and equipment from LCVP’s to LVT’s at sea, and landing on beaches in wave formation. Artillery units conducted test landings from LST’s and practiced landing operations in DUKW’s and LVT’s with battalion landing teams. Experiments in loading and landing 155-mm. guns from LCM’s, LST’s, and LCT’s were made. The 77th Division Reconnaissance Troop held four days of practice with destroyer escorts, and part of the 292nd JASCO trained with Navy aircraft at Maui. The JASCO’s shore fire patrol party conducted destroyer firing exercises at the naval gunnery range on Kahoolawe Island. The only important feature missing from the program was the customary last-minute ship-to-shore rehearsal, which had to be foregone because of the lack of time. For most of the period the XXIV Corps, to which the division had initially been assigned, assisted in the training. Not until 22 June, almost on the eve of its departure from Oahu, was the division released to the V Amphibious Corps, the Marine Corps’ administrative and training command in the Hawaiian area.

At the time the division set sail from Hawaii in the first week of July, it was still a matter of doubt as to how and where it would be employed on Guam. Not until the middle of the month when the troop transports had reached Eniwetok was General Bruce fully apprised of the intentions of his superiors in regard to his unit. This meant that there was very little time before the target date to complete plans and to disseminate them to subordinate units. An additional handicap was the fact that not until they arrived at Guam itself were the commanding general and his staff able to establish personal contact with higher, adjacent, and supporting units.

Despite these difficulties, by 15 July General Bruce was able to promulgate three plans (one preferred and two alternates) for the division’s commitment. The plan already devised by III Amphibious Corps had contemplated the seizure of a Force Beachhead Line to extend from Adelup Point along the Mount Alutom-Mount Tenjo-Mount Alifan ridge line to Facpi Point. According to the corps’ preferred plan, the 3rd Marine Division would land between Adelup Point and the mouth of the Tatgua River and move south to the Apra Harbor area while the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, with the 305th Regimental Combat Team of the 77th Division attached, would land between the town Agat and Bangi Point and then wheel north to the base of Orote Peninsula.

Gearing his own plans to this schedule of operations, General Bruce directed the 2nd Battalion, 305th, with a platoon of the 706th Tank Battalion, to assemble at the line of departure two hours after H Hour and be ready to land on order of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. The other two battalions of the 305th were free of specific instructions except to be ready to debark and land, also on brigade order. As corps reserve, the 306th and 307th Regiments would land on corps order over the same beaches as the brigade, move to assembly areas, and be prepared to relieve the brigade of the duty of defending the final beachhead line.

The two alternate plans prepared for the Army division’s commitment were both based on the assumption that the Marines’ preferred plan would be put in effect. One of these contemplated a landing by the 306th and 307th Infantry Regiments near Adelup Point, whence they would move southwest to assembly areas and be prepared to attack either south toward Mount Tenjo or southeast toward Pago Bay. The second called for landings by the same two regiments on the northwestern coast between Uruno and Ritidian Points, from which positions they would move southwest in order to secure from the rear a beachhead at Tumon Bay.

This second plan was particularly dear to General Bruce’s heart. [N4-15-24] He wanted the two regiments of the 77th Division that were in corps reserve (the 306th and 307th) to land at dawn or just before dawn near the northwest tip of Guam about four days after the initial amphibious assault They would then drive rapidly south and capture a beachhead at Tumon Bay from the rear. They would land without heavy equipment, but once the Tumon Bay beaches were secured necessary supplies and equipment and possibly other infantry elements could be landed there. The concept of the plan, as Bruce expressed it, was “for the 77th Division to become a hammer striking forwards and eventually on the anvil, i.e., the Force Beach Line. Should the enemy divert sufficient forces to halt this Division for any appreciable length of time it should be possible for the 77th Division to become the anvil and the forces occupying the FBL to become the hammer.”

Immediately upon his arrival at Eniwetok on 11 July, General Bruce, with characteristic enthusiasm, pressed this scheme on the Marine commanders present. None of them warmed to the proposal, and Major General Alien H. Turnage told him he had better drop the idea. The Marines were reluctant to divert the corps reserve to a secondary landing for fear it might be needed to support the assault troops at the main beachheads. Undaunted by this cold reception, Bruce sent a dispatch outlining his plan to General Geiger, who had already sailed for the Marianas aboard Admiral Conolly’s flagship, Appalachian. The corps commander rejected the plan on the grounds that it was then too late to make any radical changes.

[N4-15-24 Throughout his entire World War II service as commanding general of the 77th Division, General Bruce was an enthusiastic supporter of the concept of the “amphibious end run,” that is, of secondary amphibious landings to the rear of the main Force Beachhead Line. During the Leyte operation he succeeded in getting the idea accepted with the result that the 77th Division made a highly successful landing at Ormoc. At Okinawa he tried to persuade his immediate superiors to let his division make a similar landing on the southern coast of the island to the rear of the Japanese main line of resistance, but the plan was rejected.]

Loading and Embarkation 77th Division

In the Hawaiian area where the 77th Division loaded and embarked for the Guam operation, its logistical needs were handled by the supply section of General Richardson’s headquarters and its subordinate agencies and by Commander, Service Force Pacific, a naval organization, Holland Smith’s staff determined the amounts of each class of supplies to be landed initially and supervised or at least checked the tentative loading plans. In the early phases of the logistical planning, it was not considered necessary to provide initial combat supplies to the division because the earlier operation plans did not call for its commitment within thirty-five days of the Marine assault landings. Once the division was designated area reserve and then, in mid-June, alerted for movement to the Marianas, supply activities were naturally accelerated.

General Bruce’s first supply order was issued on 24 June and specified the levels of initial supply for each class: per man 20 days; Water In 5-gallon containers and 55-gallon drums, 2 gallons per man per day for 5 days; 1 water point unit for each RCT; 2 water distillation units for each engineer combat battalion. 20 days maintenance of clothing, equipment, and general supplies, bulk clothing and individual equipment carried by RCT’s to be equally distributed in all ships and landed early.

Like the 27th Division before it went to Saipan, and unlike any of the Marine divisions destined for the Marianas, the 77th complied enthusiastically with General Holland Smith’s directive that between 25 and 50 percent of all supplies be palletized. Altogether, the division built about five thousand pallets, but about a thousand of these were dismantled before being loaded aboard ship because they would not fit into available spaces in the holds or because they were too difficult to handle in holds where finger-lifts were not available. In contrast, the marines bound for Guam palletized none of their supplies, partly because they lacked the building materials and equipment to handle them and partly because they were still skeptical as to whether pallets could be satisfactorily hauled ashore over a coral reef.

To lift the more than 18,000 troops and the 21,428 tons of supplies and equipment of the 77th Division from Hawaii to Eniwetok and then on to Guam, the Navy provided seven attack transports, four transports, three AKA’s, two AK’s, and three LST’s. The LST’s carried 612 troops and the 53 DUKW’s allotted to the division. The DUKW’s were the only amphibian vehicles allowed the 77th; no LVT’s were taken along since the division was not scheduled to go into the beach in assault Loading the vessels was complicated by the fact that the 77th Division had less than two weeks’ advance notice as to how many ships would be made available to it and what their characteristics would be.

Loading plans therefore had to be sketchy and tentative, since they could not be made final until approved by the commanding officer of each ship. The vessels themselves did not arrive at Oahu until forty-eight hours before the date set to begin loading. To troops who were about to embark on their first amphibious operation, the delay of course was maddening. One battalion commander later recalled that his transport quartermaster, the troop officer in charge of loading, “worried for 5 straight days without sleep, as did most of his assistants.”

The 305th Regimental Combat Team was the first of the regiments to be loaded, and it left Honolulu on 1 July. Embarkation was hasty, troops and cargo were loaded simultaneously, and much confusion resulted. The other two regiments had to await the return of transports that had been involved in the first phase of the Marianas operation at Saipan. They did not leave Hawaii until 8 July.

The Marines

The Marine units embarking for the Guam operation had one distinct advantage over the 77th Division in that their assigned shipping was present in their mounting area, the Solomon Islands, well in advance of the embarkation date. Admiral Conolly and his staff arrived at Guadalcanal on 15 April for a stay of nearly a month of preliminary planning with the III Amphibious Corps, The naval forces assigned to Task Force 53 were largely from Admiral Halsey’s South Pacific Area and had engaged in the Hollandia operation before putting in to bases in the Solomons on 10 May. Before their return for attachment to Conolly’s task force, arrangements had been made to station them at Guadalcanal, Efate, Espiritu Santo, and Hathorn Sound so as to avoid overcrowding Guadalcanal and Tulagi.

Because of the presence of the ships in the immediate area of the points of embarkation, there was ample time for the transport division commanders and ship captains to check thoroughly the loading plans of the various units. Such difficulty as was encountered centered primarily around the loading and embarkation of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, which had only recently been formed and had not had as much time to prepare detailed plans as had the 3rd Marine Division.

More important was the fact that early in May the naval lift allotted to the assault units was unexpectedly ordered to carry more than five hundred troops of Major General Henry L. Larsen’s Island Command Headquarters Group, which was destined for garrison duties on Guam after it was secured. This raised additional demands on the already limited shipping space, and the result was that the marines had to leave a good number of their organic vehicles behind when they sailed from the Solomons, Their supply of amphibian vehicles, however, was not curtailed. The 358 LVT’s of the 3rd and 4th Amphibian Tractor Battalions were assigned respectively to the 3rd Marine Division and the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. Their job, after delivering the assault troops ashore, was to transship cargo and personnel from landing craft over the reef and thence to shore. In addition to these vehicles, the marines were supplied with a hundred DUKW’s.

Preliminary Bombardment: Naval Gunfire

No matter what the immediate inconvenience to American forces caused by Admiral Spruance’s postponement of the scheduled landing day on Guam, the long-run consequences of that decision were fortunate.

The postponement of W Day from 18 June to 21 July made possible a more prolonged preliminary air and sea bombardment against Guam than against any other island in the Pacific during the war. The marines of the III Amphibious Corps who had chafed and fretted at being confined to their ships in the sweltering lagoon of Eniwetok later had good reason to be thankful for their enforced inactivity. The first American naval shells to hit Guam were fired from ships of a small task group from Task Force 53 on 16 June, the day after the landing on Saipan. For an hour and three quarters, the cruiser Honolulu, the battleships Pennsylvania and Idaho, and several destroyers, all supported by planes from accompanying aircraft carriers, bombarded the west coast of the island. The damage done appears to have been negligible, but the raid did alert the Japanese as to the probable American choice of landing beaches in the forthcoming invasion.

The enemy ashore mistook the shelling for the usual last-minute preliminary to an assault landing, and one Army lieutenant wrote in his diary: For the first time I saw the enemy fleet and was under its gunfire. I regret very much that we are powerless to do anything but to look at the enemy which came in barely 10,000 meters away. They shelled us steadily for two hours. Our positions were hit fourteen times. Fortunately none was injured. . . . We think that at last the enemy will land tonight, and so we will observe strict alert all night. We were issued hand grenades and are now waiting for the enemy to come.

By next morning, of course, the American ships had disappeared over the horizon, much to the disappointment of the lieutenant, and probably of most of his comrades. Impatiently, he wrote, “If the enemy is coming, let him come. The spirit to fight to the death is high. We are anxiously waiting but nothing unusual has happened so far as dawn breaks.”

The next surface ship strike against Guam occurred on 27 June when a small detachment of cruisers and destroyers (Task Unit 58.4.5) from Admiral Mitscher’s carrier fleet made a quick run into the waters off Guam and Rota, sank a small harbor tug and two barges in Apra Harbor, and set fire to some oil storage tanks ashore. Three days later Destroyer Division 46 shelled the airfields on Orote Peninsula.

Then, on 8 July, began the greatest single naval bombardment program of the war—greatest at least in terms of time expended. For thirteen days the Japanese garrison on Guam was treated to the most spectacular display of shore bombardment that the U.S. Navy had yet produced.

First to arrive were four heavy cruisers, twelve destroyers, and two escort carriers of Task Group 53.18 commanded by Rear Admiral C. Turner Joy. The group’s primary mission was to destroy coastal defense and heavy antiaircraft guns. Secondary targets were warehouses, command posts, communications facilities, and troop concentrations. Co-ordinating with the planes from two task groups of Task Force 58 that arrived in the area about the same time, the cruisers and destroyers were responsible for one half of the island while the planes bombarded the remainder. At noon each day the two exchanged areas of responsibility.

Meanwhile, planes from the two escort carriers flew combat air and antisubmarine patrol. At night each warship delivered harassing fire against the island. On 12 July the battleships New Mexico, Idaho, and Pennsylvania arrived to add their bit to the fireworks. Two days later Admiral Conolly himself put in his appearance aboard the AGC Appalachian and thereafter personally took charge of coordinating all naval and air bombardment.

The same day, the battleship Colorado joined the bombardment force, as did California and Tennessee on the 19th. By the time the marines arrived to invade the island, a total of six battleships and nine cruisers with their escorting destroyers were saturating Guam with naval shells of all varieties. For this period of thirteen days (exclusive of W Day itself) naval ammunition expenditures against shore targets totaled 836 rounds of 16-inch, 5,422 of 14-inch, 3,862 of 8-inch, 2,430 of 6-inch, and 16,214 of 5-inch shells.

At the invasion of Roi-Namur Admiral Conolly had earned the sobriquet “Closein Conolly” for his insistence that warships cruise close to shore when firing at land targets. At Guam, he reaffirmed his right to the title, but more important was the systematic procedure he introduced for coordinating naval gunfire and aerial bombardment and checking the results of each.

A target board of six officers, representing the air, gunnery, and intelligence sections of the staff, was set up to assign primary missions for air strikes and naval gunfire and assess the damages daily before designating the next day’s targets. Aerial photographs were taken each morning and on the basis of these damage was assessed and new targets were assigned. In these operations, the admiral’s staff was aided by the presence aboard Appalachian of General Geiger who, as commanding general of the landing force, naturally had the greatest personal concern about the accuracy both of the bombardment and of the damage reports submitted afterward.

During the later stages of the preliminary bombardment, one additional duty was imposed on the ships present—that of supporting naval underwater demolition teams. Altogether, three teams were made available for the Guam landings. The procedure was one that had by now become standardized in the Pacific. Swimmers disembarked from their mother APD into LCPR’s that took them close to the reef before putting them in the water to swim in the rest of the way to inspect the reef itself. In the meantime, four LCI gunboats lay to just off the reef and fired their 40- mm. and 20-mm. guns over the heads of the swimmers. On each flank of the LCI(G)’s was a destroyer firing five-inch shells farther inland, while the APD followed astern of the line of gunboats, also firing. After the small boats had picked up their swimmers, the covering ships continued their fire on the beaches in an effort to interdict the area where the enemy was attempting to make repairs.

On 14 July Underwater Demolition Team 3, aboard the APD Dickerson, arrived in the area and for three days conducted reconnaissance of the chosen landing beaches and other segments of the western coast line. On 17 July Underwater Demolition Teams 4 and 6 put in their appearance. Actual demolition work began that evening. The obstacles discovered on the Agat beaches were chiefly palm log cribs filled with coral and connected by wire cable. On the Asan beaches wire cages filled with cemented coral were spaced about every five feet. Only occasional strips of barbed wire were found, and no underwater mines. Altogether, 640 obstacles were blown-up off Asan and about 300 off Agat by hand-placed demolitions. Some of these, at least, had been constructed as recently as 3 July, by which time the Japanese had been tipped off as to the probable landing beaches to be used by the invaders.

Aerial Bombardment

In preparing the way for the amphibious assault on Guam, four main duties fell to the air arms of the Army and Navy. They were to neutralize Truk and the other islands in the Caroline group from which the Japanese might be expected to send their own aerial strength into the southern Marianas, prevent intervention by Japanese carrier-borne planes, photograph the island, and soften the target itself with an accelerated program of aerial bombing and strafing.

Starting in mid-March and continuing even after Guam had been secured, Army Air Forces bombers of the Seventh, Thirteenth, and, later, Fifth Air Forces conducted a series of devastating raids against the Carolines, chiefly Truk and Woleai. On one occasion, during the last two days of April, they were joined by Admiral Mitscher’s Task Force 58, which dropped 748 tons of bombs on Truk while retiring from the Hollandia invasion. The major credit for keeping the Carolines neutralized, however, fell to the Army Air Forces. By the time of the invasion of the southern Marianas, the island of Truk, once the leading Japanese bastion in the Central Pacific, had been rendered virtually useless. A like fate had befallen the great Japanese Mobile Fleet at the hands of Task Force 58 during the Battle of the Philippine Sea. By 20 June it was clear that the invaders of Guam need have no fear of serious Japanese threats from the air.

To Task Force 59, commanded by Major General Willis H. Hale, AUS, fell the chief responsibility for aerial photographic reconnaissance of the Marianas, Seventh Air Force and shore-based Navy bombers, both under General Hale’s command, maintained armed reconnaissance over all the southern Marianas for more than two months before the first landings on Saipan. The first mission over Guam was carried out on 6 May by ten Army B-24’s escorting six Navy PB4Y’s. Five of the planes were shot down over the target by enemy fighters; six others were damaged. Again on 24 May, 29 May, and 6 June flights of B-24’s and PB4Y’s made the trip over Guam, taking photographs and dropping token loads of bombs on targets of opportunity. Of the 6 June raid, a Lieutenant Imanishi wrote despairingly, “There were 9 B-24’s, but not one of our planes went up to meet them. We felt disheartened. Just how desirous our air force is of fighting is open to doubt.”

Desirous of fighting or not, the Japanese pilots stationed on Guam were soon to lose the means of doing so. Shortly after the photographic flight on 6 June, Admiral Mitscher’s fleet showed up to begin its methodical destruction of enemy aircraft and air facilities. In the belief that the island would be invaded on 18 June, Commander, Task Force 58, first unleashed his mighty armada of fighters and bombers against Guam and nearby Rota on 11-12 June. In the ensuing air battle, a total of 150 Japanese planes was reported destroyed in the air or on the ground. For the next four days, one or more of Mitscher’s task groups carried out strikes against aircraft facilities, runways, coastal guns, and antiaircraft positions on Guam and Rota.

Against this overwhelming naval airpower, the Japanese were almost helpless. Wrote Lieutenant Imanishi, “It is especially pitiful that we cannot control the air. We can only clench our fists with anger and watch,” At the same time, a Japanese private noted that he and his companions were unable to leave their shelters and help repair the damage because of the bombings. Another enlisted man complained, “The number of enemy planes was said to be more than 500 today, while not one of our planes took to the air. I felt a bitter resentment at the manner in which the enemy stressed his air power.”

[N4-15-53 CINCPAC-CINCPOA Trans 10996, extracts from the diary of Leading Private Murano, Koko (2nd Bn, 10th IMR). {N4-15-54} CINCPAC-CINCPOA Trans 10802, extracts from the diary of Corporal Susuki, Tai (Yoshikawa Unit).]

Yet there was still some fight left in the Japanese air contingent on Guam, for on the evening of 15 June a few planes took off from Orote field to launch a low-level torpedo attack against the American carriers offshore. As a result, two of Mitscher’s task groups next day concentrated heavily on Guam to prevent a repetition of the previous evening’s attacks. During the two-day Battle of the Philippine Sea, the fields of Guam again received the attention of Mitscher’s fliers. Japanese land-based planes still undamaged by previous raids, as well as carrier planes that had flown in from Ozawa’s fleet, constituted a threat on Mitscher’s flank and rear that could not be overlooked. On the morning of 19 June, before the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot had even gotten well under way, two separate air battles were fought over Guam, both ending in victory for the Americans. Even during the course of the main battle itself, which was fought well out to sea, Mitscher kept one contingent of fighters and bombers over Guam to interdict the airfields and prevent any remaining planes from taking off to join Ozawa’s carrier planes. Altogether, about fifty Guam based planes were destroyed on the 19th alone, and the fields themselves were at least temporarily put out of business. That night, when about fifteen Japanese carrier bombers attempted to make emergency landings there, they found the fields too torn up to do so and, being out of fuel, had to crash.

The raids of 19 June all but delivered the coup de grâce to Japanese airpower on Guam. Occasionally, in the weeks that followed, a few Japanese planes flew into Orote from Yap and other islands in the Carolines, but they posed no real threat. On 4 July one of Mitscher’s task groups (Task Group 58.3) returned to conduct a daylight raid over the island, and from 6 through 17 July two other carrier groups (Task Groups 58.1 and 58.2) alternated daily in strikes over Guam and Rota.

Primary targets were coastal and antiaircraft guns, supply dumps, airfield installations, and the towns of Asan, Piti, and Agat. These strikes were co-ordinated with those of the escort carrier planes and the naval bombardment ships of Admiral Conolly’s Task Force 53. On the last three days before the landing, the Japanese on Guam witnessed the full weight of American naval airpower in a mounting crescendo of aerial fury. On 18 July planes from the two task forces flew 662 bombing sorties and 311 strafing attacks, on the 19th the number increased to 874 and 392, and on the day before the landings to 1,430 and 614. The total tonnage of bombs, depth charges, and rockets dropped and launched during these three days came to 1,131.Assessment of Damage

As night closed in on 20 July, it seemed impossible to those aboard the flagship Appalachian that the Japanese on Guam could put up anything but token resistance to the troops that would go in the next day in amphibious assault Major William M. Gilliam, USMC, who was Geiger’s naval gunfire officer, reported, “When the morning of the landing arrived, it was known that the assault troops would meet little resistance.” Admiral Conolly’s staff believed, “Not one fixed gun was left in commission on the west coast that was of greater size than a machine gun.” These conclusions were to prove somewhat extravagant, as the marines next day discovered to their sorrow. Testimony given after the war by Lieutenant Colonel Hideyuki Takeda, IJA, who was a staff member of the 29th Division, provides a corrective to the American reports on which these optimistic conclusions were based.

Conventional construction, Takeda reported, consisting of buildings reinforced on an emergency basis, was completely destroyed when it received direct hits. Field positions that were hit by shells were completely destroyed, and of those on or near the landing beaches, over 50 percent were demolished. Half-permanent positions in which the hard agent cascajo (a type of coral) was used and that were reinforced with concrete about 50-cm. thick remained in good condition except in cases of direct hits. Those that were hit by shells were more than 50 percent destroyed. Permanent positions with concrete over one meter thick remained in perfect condition even after receiving direct hits. All open naval gun emplacements were completely destroyed before the landings.

Of those naval guns emplaced in caves, about half remained operational at the time of the landings, but they were soon put out of commission by counterbattery fire that closed up the cave mouths where they were located. Antiaircraft artillery on the island sustained damage from naval gunfire only once, and so long as Japanese antiaircraft ammunition lasted the Japanese were reasonably safe from American planes. Harbor installations received almost no damage, water pipes received only one direct hit, and power installations were all located in caves and so escaped damage. Most military boats were sunk. Naval gunfire had no effect against construction in the valleys or in the jungle and had very little effect against the interior parts of the island over two and a half miles from the shore line.

American airpower, reported Colonel Takeda, succeeded in knocking out the airfields on Guam but posed little threat to defense positions because there was little bombing of Japanese gun emplacements from the air. By far the most important effect of aerial bombing and strafing was the extreme limitation it placed on Japanese ground movement during daylight hours. However, neither naval guns nor aircraft succeeded in causing any serious interruption in communications on Guam.

Takeda could not remember a single case where telephone lines were cut because of naval gunfire. As of 21 July, Headquarters, 29th Division, in command of the defense of Guam, possessed perfect wire and wireless communications with the 18th Infantry Regiment, the 38th Infantry Regiment, the force on Orote Peninsula, forces south of Pago on the east coast, and forces at Tarague on the north tip of the island. Perfect field telephone communication with the 48th Independent Mixed Brigade was maintained. Headquarters also had uninterrupted wireless communication with Rota, as well as with Imperial General Headquarters in Tokyo.

In spite of the limited effectiveness of American preliminary bombardment, Takeda’s testimony does indicate that it produced certain substantial results. Many of the buildings that were destroyed by direct hits, such as hospitals, warehouses, and office buildings in the towns of Piti, Agana, and Agat, housed military personnel and equipment. Takeda’s own appreciation of the important role played by American air and sea power in reducing the defenses of Guam emerges through the crude but clear translation of the closing words of his post-battle report: Among the battle colored by the holy blood of the dead I can find out the only lesson: The powerful air and sea powers make ground forces to defend island unnecessary. That is, the defence of island depending merely upon the isolated and helpless ground forces cannot be existed in the world. If the defence depending only upon the ground forces succeeded it would only be clue to the fact that the island was neutralized, troops on it would hardly exist and they could perform their duty to defend the island because the enemy did not land on it.

Intelligence of the Enemy

Considering the fact that Guam had been a U.S. possession for more than forty years, American intelligence of the island’s road system and terrain was remarkably incomplete. The War Department in June 1943 had prepared and published a general survey of the island, and in February 1944 the Office of Naval Intelligence circulated a voluminous bulletin containing all kinds of information about hydrographic conditions, ground contours, road systems, weather, and the native population.

Neither of these studies was any further up to date than 10 December 1941, the date of the Japanese occupation, nor could the information supplied by American servicemen and native Guamanians who had lived on the island before the occupation give the planners any idea of Japanese defense installations or dispositions. General Geiger asked permission to send in small patrols by submarine to contact natives and “see behind the curtain,” but the request was turned down. Hence, for up-to-date data on the activities and progress of the Japanese garrison, reliance had to be placed entirely upon photographic reconnaissance, chiefly aerial.

[N4-15-62 Lieutenant Colonel Hideyuki Takeda, IJA, Outline of Japanese Defense Plan and Battle of Guam Island, translated by Major Sato, IJA, Incl to Ltr, Colonel W. S. Coleman to Comdt USMC, 4 Oct 46; Lieutenant Colonel Hideyuki Takeda, Ltr to Brigadier General J. C. McQueen, USMC, Dir Marine Corps Hist, 20 Feb 52, translated by Thomas G. Wilds, OCMH (both in Records Sec Hist Br G-3, Hq USMC).]

Not until 25 April, after Conolly’s staff had arrived on Guadalcanal, were photographs received, and the first ones were badly obscured by cloud cover. Later, aerial photographs were only fair, but were supplemented by excellent obliques of the coast line taken by the submarine USS Greenling. Maps of the interior, prepared from prewar sources and revised on the basis of these aerial photographs, were fairly good as to scale and azimuth, but only occasionally did they portray ground contours accurately. Changes made by the Japanese in the road system were not indicated on the maps provided the troops; in fact, in the north of the island map locations of the roads were as much as 1,500 yards off from their true positions. Trails were not shown at all.

With the capture of Saipan, a good number of Japanese documents were made available to the planners for Guam and afforded them for the first time some idea of the enemy situation. On the basis of these documents and of interrogations of prisoners of war, the intelligence section of III Amphibious Corps estimated that Guam was garrisoned by a total of 17,673 Army troops and 9,945 to 10,945 Navy, Air, and construction personnel. Although these figures proved to be considerably in excess of actual enemy strength, Geiger’s staff correctly predicted that the bulk of the Army troops on the island was composed of the 29th Division under Lieutenant General Takeshi Takashima and the 11th Infantry Regiment under Major General Kiyoshi Shigematsu. The principal naval unit on the island was thought to be the 54th Naval Guard Force, and it was believed that about 2,185 naval air personnel were stationed there as well.

[N4-15-67 The 11th Infantry Regiment, somewhat expanded, had actually been renamed the 48th Independent Mixed Brigade.]

It was assumed, on the basis of these documents and interrogations, that the Japanese would concentrate their defenses around Tumon Bay, Agana, and Agat, all on the west coast. Only two battalions were thought to be garrisoned on the south and southeast coasts. American troops about to invade Guam were warned to expect a large amount of mobile artillery and a determination on the part of the Japanese to exploit the mountainous terrain, which provided excellent observation. The enemy was thought to be holding back (from the beach defense) a mobile reserve of at least one battalion plus supporting weapons in the Agana area. A smaller reserve of about reinforced company strength was believed to be located somewhere inland of Agat.

“It seems evident,” concluded Geiger’s intelligence section, “that both we and the Japanese have been thinking along the same lines, that is, the beaches we find best for landings are those the Japs find most dangerous to them and have fortified the most.” (The conclusion was fully warranted.)

SOURCE: Campaign in the Marianas; BY: Philip A. Crowl (United States Army Center of Military History)

World War Two: Retaking Guam (4-16) The Japanese

World War Two: Tinian (3-14) Invasion and Capture

Today’s Funny for March 25: Fashion No-Nos

Fashion No-Nos


As we all get older in the our Community, it is easy to get confused about how we should present ourselves. We’re unsure as we try to be nice and harmonize with the fashions that younger members of our community have adopted.

So I’ve made a sincere study of the situation and here are the results. Despite what you may have seen on the streets or at social gatherings, the following combinations do not go together and thus should be avoided:

  1. A eyebrow piercing and bifocals
  2. Pony tails and bald spots
  3. A pierced tongue and dentures
  4. Ankle bracelets and corn pads
  5. Nipple jewelry and a gall bladder surgery scar
  6. Midriff shirts and a midriff bulge
  7. Tattoos and liver spots or varicose veins
  8. Belly-button piercings and old pregnancy stretch marks
  9. Skyclad and Depends.

Please keep these basic guidelines foremost in your mind when you shop.

–Turok’s Cabana

Today’s Extra: Tidying Up Is Trending. Why Not Apply It to Your Life?

Tidying Up Is Trending. Why Not Apply It to Your Life?

As delightful as Marie Kondo appears, the KonMari Method isn’t for everyone. Sometimes a little clutter can be a good thing, right? But the place where decluttering can potentially be most effective is in your life. That’s right, it’s time to ditch those thoughts and habits that don’t “spark joy” and declutter your life. Here are a few ways you can mindfully start Marie Kondo-ing your cluttered mind palace!

DISCOVER YOUR CORE VALUES.

Many of us fritter away our time on things we don’t really care about, which is why it’s important to determine what you truly value. Do some journaling and meditating on what you care about most in life.

Aim to create a list of three to five guiding principles that you generally live your life by. Some examples are:

  • wellness
  • aesthetic design
  • movement
  • creativity
  • love
  • optimism
  • making a difference
  • mindfulness

To get the juices flowing, you can find a list of core values to help inspire you here, courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University.

Now, take stock of how you spend your day. What percentage of your day do you spend thinking about and doing things that are fully in alignment with your values? If a portion of your day isn’t, then let’s be honest, whatever it is probably isn’t sparking joy. It may be time to consider making some serious lifestyle changes.

Life is too short to spend on things that aren’t in line with your core pillars—you deserve to be happy.

STOP CLUTTERING YOUR MIND WITH MULTIPLE TASKS.

Stop trying to figure out multiple problems at the same time. When you’re multitasking, you’re actually getting less done.

Researchers at the University of Michigan discovered most people feel productive when they multitask, estimating that they are getting twice as much done. However, in reality the inverse is true. They were only getting half as much done in the same timeframe as subjects who weren’t multitasking.

Be here now, and focus on one thing at a time. Practice mind minimalism—stay steady and focused. The easiest way to practice this? Daily meditation. It’s like giving your mind a good sweeping.

SAY NO WHENEVER YOU CAN.

A lot of the time we load our plates with meetings, chores, and tasks that just distract us from what we truly want/need to spend our time doing. Don’t be afraid to say no.

Overscheduling is a little addictive. Stuffing your bloated schedule may make you feel like you’ve achieved some modern semblance of success, but you haven’t. You’re just hurting your health. Think of all the stress, multitasking and mental anguish that comes along with it.

Being busy isn’t as cool as it seems. You’ll feel so much calmer, happier and clearer if you only say yes to things that fuel your core values.

So, is it time to KonMari your home? Maybe, maybe not. While it’s definitely good to clear out clutter, it might be a little drastic for some. After all, a little clutter can be good for creativity and learning. But should you KonMari your life? Absolutely. Get rid of the junk that isn’t serving you. Meditate, practice mindfulness, do some journaling.

Sure, it’s not as easy as tossing things in a trash bag, but with a little practice and effort, you can keep your mind clear, high-functioning and blissful.

 

–Care2.com

The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Mar. 25: PET BEHAVIOR SOLUTIONS: BARKING, CHEWING, JUMPING, DIGGING

 

PET BEHAVIOR SOLUTIONS: BARKING, CHEWING, JUMPING, DIGGING

Pets, like humans, can develop some behavioral problems that annoy you. Here are tips to help you understand why your pet behaves this way and how to help your pet so that you all can coexist happily!

BARKING

A barking dog is often more useful than a sleeping lion.

When dogs bark it is most commonly because they are trying to get your attention or because they see something that frightens or intimidates them. Here are some tips for how to deal with your barking dog.

  • Take an empty soda can and toss a few pennies or pebbles into it so that when it shakes it makes an unpleasant, clanking noise that your dog won’t like. The next time your dog barks firmly say “Quiet” and shake the can. The sound will startle the dog causing it to stop, while also teaching it the “Quiet” command.
  • If your dog tends to yap more when he’s alone in the house he might be dealing with a mild case of separation anxiety. Before you leave, rub your hands all over one of his favorite chew toys. The scent will make the toy more appealing and can hush the barking. A hollow bone stuffed with cheese or peanut butter will also keep him occupied.

Did you know? Cats are able to produce about 100 different vocalized sounds. Dogs? Only about 10.

DIGGING

  • Dig a hole where your dog likes to dig. Blow up some small balloons, put them in the hole, and cover them with dirt. When the dog comes to dig in the loose dirt, he will pop a balloon with his nails and scare himself away from the area.
  • If you have a small dog digging in your garden, place several mothballs in a one-pound coffee can. Put the lid on and secure it with duct or electrical tape. Next, with a knife or awl punch lots of little holes in the lid. Place the cans where you don’t want your pet to dig. The mothball smell will repel your pets, but they are toxic, so make sure your pet can’t get into the can and eat them.)
  • Cats like the consistency of soil in gardens, but if you place pinecones or wood chips over the soil in your garden they won’t like the texture anymore and will find somewhere new.
  • If your cat is spending a lot of time digging around in the litter box, it’s probably a signal that it’s not being cleaned enough. Scoop out the box once a day and the change the litter frequently, especially if there is more than one cat using it.

JUMPING

Nothing in the world is friendlier than a wet dog.

  • Watch your dog’s body language, and as soon as he’s about to jump sternly say “No,” or “off.” If you walk away and ignore him it will teach him that jumping will result in being ignored, which is the opposite reaction they want.
  • Next time your dog greets you at the door with a jump, hold his two front paws so that he’s in the standing position. Keep him in that position until you can tell he doesn’t like it and as you let him down say “No.” Your dog will get the hint that jumping up is going to cause discomfort.

CHEWING

  • Keep dogs from chewing woodwork by sprinkling it with oil of cloves.
  • If your puppy is teething, place one of her chew toys in the freezer for a few hours, which will feel soothing to a sore mouth.
  • Sometimes excessive chewing is a sign of boredom. Different breeds have different activity levels, so talk to your vet to see how much exercise your pet needs. If this is the case, take your dog on more walks, or set up play dates with other dogs in the neighborhood.

–The Old Farmer’s Almanac

The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Mar. 25: UNDERSTANDING YOUR PET’S BEHAVIOR

 

UNDERSTANDING YOUR PET’S BEHAVIOR

Why do pets eat grass? Why do cats rub against people? The Almanac helps you understand (and love) your pet’s behavior!

WHY DO CATS AND DOGS EAT GRASS?

Most do at some point and then vomit. While no one is certain why, some say it purges unpleasant toxins from their systems. Others say they just like the taste of grass. Whatever the reason, vets agree it causes no harm unless the grass of choice has been treated with chemicals.

PETS AT HOME ALONE

Believe it or not, vets recommend putting on a video or the television to keep housebound dogs and cats from getting totally bored if they’re home alone all day. Other loneliness or boredom cures include playing music or calling home to talk to the answering machine. A bird-feeder outside a strategically placed window can provide entertainment for cats. An aquarium with a few fish (and the top on!) will also keep a kitty occupied. And dogs always love their chew toys.

WHEN PETS GET THE BLUES

Pets get depressed for some of the same reasons humans do. Illness, loneliness, lack of exercise, or a major change of lifestyle such as moving to a new home can all lead to a pets depression. It is difficult to distinguish depression from symptoms of physical illness, so a careful watch is necessary. If a mopey cat goes without eating for 36 hours, or a dog for 48 hours, it’s time to call a vet. In the meantime, here are some things to try with your pet that will be healthy, even if it’s not depression:

  • Lots of playing and vigorous walks outdoors.
  • Put up a mirror where a pet can see his reflection. This might reduce feelings of loneliness, if that’s the depression trigger.
  • Make sure your pet is included when you have visitors or a new baby in the house.
  • Playing music, particularly classical, seems to have a positive effect on many pets.
  • Dogs may be jolted out of the blues with a new friend. Visit a park or doggy day-care center or class.
  • A cat will love more stimulation outside her window, so attract birds to your yard and make sure she has plenty of scenic vistas.

WHY CATS DO THE THINGS THEY DO

Catnip Behavior

Why does one cat like catnip, while the next one ignores it? Cats under three months old probably won’t respond at all. Males are more likely to respond than females, and unneutered males respond the most because catnip mimics the chemical found in female cat urine. The cat-active ingredient in catnip is nepatalactone.

​Is it me or the food?

Cats rub against people and objects to mark and claim their territory.

​Up But Not Down

If cats are natural-born climbers, why are they notorious for getting stuck in trees? Cats may be afraid of falling, or nervous about the commotion on the ground below them. Usually a cat will come down within a day if left alone, but a cat who’s been stuck for much longer may need to be rescued.

WHY DOGS DO THE THINGS THEY DO

A Bark is Not Just a Bark

You can learn to recognize what your dog is trying to say with his barks and whines. Whining between barks generally means he is frightened or doesn’t want you to leave (separation anxiety). Barking a long time, with brief pauses between similar barks, means he is probably bored. An exuberant bark means it’s playtime.

‘Fraidy Dog

Many dogs are afraid of loud noises. You can make yours feel safer by giving him his own small space to crawl into, like a crate or cage. You may want to cover it with a blanket, but leave the door open. As with humans, relaxing music may calm a dog during a thunderstorm.

SOURCE:

The Old Farmer’s Almanac Pet Lover’s Companion

The Old Farmer’s Almanac for Mar. 25: FIND THE RIGHT PUPPY FOR YOU

 

FIND THE RIGHT PUPPY FOR YOU

Did you know that there are over 300 breeds of dogs? And that isn’t even including the mutts! To find out whether a certain breed is right for you, it’s important to approach the breeder armed with a list of questions. Here are some of the questions you might want to ask when you’re looking for a puppy.

HOW BRIGHT IS THIS BREED?

  • The more intelligent the dog, the easier he/she will be to train.
  • Working and herding dogs such as collies and shepherds tend to be the most intelligent because their job is to work with people. They may have been bred to take orders, make decisions, and solve problems. It’s no accident that many Hollywood dogs are Border collies or Australian shepherds.

IS THIS THE NERVOUS TYPE?

  • Such breeds aren’t good for older folks or children.
  • Nervous breeds of dogs are more apt to bite when startled or to bark all day.
  • They develop nervous habits-such as chewing or scratching on furniture, or when they get bored.
  • Certain terriers and show dogs are considered high-strung because they have been bred for looks, not personality.

WHAT’S LIKELY TO AIL THIS DOG?

  •  Some breeds are very susceptible to respiratory disorders or hip dysplasia. Others have poor eyesight or are prone to certain diseases.
  • Any of these problems will shorten the life of you pet and perhaps cost you thousands of dollars in veterinary bills.

IS SHE CHATTY?

  • It’s natural for dogs to bark. They do so to protect their territory and when they are feeling playful.
  • Some dogs, such as terriers and certain hounds, bark more often than other breeds. They’re exuberant and loyal, but you’ll always know when they’re around. This makes them better dogs for homeowners than apartment dwellers.

Remember: A puppy has to reach a certain maturity before it can be safely separated from its mother. A puppy should be at least ten weeks old when separated or else it will have a greater chance of being small, antisocial, and prone to illness.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Holidays Around The World for Mar. 25: Maryland Day

Maryland Day

Maryland Day, or Founder’s Day, commemorates the landing of the first colonists there in 1634, and the first Roman Catholic Mass they celebrated. Named after Henrietta Maria, the consort of King Charles I (1600-1649) of England, Maryland was the first proprietary colony on the American mainland. George Calvert, Lord Baltimore (1580?-1632), was appointed by the king as proprietor, and as a Catholic he hoped to establish a refuge for other Catholics who had been persecuted in Anglican England. He was succeeded as head of the colony by his son, Cecilius Calvert (1605-1675), the second Lord Baltimore, who brought 200 more colonists over from England.

CONTACTS:
Maryland State Archives
Maryland Manual On-Line
350 Rowe Blvd.
Annapolis, MD 21401
800-235-4045 or 410-260-6400; fax: 410-974-3895
http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us
Maryland Secretary of State
State House
Annapolis, MD 21401
888-874-0013 or 410-974-5521; fax: 410-974-5190
http://www.sos.state.md.us
SOURCES:
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 231
AnnivHol-2000, p. 50
DictDays-1988, p. 74

This Day in History, March 25: John Lennon and Yoko Ono Hold Their First Bed-In for Peace (1969)

John Lennon and Yoko Ono Hold Their First Bed-In for Peace (1969)

The Washington Post reported that an acquaintance of Lennon and “Uno” had said the couple was planning “the century’s most uncensored love-in.” So some journalists showed up thinking they were about to witness a conjugal act between the Beatles megastar and his Japanese bride.

When they arrived, however, they found Lennon and Ono in conservative pajamas buttoned all the way up.

“There we were like two angels in bed, with flowers all around us, and peace and love on our heads,” Lennon said later.

You have to admit, he does look quite angelic. Or perhaps, Christ-like?

Why were they there? To protest war (in bed) and preach world peace (by growing out their hair), they said.

At the time, Lennon and Ono had been dogged by negative coverage of their love affair. (Both had been married to other people when they began their relationship, and many people later blamed Ono for the breakup of the Beatles.)

But, Lennon explained, they had decided to harness and redirect that attention for their own purposes.

John Lennon: ‘We’re going to stay in bed for seven days’

The bed-in went over well with fans, and Washington Post humorist Art Buchwald joked:

“I was lucky to interview students in Fort Lauderdale on Easter vacation to get their reaction. . . . An Oberlin music major said, ‘If sleeping is going to make this country wake up to the fact that we want peace, then I say we should sleep.’ His girlfriend said, ‘After a week in Fort Lauderdale, I’ll need seven days and seven nights of sleep, even if it isn’t for peace.’”

Months later, Lennon and Ono planned to hold a second bed-in in New York, but Lennon was denied entry into the United States because of a drug conviction. So they chose an alternative location.

“We are going to the Bahamas to protest — in bed,” Lennon told Reuters. “I don’t know how long we will stay there. It depends when, and if, the visa is granted.”

They lasted one day, purportedly due to the island country’s heat, and flew to the cool climes of Montreal instead.

There, they holed up at Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Hotel for another week.

In Montreal, Lennon and Ono hosted visitors, including poet Allen Ginsberg and civil rights activist and comedian Dick Gregory. They also recorded “Give Peace a Chance” with a crowd of backup singers that included LSD advocate Timothy Leary and the musical comedian Tommy Smothers.

After the Montreal bed-in, Lennon and Ono continued their campaign for peace by sending world leaders acorns “for peace” and buying full-page ads and billboards with the message, “WAR IS OVER! IF YOU WANT IT.”

The Amsterdam Hilton room where the newlyweds stayed is permanently memorialized in its moment in history. You can still rent it, but it’ll cost you between $1,800 and $2,300 per night.

–Washington Post