RADIO PRESS NEWS 23 February 1945.
THE BATTLE OF IWO JIMA
Herewith as eye witnessed by Staff Sergeant: David Dempsey, Marine Combat Correspondent. "This island was stormed four days ago by marines in the face of blistering Japanese mortar and artillery fire. Today is the scene of indescribable wreckage - all ours. For two miles extending northward from Mt. Surbachi at the southern tip of the island is thick layer of debris. Wrecked hulls of scores of boats testify to the price we paid to get our troops ashore on this vital island. For two continuous days and nights Japanese artillery rockets, heavy mortars laid a curtain of fire along the shore.
Their weapons having been aimed at beach long before we landed. They could not miss and did not. Volcanic sand on this beach is so soft many of our vehicles were mowed down before they had gone ten feet. In addition the terrain a few yards from the water hampered their movements so they became easy prey for Japanese gun fire, Only a few trucks got ashore for two days; practically all supplies moved by hand to the front. Even unconquerable Jeeps were stuck.
One can see amphibian tractors turned upside down like a pancake on a griddle; derricks brought ashore to unload cargo are tilted at inside angles where shells blasted them; anti-aircraft guns were smashed before they had a chance to fire a shot. Even some bull dozers landed too, to clear the path for the following vehicles. Artillery could not be landed for twenty-four hours. Packs of clothing, gas masks, toilet articles, many of them ripped by shells are scattered across sand for five miles. Rifles are blown in half. Even letters are scattered among debris as though war insisted in prying into mans personal business.
Scattered amid the wreckage is death. Perhaps the real heroes of this battle for Iwo Jima are the boys who sweated out the invasion. They are the coxswains who steered landing boats through the gun fire and who did not get back. They are unloading parties who for one entire day unloaded hardly a boat because few boats made it. Instead they hugged the beach while shells hit into sand all around them. On "D-Day" beach parties suffered heavy casualties and killed and wounded. There were aid evacuation stations which could not move up to comparative safety of the forward area.
One battle line aid station lost eleven of its corpsmen on its first two days. Death is not a pretty sight. But it has taken possession on our beach. An officer in charge of a tank landing boat received a direct shell hit while trying to free his boat from the sand. He was blown in half. His life preserver supported the trunk of his body in the water. Marines killed on the beach were buried under sand, as the tide came in.
On the third day we began to get vehicles and supplies ashore in quantity. Steel matting made beach passable as naval gun fire knocked out most of the Jap artillery. The miracle was that we were able to supply our troops at all. Naval gun fire continued to pound enemy held positions throughout the northern part of the island and fleet aircraft supported ground forces with heavy bombing, strafing and rocket attacks. Marines on Iwo Jima went through as grim an epic of heroism as they did on Tarawa. They have given another memorable and bloody name to the history of their Corps and to their country. Fleet marine quarters at Guam show no disposition to the minimized price being paid to thank those 'eight square miles of hell on earth'. But we understand now better than we did in November 1943 that sometimes there is no help for it.
We have come to Iwo Jima after much more experience in this island warfare with bitter comprehensions of its problems and fuller realization of its heavy cost. They cannot halt progress of war; just as death and agony and 'Hell on earth' has not stopped marines on Iwo Jima, but they add to our humble ratification toward young Americans who faced- blazing beaches and thundering hillsides in order to dig their foes, savages, out of the earth which their militarism has so been filled.
The United States Marines have been given another nut to be cracked and crack it they did. Iwo Jima, Japan's lookout island south of their homeland, from where fighting interceptors arise to harass our B-29's, from where her bombers leave to raid our bases on Saipan and from where Tokyo and other strategically important cities in Japan get first word of our impending raids, is to fall soon to heroic marines who have courageously stormed its densely fortified positions to establish beachheads and cut into its most important airstrip.
Iwo has been softened up by 70 air raids on its fortifications. It has under gone one of the greatest naval bombardments of the war. But its volcanic geography has permitted the enemy in face of all this to retain intact its most deadly and important defenses. Iwo is the Japanese inter-defense ring. It provides a gateway to Japan proper and once in our hands will enable our bomber s to have fighter coverage on their numerously increasing and dangerous raids on Japan's industrial and military centers.
We remember with regret Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan and we will have every reason to remember Iwo also. Battles have been bloody and have been hard, but our fighting men are getting there, and every step they take counts more and more against the day when all these costly struggles will be over.
The Japanese have seen the use we made of Saipan base for Super fortresses which have been visiting Japanese homeland regularly for months. Iwo is within medium bomber range of Tokyo-mot merely extreme heavy bomber range. Consequences of Iwo Jima's loss therefore are almost increasable from Japanese point of view. Marines landing on Iwo took Americans half way to Tokyo from the Marianas and planted them solidly on Japanese soil itself. The capture of Iwo will be a terrific blow to Japanese moral which no amount of explanation can ease. The Marshalls, Carolines, Marianas and even the Philippines constituted an outer wall of Nipponese defense and their capture did not spell impending doom, but in taking Iwo Jima Americans are hitting through Japanese inner guard."
U.S. Pacific Fleet headquarters reported today that U.S. Fleet units in the vicinity of Iwo Jima sustained some attacks by Japanese fighters and bombers. Japanese counterattacks have been beaten back and U.S. Marine casualties have reached to 4553 in the desperate battle. Japanese counter-attacks accompanied by numerous attempts to inflict the American lines were beaten back by leathernecks and strengthened by U.S. Third Marine division which landed yesterday.
The northward drive toward central Iwo airfield met heavy resistance from small arms, mortars and automatic weapons. At noon troops advancing through hard rain knocked out numerous enemy guns, positions and were rapidly weakening enemy defenses.
This week the Navy Department announced the sinking of 25 Jap vessels including escort carriers, large converted cruisers and destroyers as result of operations in the far eastern waters. Ships sunk, 1 escort aircraft carrier, 1 destroyer, 1 large converted cruiser, 1 medium transport, 14 medium large vessels, 3 small cargo vessels, 11 large cargo transports, 2 medium cargo transports, 1 small transport. This brings to 1045 the number of Jap ships sunk by American submarines since December 7, 1941. Jap ship losses reported in MacArthur's communiqué, in southeast, reports from December 7, 1941 through January 17, 1945 are as follows: Combatant ships, 850 sunk;380 probably sunk; 1590 damaged. Non-combatant ships, 2030 sunk, 500 probably sunk; 1620 damaged. Totals for all ships; 2880 sunk, 880 probably sunk; 3210 damaged. Jap plane losses from January 1, 1944 through February 13, 1945; 6440 destroyed; 1050 probably destroyed.
Navy officers revealed today that 800 American prisoners suffocated in jam-packed holds of a Japanese prison ship which left Manila last December. About 1600 prisoners were herded into tiny holds of the ship, 9 December to 31 December, by Japanese guards and were held there at rifle point for 36 hours. The vessel was sunk by an American bombing attack on the morning of December 15. This was the third known sinking of Jap ships carrying American prisoners. The first occurred September 7, when 83 out of 750 American prisoners survived. On October 24 another prison ship was sunk and only 5 men were known to have survived out of 1800 prisoners aboard.
LET’S PASS IT ON. BUDDY!!!!
Pacific War News:
The Yanks continued their air attacks and bombed an airfield on Chichi and Okimur towns on Haha in the Bonins north of Iwo Tuesday and hit Marcus Island Wednesday. Marine fighters and torpedo planes hit Babolthuap on the Palaus and Yap in the Western Carolines Wednesday. Pagan in the Marianas was strafed Thursday by Army fighters. During the week ending February seventeenth ground patrols mopped up ninety four Japs killed and seventeen captured in the Marianas and on Peleliu in the Palaus. Also one hindred thirty one Japs were killed or captured in the last three days of last week on Siapan. Yank casualties in the Marianas were seven killed and three wounded.
In the Phillipines the American division landed on Capaul Island in the Sanbernardino Straights between southern points of Luzon and Yank occupied SAMAR Island. General Macarthur said Capul is the Key to the Straights which is the possible route from U. S. to Manila. Maps brought one of our battle Fleets through these straights during the Leyte Gulf battle in October. American Kivision has met light opposition since their landing. American belongs to the tenth corps of the U. S. eighth Army. Note; this is not a part of the eighth Army in Italy that is British.
On Luzon the eleventh Airborne division advanced along the west coast to Laguna De Kay through laban to Muntinlupa. The enemy tried evacuating their troops by barge from the surrounded garrison of about fove hundred at Mabato Point but did not succeed. Destroyed or captured Japanese material and supplies on Luzon includes seven hundred and twelve artillery pieces and seven hundred five machine guns in the U. S. fourteenth Corps alone. In south Manila Yanks continued a steady destruction of the enemy positions in and around the walled city.
In China Chinese troops engaged two Japanese columns driving west and northwest from Paoching. The Fourteenth Air Force supported the ground action without meeting Jap Air opposition but lost four Yank planes.
In Burma the Chinese captured Bawdwin silver mines thirty miles north west of Lashio. These are some of the richest mines in the world and the Japs used them in the manufacture of war materials.
Mexico City: -
U. S. Secretary of State Stettunus urged five basic objectives before the inter American Conference. One: the earliest possible defeat of the aggressors. Two: take any steps that are necessary to insure that neither Germany or Japan will ever again have military or industrial capacity to make war. Three: participation and guaranteeing liberated European Peopels its own Government and Soverign rights. Four: creation by the wars end of an International Organization to have World Peace by force if necessary. Five: development of the Atlantic Charter League which gives all men freedom from fear.
Aboard A U.S. Flagship off Japan: -
United Press Correspondent E. C. Valens in a delayed dispatch from aboard Vice Admiral Marc Mitschers Flagship off Japan reports that American Carrier Planes in a daring surprise attack against the Tokyo area completely disrupted production at three major aircraft plants and inflicted other heavy damage with surprisingly light losses. Valens said our Fighters destroyed a dozen Japanese planes for every American Aircraft lost. Dive bombers blasted Naki Jamata and Naki Jigamusachinos engine plants on the outskirts of Tokyo and the Ota fuselage plant forty miles to the northwest.
More than one thousand carrier planes participated in this action against Japans Major Home Island. Mitscher sent Pilots over Tokyo with the promise of quote The greatest Air Victory of the war for carrier aviators if everyone abides to the fundamental rules of air combat taught you since the beginning of the war unquote. The Ota frame plant was at least temporarily knocked out. Some Japanese anti aircraft guns were not even manned and many planes caught on the ground apparently without fuel since they failed to explode when strafed repeatedly. In the only clear weather of the day one group met one hundred interceptors and shot down fifty of them.
The American Third Army units today forced a crossing of the Saar River south of Saraburg after trailing that fortified road center and advancing to within five and one half miles of Trier keystone of the whole German defense system in the middle of the Rhine. The American Army to the south within two miles of vital-Saarbruecken and the Saarland Capital. Twenty four more towns fell to the advancing Third Army bringing the total for the two day old drive to sixty four. Opposition was not heavy and the triangle formed by Moselle and the Saar River Major enemy defense stronghold nearly was cleared. The Allies crossed the Saar River in assault boats as the Third Army forces took one thousand nine hundred twenty five prisoners yesterday. Lieutenant General George S. Patton's armored and foot Soldiers have pushed about twenty five miles into Germany at the northern tip of the Reich where the industrial district now more important than ever to the German war machine since the loss of Silesia to Russia and retreat to the Ruhr is imminent.
Patton's troops are already within sight of the main defenses works covering the Ruhr a city of eighty eight thousand. The Canadian First Army in the north pointed to within two thousand yards of well defended Calcar in its drive toward the Ruhr River. The Associated Press reported that despite spectacular gains of the third Arny and the gains of the British-Canadian advances in the northwest General Eisenhower has not yet loosed his full scale offensive. In near perfect weather against the Germans Allied planes hit several German rail targets today in the greatest aerial assault ever delivered.
Spearheading this blitz was an entirely new idea which Allied Air Chiefs mapped and held in readiness for a break in the western area. There were over fourteen hindred flying Fortresses and liberators and eight hundred fighter planes from the U. S. Eighth Air Force. Two divisions of this gigantic fleet poured into Germany from the north and a third streamed in from the southern sector where they broke up into wolf packs of up to one hindred each to hammer at least twenty four freight trains and other rail targets in the heart of the Reich during the raid. American heavy bombers and eight hundred fighters attacked the middle Reich triangle from Hanover east and west to Berlin and from Nurnberg to Luedeck Bay.
The freight train raid hit miles of rail lines and several locomotives and rail cars were disabled. Overnight the British bombed Berlin and heavily assaulted rail bottlenecks of Duisburg which furnished reinforcements and arms to the Western front. With the Wolves still going out hour after hour it was impossible to calculate the full devastation, However it was clear that they were spreading havoc beyond anything they loosed for the month on the Reich.
Continued air attacks on rail targets last night by the Allies estimated by the Associated Press to have put closely to fifteen thousand planes in the air over Germany in the past two days.
Secretary of War Stimson said today that German war prisoners taken by the Allied forces in the west including North Africa Sicily Italy and the drive through France now totals one million one hundred thirty four thousand. Stimson also said that there is still no evidence of a mass surrender of the Germans despite the staggering figures and he explained that whenever prisoners are taken it is by siege and fight of Allied power. Stimson said in the Philippine campaign enemy casualties on Luzon now totaled ninety two thousand against twenty five thousand nine hundred twenty nine American casualties.
The Army and Navy departments reported today since Pearl Harbor casualties reached to a total of 801,162. Army casualties were set at 711,497 according to individual names compiled in Washington through February 14th. The reported its losses as 89,665.
PASS IT ON !!! PASS IT ON !!!