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What's up this morning...

First off, the academic submariner asks you to help make it possible for people to stop the Mohammed Atta's of the world.

CDR Salamander wants to free up some soldiers for soldiers work, by replacing them in riverine operations with... sailors. Wotta concept. Calling John Kerry...

Castle Denizen Dbie wants to know what kind of dogs she hangs with. Via Matt at Blackfive she sends us here> C.A.T.S. Towards the bottom of the sidebar is a link to "What Kind of Dog are you?"

If the Armorer chooses his Inner Armorer (military) he is a German Shepherd. If he chooses his current work... Qualified Professional, he morphs to a Dogo Argentino... a rough looking customer.

The Armorer wishes his readers to test and report back. Besides, if you don't, Dbie will be peeved, and no one wants a Peeved Dbie! (And that's not a typo, Dbie is, well, Dbie.)

And finally - a "Rest of the Story" - this one a reminder the Coast Guard is an Armed Service... and they, too, were at Iwo Jima. Via Larry K.

THE COAST GUARD AT IWO JIMA

by Dr. Robert M. Browning, Jr.

The raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima in February 1945, marked the culmination of two years of hard fighting that had progressed 3,500 miles across the Pacific. With this island in Allied hands, they now stood poised to strike directly at Japan. The Coast Guard had played an integral part in each of the invasions during the Pacific campaign and advanced with the other services every step of the way.

Almost exactly midway between Saipan and Tokyo lay the island of Iwo Jima. Although the largest island in the Bonin Island group, this pork-chop shaped island was only four and a half miles long and two and a half wide at its widest point. The highest point is Mount Suribachi, rising a commanding 550 feet above sea level on the southern end of the island. Allied planners believed the capture of this volcanic island would ease later operations because the island could be used as an emergency air base for heavy bombers attacking Tokyo and other important industrial cities in Japan. Furthermore fighters based on the island could supply cover for bombers from Iwo Jima to the targets and back.

The Japanese realized the importance of the island and began fortifying their defenses of Iwo Jima in March 1944. Due to its size the Japanese knew that the entire island could be easily bombarded from sea. In designing the defenses they took this into consideration. These defenses took advantage of the rough terrain and included a network of concealed emplacements for artillery, mortars, and machine guns. The Japanese connected many of these positions with an intricate system of underground tunnels, excavated rooms, blockhouses and caves, all designed to make the capture of the island costly.

Nine hundred vessels sailed in the numerous task groups in support of the Allied invasion. These ships carried an expeditionary force of over 70,000 Marines, nearly 4,000 men in the naval landing force, and over 36,000 garrison troops to attack the 21,000 Japanese defenders. The Allies set 19 February as D-Day. The assault forces arrived off the southeast side of the island to make landings at seven predetermined beaches stretching only 3,500 yards. Included in these vessels were the attack transports Bayfield (APA-33) and the Callaway (APA-35). Eighteen LSTs and the submarine chaser PC-469, all manned by the Coast Guard, also participated in the landings.

The two transport groups arrived off the beaches before daylight and began debarking troops. Control parties established the line of departure 4,000 yards off the beach. LSTs in the tractor groups hove to 1,500 yards farther from the beach. The LSTs and LSMs put LVTs, LVT(A)s and DUWKs into the water while the larger transports lowered LCMs and LCVPs for the later waves of the assault. The scene was described "like all the cats in the world having kittens."

The first five waves, comprising only LVTs, formed at the line of departure off the southeast beaches. The first wave consisted of 68 LVT(A)s. These small craft reached the beach at 0900 under light gunfire and the next four waves followed within twenty-three minutes.

With no reefs surrounding the island the landings had promised little difficulty. The beach looked like a fine gravel dump with brown volcanic ash and black cinders that looked like sand covering the island and the landing beaches. Unfortunately the anticipated good beach conditions did not materialize. The LVTs found their progress blocked by a terrace that rose, in some places, fifteen feet. The cinders and ash also hampered progress because it offered poor traction and the tracked craft could not easily traverse over this surface. To make matters worse, the surf broke directly on the beach, broaching and carrying the small craft sideways. The real trouble began when the wreckage began collecting in the landing areas, blocking and disabling later waves of landing craft.

Within thirty minutes after the landings began, the Japanese increased the bombardment of the beachhead. This artillery and mortar fire further added to the number of craft damaged and out of action. Due to the wreckage, the successive waves of landing craft had difficulty getting to the beach. As they came in wave after wave more damage resulted among the craft.

The Coast Guard coxswains found it necessary to back their craft into the wind and current to keep from going onto the beach. The beachmasters, salvage parties, and beach parties normally kept the beaches clear, but due to the intense Japanese mortar fire, none of these men could remain on the beach. Therefore the coxswains in the landing craft had to take all the initiative to get to the beach and back off. Even the larger LSMs and LSTs that came to the beach later had difficulty and their commanding officers struggled to keep the waves from broaching their ships. Pontoon causeways were also launched but the seaward ends could not be anchored and they broached, sank, ran adrift and added to the wreckage already on the beaches. The wreckage eventually caused the beaches to be closed to everything smaller than a LCT until tugs and other craft cleared the beach for later waves to disembark troops and supplies.

Despite all the confusion, the Coast Guard landed contingents of the 4th and 5th Marine divisions along with their gear, bulldozers, vehicles, rations, small arms, water, and virtually everything that would keep the landing forces moving inland. By the end of D-Day 30,000 troops had landed although the beachhead was only 4,000 yards long and 700 yards deep. The 5th Marines on the left advanced quickly across the narrow part of the island and captured one of the three airfields. Part of this division then swung towards Mount Suribachi while other units fought their way northward.

The Coast Guard ships remained busy off shore. The Bayfield, only 2,000 yards off shore took on board over 250 Marine casualties from small craft as they came from the beaches. The Coast Guard manned LSTs also took the wounded off the beaches and treated them on board. During the operations Coast Guard vessels suffered from the attacks. The LST-792, LST-758, and the LST-760, were all struck by Japanese fire on the beach.

The fighting ashore was tough but the Marines made slow and steady progress. The 5th Marines secured the top of Mt. Suribachi on February 23rd, killing 600 Japanese to reach the summit. There were, however, 1,000 more defenders on the mountain securely entrenched in the numerous caves and tunnels and it took close and bloody fighting to kill them. The 4th Marines landed in the middle of the southeast side of the island and pushed toward the northern end. The 3rd Marines completed landing on the 24th of February. All three divisions advanced abreast to the north part of the island. The 4th drove on the right, the 3rd in the middle, and the 5th on the left. The island was declared secure on March 16th. Nevertheless, the Japanese, in isolated pockets, continued their resistance for months.
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NOW THE "REST OF THE STORY": THE RAISING OF THE FLAG AT IWO JIMA

The most enduring image of the capture of Iwo Jima is the Marines raising the American flag on Mt. Suribachi. Although the story of the flag raising has been told many times, there is a portion of the story that is relatively neglected. This part of the story is the Coast Guard's small contribution to this historic event.

After the initial landings on 19 February, LSTs began landing at the base of Mt. Suribachi to unload supplies for the advancing American troops. One of these ships was the Coast Guard manned LST-758. On 23 February, after several days of intense fighting, a forty-man detachment of the 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division scaled the volcano and after a short firefight, secured the top of the mountain. LT Harold Schrier and his men from the 28th Marine Regiment lashed an American flag to a piece of iron pipe and raised it on Mt. Suribachi at 1020. The flag, however, was too small to be seen for any distance. Later Schrier procured a larger flag, borrowed from the Navy LST-779. This flag, however, was very large and there was no pipe long enough to fly it properly. Schrier then sent a Marine runner down the mountain to find a more appropriate flag. According to Robert Resnick, the quartermaster on duty on board the LST-758, Rene Gagnon from 28th Marine Regiment boarded the LST and requested an American flag. Resnick issued Gannon a number 7 American flag from the ship's bunting box. Before leaving, Gannon was also given a 21-foot-long piece of steamfitter's pipe to serve as the flagpole.

After Gannon struggled to the top of Mt. Suribachi, the marines hoisted this flag and Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal was there to capture the event. This image, as everyone knows, became one of the most famous photographs of the war and will forever symbolize the American victory at Iwo Jima.


17 Comments

An Afghan Hound???? I think that old analogue machine has a blown tube.
 
Well, I came out as something called a Sloughi. A Morrocan desert variant on the Greyhound, it looks like. I really am an capitalist running dog.
 
Bearded Collie!?!? I gotta shave more often... It also says my tail is always wagging- I should watch that. I'm a married girl, you know...LOL!
 
I am an 'Australian Kelpie.' Looks like a cross between a Rottweiler and a German shepherd.
 
Irish Wolfhound. I'll take that! BTW, thanks for the link. STANDBY INSTALANCHE ON MY THIRD NOW: BREAK: NOW, NOW, ...... :)
 
Instalanche? Heh. More like a 300-or-so 'lanche!
 
The ASPCA, PETA, the local SWAT guys and six state troopers with trank rifles are now waiting outside my door. Not to mention that gypsy palm-reader with the Lone Ranger bullets and wolfbane bouquet who keeps rattling the windows... Thanks.A.Bunch.
 
I apparently am a Standard Schnauzer! I was trying for Samoyed or ... or something, but didn't see that one coming!
 
At least that contraption din't peg me as a Bichon Frisť
 
Chesapeake Bay Retriever... Amphibious, friendly, good with kids, occasionally slightly odorous due to waterproofing... Okay, I'll take it, though, as I told Sis, I was hoping for Irish Setter...
 
Oh no- Chessies are one of my favorite dogs. They are so cute and playful. Setters are too high strung. Now I just have to figure out how to get my multiple personalities to mesh- were-kittens and collies don't always play nice together.
 
Saint Bernard. Must have been all the bourbon...
 
>>hzzzz. site name c.a.t.s. say name scout samoyed / black lab / squirrel mix. squirrel is from last week. yum.
 
Yeah, really, Dusty. I wouldn't see a fighter jock that way... well, I take that back. Hawg drivers are alla time coming to the rescue of grunts, so it does fit. Just wish you guys would drink the bourbon *after* hitting the pickle switch.
 
John, We have pretty stringent rules...no smoking 24 hours prior to flight and no drinking within 50 feet of the airplane. Wait...
 
Collie... well, that's cool, I lived with one for a coupla years and they're great dogs. I do hope my breath smells better than Hannah's did, though. But she had (much) better grooming...
 
Dusty- Remind me never to go flying with you........LOL!