Chapter 2
D-Day in the Marshalls1

The final version of the FLINTLOCK plan called for three distinct operations, each of which required several amphibious landings. The capture of Majuro Atoll, correctly judged to be the simplest of the three, was entrusted to the VAC Reconnaissance Company and 2/106. Each of the others was believed to require an entire division.

In the northern part of Kwajalein Atoll, the 4th Marine Division had the mission of seizing on 31 January IVAN (Mellu), JACOB (Ennuebing), ALBERT (Ennumennet), ALLEN (Ennubir), and ABRAHAM (Ennugarret). On the following day, D plus 1, this division was scheduled to storm Roi-Namur. In the southern sector, the 7th Infantry Division was to attack CARTER (Gea), CECIL (Ninni), CARLSON (Ennubuj), and CARLOS (Ennylabegan) on D-Day, then assault the beaches of Kwajalein Island on 1 February. Once these principal objectives were secured, the assault divisions were to overcome enemy resistance throughout the remainder of the atoll. (See Map 8.)


An irregularly shaped collection of islands and partially submerged reefs, Majuro lies approximately 265 nautical miles southeast of Kwajalein Atoll. Majuro lagoon, 24 miles long by 5 miles wide, was a tempting prize, and Dalap Island, at the easternmost point of the atoll, seemed suitable for an airfield. Other large islands thought useful for military installations were Majuro, to the south, as well as Uliga and Darrit, just north of Dalap. Calalin and Eroj, midway along the northern rim of the atoll, were important, for they guarded the two entrances to the lagoon. (See Map 7.)

In planning the operation, Hill faced the problem of employing deep draft ships in an area for which he had only a small segment of a hydrographic chart. He ordered high angle vertical


aerial photographs made of the lagoon for use by a Coast and Geodetic Survey team attached to his staff and with its help prepared a detailed chart. With this as a navigation guide, he was able to move into the lagoon, once the operation was underway, without difficulty.3

To overwhelm what was known to be a small garrison, Admiral Hill could employ 2/106, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Frederick B. Sheldon, USA, and carried in the task group command ship, Cambria . This battalion had been reinforced by the VAC Reconnaissance Company led by Captain James L. Jones. To transport, protect, and defend his landing force, Hill had a heavy cruiser, four destroyers, two escort carriers, two destroyer transports, three minesweepers, and an LST.

One of the transports, the converted destroyer (APD) USS Kane left the convoy on 30 January to steam directly to the objective. That night, the ship reached the twin entrances to Majuro lagoon and by 2300 had landed a small detachment from the reconnaissance company. This group found both Eroj and Calalin to be unoccupied. A native told the Marines that 300-400 Japanese were located on Darrit, and this information was relayed to Admiral Hill at 0608. Other inhabitants of Calalin, however, had noted the withdrawal of the enemy troops. They reported that a lone warrant officer and a few civilians were the only Japanese in the atoll.

The Kane next landed the remainder of Jones' company on Dalap. Patrols fanned out over the island but discovered no Japanese. At Uliga, an English-speaking native confirmed the earlier reports that the enemy garrison had been evacuated.

At this time, the reconnaissance company lost radio contact with the task force. Unaware that the enemy had abandoned Darrit, Admiral Hill ordered the USS Portland to shell the island at 0634. Within 20 minutes, contact was regained, the bombardment was stopped, and a scheduled air strike was cancelled. The troops then occupied Darrit, raising the American flag for the first time over prewar Japanese territory at 0955.4

On the night of 31 January, a platoon from Jones' company landed on Majuro Island and captured the naval warrant officer who was responsible for Japanese property left behind on the atoll. The civilians who assisted him in caring for the equipment escaped into the jungle. Thus ended the only action at Majuro Atoll.

About midnight on 1 February, a detachment of VAC Reconnaissance Company, investigating reports of a downed American plane, landed from the Kane on Arno Atoll, about 10 miles east of Majuro. The Marines found no Japanese, and natives told them that the plane crew had been removed to Maloelap. Reembarking their APD, the men returned to Majuro on the 2d.


During darkness on the morning of 31 January, ships of the Northern Attack Force steamed into position in the


vicinity of Roi-Namur. The schedule for D-Day called first for the capture of IVAN and JACOB, two islands southwest of Roi-Namur, between which lay a deep-water passage into Kwajalein lagoon. Elements of Lieutenant Colonel Clarence J. O'Donnell's 1/25 were to land at 0900 on both objectives. For the day's action, the battalion had been reinforced with Company D, 4th Tank Battalion, the division's scout company. (See Map 8.)

Because they commanded the lagoon entrance, both IVAN and JACOB had to be attacked from the seaward side. Company B of O'Donnell's battalion was to assault Beach Blue 1 on JACOB, while Company C and the attached scout company struck Blue 2 on neighboring IVAN. Once these landings had been made, the ships supporting the IVAN force, led by minesweepers, could enter the lagoon to carry out the remaining parts of the D-Day plan. In the meantime, artillery batteries from the 14th Marines would begin arriving on the Blue Beaches to move into positions from which to assist the next day's operation.

Unlike the men who were to make the main landings, the Marines of General Underhill's IVAN group had to transfer at sea from LCVPs to LVTs. O'Donnell's troops entered the landing craft at 0530 and began their journey to the transfer area where they would meet the LVTs of Company B, 10th Amphibian Tractor Battalion. The wind was brisk and the sea rough as the LCVPs plowed toward their rendezvous. By the time the boats reached the tractors, many of the assault troops were soaked by the spray.

The preparatory bombardment of northern Kwajalein Atoll got underway at 0651. In addition to shelling IVAN and JACOB, supporting warships pounded Roi-Namur and stood ready to blast ABRAHAM if necessary. Naval gunfire was lifted at 0715 to permit an 8-minute strike by carrier planes and then resumed.

During the battering of the northern islands, the remainder of Colonel Samuel C. Cumming's 25th Marines was preparing for action later in the day. Both 2/25, under Lieutenant Colonel Lewis C. Hudson, and 3/25, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Justice M. Chambers, were scheduled to load into LCVPs. Hudson's battalion was to transfer to the LVTs of Company C, 10th Amphibian Tractor Battalion, and seize ALLEN. Tractors released by the IVAN and JACOB forces were to land Chambers' men on ALBERT. After overrunning ALBERT, 3/25 was to prepare to attack on order across the shallow strait separating that island from ABRAHAM.

At 0800, while 1/25 was forming to assault IVAN and JACOB, Admiral Conolly confirmed 0900 as H-Hour. He selected 1130 as A-Hour, the time of the landings on ALBERT and ALLEN, and designated 1600 as B-Hour, when Chambers' battalion would storm ABRAHAM. Adhering to this timetable, the supporting warships ceased firing at 0825 to permit a second aerial attack. At this point, the effects of choppy seas and makeshift rehearsals made themselves felt, and it soon became obvious to Admiral Conolly that the assault waves could not meet his deadline.

The postponement of H-Hour was


partially the fault of the elements. Swells, aided by a 14-knot wind, complicated the transfer of troops, cut the speed of the LVTs almost in half, and raised spray that drowned the radios carried by the tractors. Yet many of the misfortunes that hounded Company B, 10th Amphibian Tractor Battalion, could be traced to the improvised rehearsals that had been held off the California coast.

"A rehearsal with complete plans and orders," the company commander later suggested, "would be of much value prior to D-Day landing."5 Unfortunately the tractor battalion had received the revised plans long after its final exercise.

For these reasons, the transfer area soon became the site of an amphibious traffic jam. Tractors were slow in leaving the LSTs, landing craft had difficulty in finding the proper amphibians, and rumored changes of plan could not be verified because of the drenched radios.6 Order, however, eventually prevailed, and the troop-laden LVTs were directed into formation.

Conolly, alerted by a destroyer astride the line of departure that the troop carriers were late, at 0903 issued orders delaying H-Hour until 0930. Within a few minutes of this change, the LCI gunboats and LVT(A)s that were to spearhead the assault crossed the line of departure. Now the aerial observers and air coordinator undertook the task of timing the final strikes according to the progress of the approaching tractors.

"Will hold up attack until boats are in proper position," radioed the air coordinator at 0854 after he had noted that the approaching landing craft were 5,000-6,000 yards from IVAN and JACOB.7 At 0917, when the LVT(A)s and LCI gunboats were about 3,000 yards from shore, the coordinator ordered the waiting planes to begin their attack. The bombing attacks pinned down the defenders of both objectives until the LCIs were in position to launch their rockets. No strikes were made against the beaches while the rocket bombardment was being delivered, but when the LCIs had accomplished this task, the coordinator directed fighter planes to strafe the islands. Air observers kept close watch over the approaching troops and carefully reported the distance that remained to be covered. Since the force bound for JACOB made better speed, the final strafing of that island was halted shortly after 0940, while the final strike against IVAN continued past 1000.

As the bombing attacks were beginning, a 127mm battery on Roi rashly opened fire on warships supporting the preliminary landings. A cruiser silenced the enemy position but did not destroy the twin-mounted guns. For the time being, though, this threat was removed.


105 MM AMMUNITION is unloaded from landing craft at Mellu Island for the bombardment of Roi-Namur.(USA SC324729)

24TH MARINES assault troops on the beach at Namur await the word to move inland. (USMC 70450)


"Good luck to the first Marines to land on Japanese soil," radioed Colonel Cumming to the elements of his regiment that were approaching JACOB and IVAN.8 The gunboats halted, the armored LVTs passed through the line of LCIs to take up positions just off the beach at JACOB, and at 0952 the tractors carrying Company B, 1/25, rumbled onto the island. Off neighboring IVAN, Company C and the attached scouts were encountering serious difficulties.

A rugged segment of reef, brisk winds, and adverse seas had slowed to a crawl the speed of the LVTs carrying Company C. Continuous strafing attacks prevented the defenders of IVAN from taking advantage of the delay, but the persistent battery on Roi resumed firing until silenced a second time. Finally, Colonel Cumming was able to hasten the landing by diverting the tractors carrying the scout company around the island and onto its lagoon beaches.9

While Company C was struggling in vain to reach the ocean shore, the scouts at 0955 landed on southeastern beaches of IVAN and set up a skirmish line facing toward the north. A few minutes later, a regimental staff officer reached Company C and directed it to land in the wake of the scout company. At 1015, the tardy company landed to support the scouts.10

The fighting on JACOB and IVAN was brief and not especially violent. JACOB was overrun within a quarter of an hour. After the mop up that followed, a total of 17 enemy dead, 8 of them apparent suicides, were found on the island. Two prisoners were taken. IVAN yielded 13 dead and 3 prisoners.11

As soon as the two islands were secured, LVTs from Company A, 10th Amphibian Tractor Battalion began landing elements of the 14th Marines. The 75mm howitzers of 3/14 were carried to JACOB in the tractors and a few LCVPs. Equipped with 105mm howitzers, weapons too bulky to be carried by LVTs, 4/14 landed from LCMs on IVAN. IVAN was selected for the command post of the Colonel Louis G. DeHaven's artillery regiment, but sites on JACOB were chosen by the commanding officers of both the 25th Marines and 1/25.


Once 1/25 had seized IVAN and JACOB, the scene of action shifted across the lagoon to ALLEN, ALBERT, and ABRAHAM, three islands that ascend the northeastern rim of the atoll toward Roi-Namur. This trio of islands was needed to serve as artillery positions and to secure the flank of the boat waves that would assault the main objective. General Underhill's IVAN Landing Group, the conqueror of IVAN and JACOB, had also been assigned to make these later landings. When landing on ALLEN and ALBERT, the assault forces were to strike from the lagoon, but 3/25 was to approach


ABRAHAM by moving parallel to and just inside the reef.

A-Hour, the time of the landings on ALLEN and ALBERT, had been tentatively set by Admiral Conolly for 1130. The manner of execution was similar to that used during the earlier D-Day landings. One destroyer was assigned to support each of the two assault battalions, while rockets from LCIs, automatic weapons from LVT(A)s, and the strafing by aircraft insured the neutralization of the beaches.

The Marines of 2/25, chosen as reserve for the IVAN-JACOB phase of the operation, had loaded into LCVPs at 0530 and within two hours had completed their transfer to LVTs. They spent the remainder of the morning being rocked ceaselessly by the pitching waves. More fortunate were Chambers' men, for they did not begin loading in LCVPs until after dawn, Almost two hours were lost when the transport carrying the battalion was twice forced to get underway in order to maintain station in the buffeting seas. During the morning, the landing craft carrying 3/25 plowed through the swells to the vicinity of the transfer area where they were to meet tractors returning from the IVAN and JACOB landings.

Once they had embarked in the landing craft, the men of 3/25 were as roughly treated by the sea as their fellow Marines of Hudson's battalion. "The sea was not too calm," reads the report of 3/25, "and as a result, many of the Marines found themselves wishing the boats would head for the beach instead of circling in the transport area."12 The men did not get their wish, but at midday the LCVPs moved the short distance to the transfer area. Here the unit encountered still other misadventures.

In spite of the morning's delays, Admiral Conolly believed that 1430, three hours later than his earlier estimate, was an attainable A-Hour. The passes into the lagoon and the boat lanes were cleared by minesweepers, and supporting ships continued the bombardment of ALLEN, ALBERT, and Roi-Namur. Namur in particular rocked under the hammering of naval guns, but Roi was not slighted. Admiral Conolly signaled to the warships blasting Roi: "Desire Maryland move in really close this afternoon for counterbattery and counter blockhouse fire. . . ."13 This message earned the admiral his nickname of "Close-in" Conolly.

As the minesweepers were clearing JACOB Pass, they had discovered that it was too shallow to permit the entry of the destroyer Phelps, the control vessel for all the D-Day landings. As a result, the ship was routed through IVAN Pass, for it was thought necessary to have the Phelps inside the lagoon in time to protect the ships sweeping mines from the boat lanes leading to the objectives. The LCC 33, a specially equipped shallow-draft vessel, had been selected to shepherd the assault craft in the absence of the destroyer, but the alternate control craft failed to learn of the change in plans. As a result, responsibility for control temporarily passed to SC 997,


the submarine chaser in which General Underhill and his staff had embarked.

Although the general had neither copies of the control plan nor adequate radio channels to coordinate the movement of the waves, he attempted to restore order. First, the SC 997 rounded up the tractors carrying 2/25, which had mistakenly attempted to follow the Phelps. These strays, as well as some LVTs carrying 3/25 that had wandered from their proper station, were herded back to the transfer area.

The naval officers assigned to guide the various waves cooperated to the best of their ability in reorganizing the assault force, and Admiral Conolly soon steamed onto the scene to supervise. "This was to prove," the admiral commented, "the only case in my experience before or later where I had any difficulty controlling the craft making the landing."14

While the waves were being reformed in the transfer area, a few additional LVTs arrived, and these were used to carry Marines of 3/25. There were, however, enough tractors for less than half of Chambers' battalion.15 By now, JACOB Pass was known to be free of mines, so, rather than wait for additional LVTs, General Underhill ordered both battalions to follow the submarine chaser through the passage toward the line of departure.

The Phelps, which had finished her support mission, was now nearing the line of departure within the lagoon where she would again take over as control vessel. Observers in the destroyer viewed the progress of the approaching tractors and reported to Admiral Conolly that A-Hour could not be met.16 He then postponed the time of the landings to 1500.

The delay imposed a strain on the system of aerial control, for the planes assigned to attack just prior to the landings could not be held on station for the additional 30 minutes. Such a decision would have disrupted the schedule worked out for the carriers and possibly have prevented later flights from arriving on time. To insure complete coverage throughout the day, the Commander Support Aircraft directed the planes then on station to attack targets of opportunity. The relieving flight of bombers was employed to support the landings, but it seemed that no fighters would be on hand to deliver the final strafing. The combat air patrol on station over the northern part of the atoll lacked enough fuel for the attack. Fortunately, another group of fighters arrived as the landings were about to begin. Since these relief pilots were familiar with the air support plan and the radar screen was free of hostile aircraft, they were able to sweep low over the islands and keep the enemy pinned down during the crucial moments just prior to the assault.

At 1432, the assault waves began


crossing the line of departure along which the Phelps had taken station. The LCI(G)s led the way, followed by armored amphibians and finally by the troop-carrying LVTs. The gunboats discharged their rockets, raked the beaches with cannon fire, and got clear of the boat lanes. Company D, 1st Armored Amphibian Battalion, plunged past the LCIs to maintain the neutralization of the islands with fire from cannon and machine guns. The supporting destroyers ceased their shelling to permit planes to execute the revised schedule of aerial strikes, and at 1510 3/25 reached ALBERT. The Marines of 2/25 landed on ALLEN just five minutes later.

Both objectives were quickly taken. Chambers' 3d Battalion secured ALBERT by 1542, killing 10 Japanese in the process at a cost of 1 Marine killed and 7 wounded. Hudson's men, their progress impeded by the dense undergrowth in the northern part of ALLEN, needed help from a platoon of tanks to wipe out the Japanese platoon defending the island. By 1628, ALLEN too had been captured.

When it became apparent that Company G, Hudson's reserve, would not be needed at ALLEN, that unit was dispatched to ANDREW (Obella). The unit landed at 1545 and found the island unoccupied. Although opposition had so far been light, the operation had moved slowly. Before darkness, ABRAHAM had to be seized and additional artillery landed.

After a prolonged stay in the rough seas of the lagoon, 1/14 and 2/14 with 75mm pack howitzers came ashore on ALBERT and ALLEN in time to move into firing positions just before dark. Registration, however, was postponed until the morning of D-Day. Although the weapons were emplaced promptly, Colonel William W. Rogers, division chief of staff, was not entirely pleased with the conduct of this phase of the operation. He felt that not enough ammunition was on hand at ALBERT and ALLEN. Forced to buck heavy seas all the way from the transport area to the islands, many of the LVTs that were loaded with ammunition had run out of gas short of their destination. Tractors, however, labored throughout the night to ferry an adequate number of artillery rounds to ALBERT and ALLEN.17

While the howitzer battalions were preparing to land, Chambers was readying 3/25 for the seizure of ABRAHAM, the last of the day's objectives. Although this island was not to be a site for howitzer batteries, its capture was important, for Japanese guns emplaced there could fire into the flanks of the assault waves bound for Roi-Namur.18 Chambers, however, had a difficult time mounting the attack.

The battalion commander suddenly found himself desperately short of assault craft. Because the amphibian tractor unit had received no orders concerning the ABRAHAM landing, its vehicles withdrew to refuel immediately after ALBERT had fallen.19 The only tractors that remained behind were the two that carried Chambers and his headquarters.


Admiral Conolly had directed that the attack upon ABRAHAM be launched at 1600 or as soon thereafter as practicable. B-Hour had already passed when Colonel Cumming landed on ALBERT to confer with the battalion commander on the quickest method of completing the D-Day operations. Chambers decided to attack at 1800 if landing craft were available by then. Three self-propelled 75mm guns from the Regimental Weapons Company, the battalion's attached 37mm guns, and its organic mortars were to support the landing.

Prior to the advance against ABRAHAM, 3/25 occupied ALBERT JUNIOR, a tiny island 200 yards north of ALBERT. Although no Japanese were posted on ALBERT JUNIOR, the ABRAHAM garrison opened fire on the occupation force. Machine guns were then mounted on the island to support the scheduled landing.

A patrol waded toward ABRAHAM and returned with information concerning the route over which Chambers would attack. In the meantime, the battalion commander had gained the services of two additional tractors that wandered near the ALBERT beaches. He decided to load 120 of his Marines into the four amphibians, dispatch them in a single wave to seize a small beachhead, and then use the same vehicles to shuttle the remainder of his troops across the shallow strait.

The assault began on schedule. A smoke screen laid by the battalion 81mm mortars concealed the approaching LVTs, and the enemy chose not to defend the southern beaches. By 1830 two companies had reached the island and carved out a beachhead 250 yards deep. In 45 minutes, the island was under American control, but mopping up continued into the night. Six Japanese were killed on ABRAHAM; one Marine was wounded during a misdirected strafing attack by a friendly plane.20

Since this last objective was a scant 400 yards from the southeast shoreline of Namur, it could provide a base of fire for the next morning's attack. During the night, as many weapons as possible were rushed into position. By morning, 5 self-propelled 75mm guns, 17 37mm antitank guns, 4 81mm mortars, 9 60mm mortars, and 61 machine guns stood ready to assist planes, ships, and field pieces in their deadly work.

General Underhill's IVAN Landing Group had executed all its D-Day assignments, but the operation had not been without its flaws. Writing some years after FLINTLOCK, an officer of the 10th Amphibian Tractor Battalion attempted to analyze the work of his battalion in northern Kwajalein. During World War II, he served at Guadalcanal and Saipan as well as in the Marshalls and as a result felt "somewhat qualified to appreciate confusion." He maintained that the period from the organization of his unit through the securing of Roi-Namur was the most exhausting both physically and mentally of any operation in which he took part.21

The numerous landings scheduled for


D-Day placed a grave burden on the LVTs, their crews, and the officers who were to control their employment. The control system, moreover, depended upon reliable communications, and the radios carried in the tractors were vulnerable to water damage. In a heavy sea, such damage was unavoidable.

In commenting on the employment of LVTs on 31 January, the 4th Division chief of staff observed that problems were anticipated and tentative plans were made to insure the success of the operation. He wrote:

The Commanding General and Staff of the Northern Landing Force were well aware that things might not go as planned on D-Day. In fact the 4th Amphibian Tractor Battalion was withheld entirely on D-Day in spite of urgent requests from subordinate units, in order that we would be sure to be able to land the 23d Marines on Roi on D+1, either from the outside or from the inside of the lagoon. In other words, it was considered that the mission could have been accomplished by the capture of IVAN and JACOB and the subsequent landing on Roi by the 23d Marines utilizing the 4th Amphibian Tractor Battalion, even if the landings on the east side of the lagoon had not been possible on D-Day. This would have involved the subsequent capture of Namur by assault from Roi, with or without a landing from the lagoon, Possession of the Eastern Islands naturally made the entire operation easier.22

In the words of Admiral Conolly, the plan for D-Day, "under the sea conditions prevailing, was . . . too complicated and beyond the state of training and discipline of the LVT units to execute smoothly, especially when the unexpected complications were imposed. However, the plans were made to work and that is the final test of a command and its organization."23 In spite of the unfavorable seas, the difficult reefs, and the lapse in control that occurred while the Phelps entered the lagoon, the Marines had taken all their objectives. More reliable radios, closer cooperation between LSTs and LVTs, and a tighter rein by control officers would have resulted in a less hectic operation, but these facts were of no consolation to the Japanese killed on the outlying islands.


On D-Day, while the Marines were seizing the islands near Roi-Namur, General Corlett's Army troops were to make a similar series of landings in the immediate vicinity of Kwajalein Island. The 7th Reconnaissance Troop, reinforced by part of the garrison force, men from Company B, 111th Infantry, was scheduled to occupy CECIL (Ninni) and CARTER (Gea), two small islands believed to be undefended. When this task was done, the troop might be called upon to reconnoiter CHAUNCEY (Gehh) not far from CECIL. CARLSON (Enubuj), which was thought to be defended by a force of 250-300, and less formidable CARLOS (Ennylabegan) were the objectives of the 17th Infantry. (See Map 8.)


Although artillery was to be emplaced on CARLSON only, all of these islands figured in General Corlett's plans. CECIL and CARTER were important because they bounded a passage into the lagoon, while a wider deep-water channel lay between CARLOS and CARLSON. In addition, CARLOS was considered a suitable site for the 7th Infantry Division supply dumps.

The invasion of southern Kwajalein, like the operation in the north, was not without its moments of frustration. Attempting to land from rubber boats on a moonless night, that portion of the reconnaissance troop destined for CARTER started off toward neighboring CECIL. The error was detected, the men landed on the correct island, and after a brief fire fight they secured the objective.

While the APD USS Manley was launching the boats bound for CARTER, her sister ship USS Overton was attempting to locate CECIL. "Intelligence received gave a good picture of both Gea and Ninni Islands," reported the skipper of the Overton, "but little of Gehh, the contour of which was, in a way, similar to Ninni."25 In the darkness, the attackers mistook CHAUNCEY (Gehh) for CECIL (Ninni) and landed there instead. A brief skirmish followed, but before the island had been secured General Corlett learned of the error and ordered the reconnaissance troop to move to the proper island.

Leaving a small force to contain the Japanese on CHAUNCEY, the soldiers re-embarked and occupied CECIL shortly after noon. The group left behind soon encountered a larger number of the enemy and had to be withdrawn. Taking CHAUNCEY was postponed until an adequate force was available.

Off the two objectives assigned to the 17th Infantry, the assault waves began forming in the morning darkness. Poor visibility resulted in confusion, and the attack had to be postponed from 0830 to 0910. At CARLOS, 1/17 landed without opposition and rapidly overran the mile-long island. The few defenders, who lacked prepared positions from which to fight, were either killed or captured. The Americans suffered no casualties.

The CARLSON landing force, 2/17, expected to meet skillfully organized resistance. The LVTs carrying the assault waves reached the island at 0912, and the soldiers promptly began moving inland. Contrary to intelligence estimates, not a single Japanese was found on the island, although 24 Korean laborers were taken prisoner. The most serious opposition came from artillery on Kwajalein Island, but these pieces were silenced by naval gunfire before they could do the attackers any harm.

Army artillery, four battalions of 105mm howitzers and a battalion of 155mm howitzers, promptly landed on CARLSON, moved into position, and began registering. Some of the lighter pieces fired for effect during the night, but not all of the 155mm howitzers were emplaced when darkness fell. Meanwhile, a medical collecting station and LVT maintenance shop were being set up on CARLOS.

In spite of the numerous delays, the D-Day landings in both the north and


south had been successful. Roi-Namur and Kwajalein Islands had been isolated, battered, and brought within range of field artillery. The enemy garrisons were given no rest during the night, for warships continued shelling the objectives. Although the Army 105s joined in the shelling of Kwajalein Island, the Marine howitzers, scheduled to register at dawn on Roi-Namur, were temporarily silent. Under cover of darkness, Underwater Demolition Teams examined the assault beaches at both islands. Neither mines nor other artificial obstacles were found. The way was clear for the next day's operations.26


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (III-1) * Next Chapter (III-3)


[1] Unless otherwise noted, the material in this chapter is derived from: TF 51 Rpt of FLINTLOCK and CATCHPOLE Ops, dtd 25Feb44, hereafter TF 51 AR; TF 53 AR Roi-Namur; 4th MarDiv AR (which includes rpts of IVAN LdgGru, 23d, 24th, 25th, 14th, and 20th Mar) ; 4th MarDiv Jnl, 13Jan-2Feb44, hereafter 4th MarDiv Jnl; 10th AmTracBn Rpt on FLINTLOCK, dtd 12Apr44, hereafter 10th AmTracBn Rpt; 1/25 Rpt of Activities, D-Day and D plus 1, dtd 16Feb44; 2/25 Rpt of Activities, dtd 20Feb44; 3/25 Hist, 11Jan44-3Mar44, n.d.; DesRon 1 AR, dtd 9Feb44; CominCh, Marshall Islands; Crowl and Love, Gilberts and Marshalls; Morison, Aleutians, Gilberts, and Marshalls; Heinl and Crown, The Marshalls.

[2] Additional sources for this section include: TG 51.2 Majuro AR, dtd 15Feb44; VAC ReconCo WarD, Majuro, dtd 16Mar44, Encl I to VAC AR FLINTLOCK.

[3] Hill comments/interview Marshalls.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Rpt of CO, Co B, 10th AmTracBn, dtd 17Mar44, Encl A to 10th AmTracBn Rpt.

[6] The transport division commander noted that the "short delay in How hour was the result of inability of certain LCVPs loaded with troops to locate the LVTs into which they were to transfer. Indications are that all LSTs were not in designated areas and that some LVTs wandered away from the launching LST." ComTransDiv 26 AR, ser no. 0013, dtd 18Feb44 (OAB, NHD).

[7] 4th MarDiv Jnl, msg dtd 0854, 31Jan44.

[8] 4th MarDiv Jnl, msg dtd 0920, 31Jan44. Actually, the VAC Reconnaissance Company had already begun the conquest of Majuro.

[9] MajGen Samuel C. Cumming interview with HistBr, G-3, HQMC, dtd 24 Nov52.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.; LtCol Arthur E. Buck, Jr., ltr to CMC, dtd 21Jan53; LtCol Michael J. Davidowitch ltr to CMC, dtd 26 Nov52.

[12] 3/25 Hist, op. cit., p. 4.

[13] 4th MarDiv Jnl, msg dtd 1210, 31Jan44. At one point on the afternoon of 31 January, the Maryland moved to within 1,000 yards of Roi.

[14] VAdm Richard L. Conolly ltr to CMC, dtd 26 Nov52.

[15] Rpt of CG, IVAN LdgGru, dtd 29 Feb44, Encl C to 4th MarDiv AR, p. 4, states that 1½ waves were in LVTs, but 3/25 History, op. cit., p. 4, says three or four.

[16] Admiral Conolly reported that the slow progress of the tractors was "due to the low speed of the LVTs proceeding against the wind and the inexperienced LVT drivers permitting their vehicles to drift down wind while waiting for waves to form up." TF 53 AR Roi-Namur, p. 5.

[17] MajGen William W. Rogers ltr to Dir DivPubInfo, HQMC, dtd 3Feb48.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Croizat ltr.

[20] This account of the ABRAHAM landing is based on an interview with Colonel Justice M. Chambers, dtd 6May48, cited in Heinl and Crown, The Marshalls, pp. 50-52. No transcript of the interview is available.

[21] Croizat ltr.

[22] BGen William W. Rogers ltr to CMC, dtd 1Dec52.

[23] Conolly ltr, op.cit.

[24] A detailed account of Army operations on D-Day may be found in Crowl and Love, The Marshalls and Gilberts, pp. 219-229.

[25] USS Overton AR, dtd 8Feb44, p. 4.

[26] Com V PhibFor msg to CinCPac, ser no. 00334, dtd 13Mar44 (AR File, OAB, NHD).

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