Chapter 2

Thunder at Sunrise1

"My aim," Admiral Conolly had remarked, "is to get the troops ashore standing up."2 In the preparation fires at Guam, he had left no shell unused if it would remove some peril to the landings. The same zeal to accomplish maximum results went into the bombardment on the morning of W-Day.

Some improvements upon fire support had been suggested by the experience at Saipan on D-Day. It was felt that the beach preparation there could have been enhanced by continuous deep fires along the high ground 1,500 yards in the rear of and overlooking the beaches, started well before H-Hour and kept up until the assault troops were reorganized ashore and had pushed out toward their objectives. That moment was anticipated to occur at H plus 90, or 1000. Such a procedure appeared especially worth trying at Guam, where the most serious opposition would probably come not from fixed defense guns at the beach--most of them were believed to be out of commission--but from mobile artillery inland which had not fired and had not been located. In addition, simultaneous naval gunfire and air bombardment was going to be attempted to increase overall volume and the shock effect upon the enemy. Finally, a greater use of rocket-equipped gunboats had been planned for Guam. Nine thousand 4.5-inch rockets were scheduled to be fired between 0530 and 1000.

The morning twilight of 21 July, beginning at 0445, erased a tropical sky "bespangled with stars."3 At 0530, a half hour before sunrise, all fire support ships were on their assigned stations, and at 0535 four battleships off Orote Peninsula and Cabras Island opened fire with 12 14-inch guns each. Inside Agat Bay, the old Pennsylvania thundered at the cliff line of the peninsula. Other battleships, cruisers, and destroyers up and down the west coast immediately joined with slow and deliberate fire on the landing beaches, their flanks, and the areas just inland. Admiral Conolly in the Appalachian directed the bombardment of the Asan beaches, while Admiral Reifsnider in the George


Clymer handled the shelling of the Agat beaches.4

By 0615, 12 fighters, 9 bombers, and 5 torpedo planes from the carrier Wasp were on station as a roving combat air patrol, an experiment at Guam. In the first air strike of W-Day, the nine bombers hit at buildings, machine gun nests, and antiaircraft emplacements on Cabras island. The Commander, Support Aircraft, in the Appalachian, planned that such roving patrols be kept on station through most of W-Day, to seek out hidden guns and mortars in defiladed positions inaccessible to naval gunfire.

A spectacular sweep of the 14 miles of coastline from Agana to Bangi Point was executed between 0715 and 0815 by carrier planes flying parallel to the beaches. Assigned to the mission were 85 fighters, 62 bombers, and 53 torpedo planes. An unusual feature was that naval gunfire accompanied the attack. Under what was called Plan Victor, the firing calculations of the ships had to be adjusted so that the trajectory of their projectiles would bring them no higher than 1,200 feet. Pilots pulled out of their runs before reaching as low as 1,500 feet.

Ship to Shore5

To the familiar sounds of the pre-landing preparation,6 Marines moved closer to the island. The 1st Provisional Brigade arrived in the transport area 12,000 yards east of Agat at approximately 0600. The ships carrying the assault troops of the 3d Marine Division stopped about the same time at an equivalent distance from the Asan beaches.

The brigade and the division each used 16 LSTs, and these moved into the launching area about 0700. There the landing ships opened their bow doors to disgorge LVT(A)s and LVTs carrying assault troops. On board the transports, Marines of the reserve battalions waited to debark into LCVPs. Once loaded with troops, the boats would proceed to the reef transfer line and stand by until the first waves of tractors returned from the beach. About the same time that the reserves began landing, the tanks that had moved to the target by LSD would start rumbling across the reef. Each LSD (two served the division and one the brigade) carried 20 medium tanks, loaded in a LCT and 14 LCMs.

Close on the tracks of the tanks, the direct support artillery would begin to


land, either in DUKWs that carried 105mm howitzers direct from ship-to-shore or in LVTs that picked up 75mm pack howitzers at the reef edge. Detached from the LSTs that had carried them to the target, pontoon barges, some mounted with cranes, would move to the reef to facilitate the transfer of supplies and equipment. As soon as the situation ashore permitted, the LSTs themselves would nose up to the coral shelf and begin landing vehicles and supplies directly on the reef.

The ships off Guam on 21 July included the 12 transports of the 3d Marine Division and the 8 of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, besides the destroyers which screened the transports. Five assault cargo ships (AKAs) shared the task of supplying thousands of Marines on Guam. The 77th Infantry Division had 12 transports, 5 cargo ships, and 3 LSTs, which rounded out a weight of shipping which lay upon some of the deepest water of the Pacific 0cean.7

Waiting to lead the assault were 18 gunboats, the LCI(G)s--evenly divided between the Marine division and the brigade. These vessels had each been fitted with 42 rocket launchers, in addition to their 20mm and 40mm guns, for the Guam operation. The craft would form the vanguard at the landings, shelling the beaches and then swinging to the flanks when about 200 yards from the reef.

Following the gunboats would be the 1st Armored Amphibian Battalion (Major Louis Metzger), its turreted LVT(A)s firing their 37mm guns at targets on the beach. Running behind such interference, 360 LVTs were to land the assault troops almost on the heels of the first wave of LVT(A)s. Such was the usual pattern, and at Guam on the morning of 21 July, no hitches developed. "The ship to shore movement," Admiral Conolly proudly reported, "was executed with perfect precision and exactly on schedule."8

A few minutes before 0800, the gunboats crossed the line of departure and headed toward the beaches, followed seconds later by the wave of armored amphibians. Behind were six waves of LVTs, formed up and ready for the attack. H-Hour was just 30 minutes away. So far a silent enemy appeared dazed by the constant air and naval gunfire bombardment, and while there were no illusions about what could happen later, a minimum of resistance was expected to the landings.

On the northern front, as the LVTs took the assault troops shoreward, the smoke and dust of the bombardment obscured the beaches where the men were to land. The 2,500 yards of enemy-held coastline which lay between Asan Point and Adelup Point had been parceled out among the three infantry regiments of the 3d Marine Division, which were to land abreast in a column of battalions, each regiment keeping one battalion as a reserve afloat.9 (See Map VII, Map Section.)

On the left, the 3d Marines, commanded by Colonel W. Carvel Hall, would go ashore over Red Beaches 1 and


2. The immediate task of the regiment was to secure Adelup Point, Chonito Cliff, and the high ground southeast of the cliff, thus protecting the left flank of the division. The 21st Marines (Colonel Arthur H. Butler), landing on Green Beach, would seize the cliff line to its front and hold there until the division was ready to move inland. Upon securing the objective, Colonel Butler would assign one battalion as division reserve. On the right, the 9th Marines (Colonel Edward A. Craig) was to cross Blue Beach and take the low ridges just beyond. Colonel Craig's 3d Battalion, which was landing in assault, would become regimental reserve once the other two battalions were ashore, and it would be prepared, if so ordered, to make an amphibious landing on Cabras Island. The Piti Navy Yard, down the coast from Blue Beach, appeared also as a probable objective for the 9th Marines.

To the south, the assault troops of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade moved toward narrower beaches than those that faced the 3d Marine Division. The lesser width was compensated for by more favorable ground immediately inland; the hills were lower and the terrain more open. This promise of an easier initial advance had played a large part in influencing the choice of beaches to be hit by the two major assault units of IIIAC. Despite its smaller size, the brigade was "a two-regiment division, if I ever saw one," said Admiral Conolly later, in tribute to its accomplishments.10 Actually, the brigade was substantially a division once its reserve, the Army 305th RCT was called into action.

On the morning of W-Day, Colonel Schneider's 22d Marines was to land on Yellow Beaches 1 and 2, occupy Agat, and then turn north to seal off the Orote Peninsula. The 4th Marines under Lieutenant Colonel Shapley would go ashore over White Beaches 1 and 2, establish a beachhead, and protect the right flank of the brigade. A major and perhaps costly mission lay ahead of the brigade once the 305th was ashore--the seizure of the Orote Peninsula.

Japanese opposition to the oncoming waves of Marines was late in appearing. The enemy's coastal defense guns had either been destroyed by the bombardment or left unmanned. At 0800, the division air observer saw no activity inland of the beaches. Twelve minutes later, when the first LVTs in the assault waves were well under way, he reported "no enemy fire from the beach observed."11 At 0810, the brigade air observer reported "no firing on our boats of the leading wave."12 The American gunboats were then firing tremendous salvoes. At the southern beaches a number of the rockets fell short, but the division air observer reported at 0820 that "the rockets are landing and giving them hell."13

The armored amphibians of the leading


assault wave, moving forward at 150 yards per minute, were then about 1,200 yards from the beaches--the scheduled time for air observers to drop their white parachute flares as a signal to the gunfire ships. Major caliber guns were then to raise their fire inland, while the rate of 5-inch gunfire would be stepped up until the armored amphibians started across the reef.

The white flares were also a signal for a special air strike by 32 Navy fighters. They were each to drop a depth bomb and then strafe the beaches until the Marines were almost on land. Following that strike, 12 other planes were to strafe just inland from the beaches until the troops set foot on the shore. Adding to the last violent preparation by naval shelling and air bombardment, the armored amphibians would fire their guns when crossing the reef, while, stationed on the flanks of the beaches, the gunboats employed their 20mm and 40mm weapons to disrupt any enemy movement sighted.

As the LVTs carrying the assault troops headed for the beaches, there was no sign of enemy activity. Admiral Conolly turned naval gunfire upon Gaan Point and Bangi Point, both of which were believed to contain well-hidden defenses, and upon Yona Island, where the brigade observer had noticed some firing. The gun there was later found to be a 75mm field piece. Except from such scattered positions, however, the Japanese did not return fire.

It was not until the Marines were within the last few yards of the beaches that the situation changed. The cumbersome amphibian tractors had negotiated the reef successfully, but they fared badly thereafter from enemy fire and mines, as the beach defenses suddenly came to life. Off the northern shore, the armored amphibians and the following wave of LVTs were nearly at the beach when they received fire from Japanese small arms and antiboat guns ranging from 37mm to 75mm in size. Several tractors were hit; at least one was disabled by .30 caliber armor-piercing bullets.14 Admiral Conolly's hope of getting the troops ashore standing up took an ironic twist when Marines had to leave a crippled tractor and wade in to the beach. From the high ground just inland, the Japanese turned mortar and artillery fire upon other approaching LVTs; a number of the vehicles were damaged by shell fragments.

Off the southern beaches, 24 of the tractors serving the brigade were put out of commission either by enemy fire, by damage to the treads caused by jagged coral, or by mechanical trouble.15 When the first wave of the 22d Marines was about 100 yards from the beaches, intense enemy fire was received.16


"Looks like 75mm," the brigade air observer radioed. "Can you locate source of fire?" came the query in reply.17 The source proved to be a concrete blockhouse on Gaan Point. Built deep into a small coral hill, the installation had evaded photographic detection. Here was a 75mm gun lodged below four feet of rock. A shelter for a companion 37mm gun was also walled with concrete.18 A few of the LVTs bound for the Yellow Beaches were damaged by the enemy fire, and some of the Marines they carried were hit.

Crossfire from Gaan Point and from Yona Island raked White Beach 2, a 300-yard strip of sand where the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines was landing. Scattered resistance came from pillboxes between Agat and Bangi Point; other fire developed from well-concealed guns at Bangi Point and artillery on the south side of the Orote Peninsula. Some resistance to the landings was offered even by guns at Facpi Point, down the coast.

Despite such spirited attempts, however, the Japanese plan of stopping the American return to Guam at the beaches had been set back, thanks in large part to Admiral Conolly's efforts. His planes and guns had not destroyed as many enemy installations as he believed; still, as the Japanese explained later, it was "the interruptive operation of the severe bombardments" that upset their plan.19

Nowhere were the Marines prevented from landing on schedule. They were not delayed either by damage to tractors or by opposition from those enemy riflemen and machine gunners who had not yet deserted the shell-ridden beaches. Marines had a foretaste, however, of the hard fighting due on Guam; the 3d Marines received ominously heavy fire from the vicinity of Adelup Point.

At 0833, the division air observer, flying over the Asan beaches, reported: "Troops ashore on all beaches."20 The brigade was on the island by 0832. Now, said the division report, "the capture of Guam was in the hands of the foot soldier."21

The Northern Beaches22

Once the Marines were ashore, and at least until the end of W-Day, the battle for Guam shaped up as two


separate military operations on beaches miles apart. On the left of the 3d Division beaches, the 3d Marines had the hardest going on the morning of 21 July. The whole division was landing between what the Marines called "a pair of devil's horns"--Adelup Point and Asan Point.23 The latter, on the right, had been dulled by the naval and air bombardment, but was still infested with enemy troops.24 The devil's left horn, the reports understate, "still had some life in it."25 To be more specific, the Japanese had weathered the terrific pre-assault gunfire and explosives, emerged from their caves and wooded folds on the reverse slopes of the high ground, and returned to their prepared gun and mortar positions on Chonito Cliff, which overshadowed the Red Beaches, and on the ridges to the south and southeast. (See Map VII, Map Section.)

Expecting grim resistance to the advance of the 3d Marines, Colonel Hall drew his first objective line across the enemy's well-defended high ground immediately inland. He was landing the 1st Battalion over Red Beach 2 and the 3d to the left over Red Beach 1. The 2d Battalion was to land in reserve and move to an assembly area behind Red 1. The regimental commander planned to put the reserve either at the center of the objective line once it was gained, or else to pass it through the left company of the 3d Battalion, to seize Adelup Point.

The immediate situation at the Red Beaches was not favorable. Minutes after the leading waves of the 3d Marines were ashore, the Japanese opened up in earnest, turning artillery, mortars, and machine guns upon the beaches and the reef, lobbing well-directed mortar shells squarely among the LVTs. Some of the Marines were casualties before getting on land; others were hit when they were barely on the beaches by an enemy enjoying perfect observation. At 0912, the commander of 3/3, Lieutenant Colonel Ralph L. Houser, reported "mortar fire and snipers very heavy," resulting in "many casualties."26

The optimistic hope of a dash to the initial objective, Chonito Cliff, before the enemy revived from the preassault bombardment dissolved into grim acceptance of the struggle ahead. The danger posed by the Japanese in their caves on Chonito Cliff led to some exaggerated news reports of its size. The cliff itself was only the seaward edge of the steep ridge which overlooked the whole length of the Red Beaches; it lay northeast of Red Beach 1. While Chonito Cliff's rugged terrain was a boon to its defenders, it was curiously obstructive to the Japanese on adjoining Adelup Point. Projecting to the edge of the water, Chonito Cliff walled off Red Beach 1 and restricted the enemy guns on Adelup Point to attacking the approaching LVTs rather than the Marines on the beach. That fire was


3D DIVISION ASSAULT TROOPS take cover along the Asan beaches as messengers crouch low to avoid enemy fire. (USMC 88167)

MARINES watch tensely as a flamethrower blasts an enemy dugout in the advance inland on Guam. (USMC 88067)


finally silenced by a destroyer which moved up to "rock throwing" range,27 but the Marines were not yet through with Adelup Point.

In the approximate 400 yards between Adelup Point and Chonito Cliff lay a deep dry stream bed where the beach road which followed the west coast went over a concrete bridge after cutting through Chonito Cliff. "The bridge and the ridge tip between the beach and the road formed an enemy strong point," recalled a Marine officer of 3/3. "The cut and the bridge afforded excellent protection from bombardment and bombing."28 The Japanese had dug an ingenious tunnel system, permitting them to fire upon both the road and the beach. South of the cliff was a draw leading inland.

Company I, landing on the right of Red Beach 1, tried to get through the draw but was stopped by enemy fire. Company K crossed the stream bed and started up Chonito Cliff but without success. The support platoon of Company K then attempted to force a way through the cut but was badly hurt by machine gun fire and grenades. The enemy rolled some of the grenades down the cliff.

To break up the impasse, Lieutenant Colonel Houser employed flamethrowers and called upon tanks of Company C, 3d Tank Battalion, which took position along the beach road and fired squarely into the caves.29 The battalion commander then committed his reserve, Company L, which "breeched the cut and pushed on to the flat land north of Chonito Cliff. This move required the entire company to move down the beach road with the sea on the left and the steep cliff face on the right."30

By noon, the danger of Chonito Cliff had been removed, and here, at least, the 3d Marines had reached its initial objeetive.31 The situation permitted Colonel Hall to confer with battalion commanders on top of the cliff at 1300. That afternoon, Marines of 3/3, supported by tanks and armored amphibians, overcame some Japanese resistance on Adelup Point; a few of the enemy guns there had escaped the sea bombardment. Meanwhile,


Lieutenant Colonel Houser moved the battalion command post from the beach to a bend of the road.32 The subsequent movement of 3/3, however, was handicapped not only by enemy fire from the front but also, particularly, by the Japanese defenses on Bundschu Ridge, which lay in the path of 1/3, commanded by Major Henry Aplington, II.

Bundschu Ridge was one of those inherently worthless pieces of land which were emotionally remembered by the men who fought there in World War II. On board ship, before the landing, it had been named for Captain Geary R. Bundschu, commander of Company A, who had been assigned to take the ridge. It was also referred to in the reports as "Our Ridge." Similar to Chonito Cliff, but farther inland and beyond some rice paddies, the ridge stood near the boundary of the two Red Beaches, a rock pile 400 feet high and 200 yards square, thatched with jungle vegetation. It was so situated that even a handful of well-hidden men, using mortars and machine guns, could repel a much larger force moving up from below.

Captain Bundschu's company had already suffered from enemy fire while on the water and on the beach. Now, with but a few minutes for reorganization, he started the attack, moving across the rice paddies toward the ridge, with two platoons in assault and one in support. By 0920 the lead platoons were pinned down in a gully to the west of the ridge by Japanese mortar and machine gun fire, so the support platoon was committed to the left, or east side. Captain Bundschu was then able to get up to within 100 yards of the ridge top. At the same time, 1045, he called for more corpsmen and stretcher bearers. Company B was somewhat better off. Advancing on the right, it was delayed more by jungle and rock than by enemy fire; still the company lost five men killed in the day's action. Company C, the reserve, was not committed to the fighting on W-Day, but Major Aplington did receive permission to use two platoons for a combat outpost on the right flank.

The plight of Company A led the regimental commander to drop his original plan of massing 81mm mortar fire on Adelup Point, where enemy resistance had proved relatively minor.33 Instead, at 1045, he reassigned control of the 1st Battalion 81s to Major Aplington. The platoon was pinned down, however, shortly after moving up to Bundschu Ridge. lts gunnery sergeant and four men were hit, and late that day the unit was still unable to move. Colonel Hall committed the reserve 2d Battalion, under Lieutenant Colonel Hector de Zayas, to the center of the regimental front and ordered renewal of the attack at 1500 along the entire line.

For Captain Bundschu, the situation had been frustrating and saddening, as the hidden enemy exacted a toll of Marines for every step taken. About 1400 he asked Major Aplington for permission to disengage, a request which had


to be denied because the company was so involved. It was Colonel Hall's view that a seeond attack on the ridge should be attempted, but he "did not specify a frontal assault."34

Apprehensive about the results, Captain Bundschu reorganized what was left of Company A and prepared to undertake again the last 100 yards of the ridge. At nearly the end of a day oppressive with tropical heat, the Marines tried again, knowing the odds. They once more encountered the machine gun fire that had stopped the initial assault; now, however, with the effective support of 40mm guns of Battery I, 14th Defense Battalion, "a thin line of Company A men reached the crest."35 Other Marines, shot en route up the steep slope, fell backwards to the ground far below. At the top of the ridge, enemy fire of savage intensity prevented a reorganization for defense of the ground gained; the foothold became untenable. The second attack on the ridge had cost the life of Captain Bundschu and further depleted Company A. At nightfall, the enemy still held Bundschu Ridge, and the Marines were reminded of this fact by the Japanese fire which kept up through the unhappy night.

While 1/3 was stalled at the initial regimental objective line, the 2d Battalion was past it, yet still short of the first division objective, which Colonel Hall had fixed as the goal of a renewed attack at 1500. The arc of steep hills which circled the Asan beachhead was everywhere well-defended by the enemy who had started moving up reserves from the Fonte area to combat the invasion.36 This movement was impeded but not prevented by the fire of 75mm and 105mm howitzers of the 3d Division artillery regiment. The first battery of the 12th Marines had landed and registered by 1215. By 1640, all the division artillery was ashore. Close support artillery, however, was not available to the 3d Marines on W-Day; the range was too short, and the fire could not be seen by forward observers.37

W-Day had ended with the 3d Marines still out of contact with the 21st Marines on its right. Colonel Butler's regiment had landed on Beach Green in a column of battalions, in order 3d, 2d, and 1st. Nowhere were the results of the naval gunfire preparation more evident than here on Beach Green; it was "extremely effective."38

The Japanese had abandoned their


organized defenses in the beach area; no enemy dead were found there. The scene of wreckage included a demolished coconut grove along the beach; trunks of the trees lay across the road. The assault waves of the 3d Battalion encountered no resistance in landing but received mortar fire from the Japanese positions on the high ground just inland. Such fire on the beach area became more intense by the minute and resulted in a number of casualties. When the regimental headquarters landed in the 11th wave, it had to set up temporarily in a ditch near the beach to obtain cover.

At Guadalcanal, officers had been briefed on the "almost impossible" cliffs which the 3d Marines and the 21st Marines would face shortly after landing.39 Colonel Butler had mapped out a tactical plan based on aerial photos which identified two defiles, or narrow passages--one at each end of the regimental zone--which permitted access to the cliff tops via the steeply rising ground inland of Beach Green. The defiles were related to the two forks of the Asan River, which joined to emerge into the rice paddies.

According to Colonel Butler's plan, the 2d Battalion, landing behind the 3d Battalion, would pass through the left of 3/21 when the latter had reached its first objective, a moderate height beyond the village of Asan. The 2d Battalion would then move up the defile on the left toward the steep cliffs, while the 3d Battalion undertook the other passage. The two units would not try for contact until they had gained the plateau, where they would extend to form a new line. Behind the advance to the cliffs, the regimental reserve, 1/21, would mop up and then revert to division reserve.

Starting up the Asan River valley, the 3d Battalion suffered casualties from enemy mortar fire. At one point, the advance was held up by a Japanese machine gun platoon which was so positioned that it could also fire southwest into the zone of 1/9 on the right of 3/21. Here Lieutenant Colonel Carey A. Randall, commanding 1/9, joined with Lieutenant Colonel Wendell H. Duplantis of 3/21 in removing enemy threats. He laid down preparatory fires for an attack on the machine gun position by 3/21, while naval gunfire, directed by 3/21, neutralized a mortar position on the objective of 1/9. "Approximately 14 machine guns, heavy and light, 6 mortars, and the entire supply of ammunition were seized in this section."40 Two Japanese were captured in the machine gun position; they were "believed to be the first prisoners seized in the campaign."41

By midmorning, the 3d Battalion had reached the high ground behind Asan, and at 1250, the 2d Battalion passed through the lines of Company K. For 2/21, the ordeal of the cliff area, which was to drag out for days, began in earnest. Some Marines would remember it in total as the battle for Banzai Ridge.42 Actually, the battle involved a


series of cliffs, "where every ridge gained by the 21st Marines disclosed another pocket of the enemy behind it."43

After traveling almost a mile from the beach, the 2d Battalion, moving up through the defile, approached a steep 100-foot cliff which cut diagonally across the main axis of attack. The Japanese expected no one to be hardy or bold enough to attempt a frontal attack here, but the terrain required it; there was no room to maneuver troops. Upon Company F fell the burden of the assault. Company E was echeloned to the right rear, while Company G took its position below the cliff as the reserve.

The rifle platoons of Company F started up the rocky cliff face, climbing via three indentations which permitted some concealment. "Slowly the men pulled themselves up the cliff, clinging to scrub growth, resting in crevices, sweating" under the tropical sun--it was a story often to be repeated on Guam. "Scouts on the left drew the first enemy fire. The platoons kept climbing. The platoon on the right was nearly decimated."44 Company E started two squads and a patrol up the cliff and also suffered casualties. Results of the shipboard confinement seemed to show here; a few of the men were unable to finish the arduous climb.45 The Marines who did get to the top received machine gun fire there from a ridge less than 50 yards away, but they held on while the battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Eustace R. Smoak, set up the defense for the night; he put Company G on the left, Company F in the center, and Company E on the right flank. The battalion dug in on the objective under artillery and mortar fire from the ridge beyond.

The 3d Battalion, moving upon the high ground to the right, was able to tie in with 2/21 by outposts only; the jungle vegetation made contact difficult. The 1st Battalion, after mopping up to the rear and encountering few of the enemy there, reverted to division reserve. To the regimental left, a deep jungle-thick ravine separated the 21st and 3d Marines, leaving a gap of 150 yards, despite the efforts of patrols to make contact. Yet it was "a well neutralized gap," the division reported. "Enemy mortar fire kept the gap open; our own kept out the enemy."46

To the right, contact was well established between the 21st and the 9th Marines. Of the division infantry regiments, the 9th Marines had met the least resistance from the terrain, although as much from enemy troops. It was able to make the most actual progress on W-Day. The regiment landed in a column of battalions, with 3/9 in the assault, followed by 2/9 in support and 1/9 in reserve. The mission


of the 3d Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel Walter Asmuth, Jr.) was to seize the high ground immediately inland, including Asan Point. The other two battalions would then pass through when so ordered, while 3/9 became regimental reserve. The 1st and 2d Battalions, the latter on the right, were scheduled to seize the next objective, a line 1,000 yards from the beach and just short of the Tatgua River.

The 9th Marines landed under Japanese mortar and artillery fire directed at LVTs in the water, on the reef, and on the beach; a considerable number of casualties resulted.47 Once past the beach, the troops encountered negligible small arms fire while crossing the dry rice paddies. Further along, however, the southeasterly course of Company I on the right was slowed by fire from caves on Asan Point and along the ridge which extended from Asan Point to the mouth of the Nidual River, but no line of enemy resistance was set up. Lieutenant Colonel Asmuth used the reserve Company L to assist in taking and clearing the ridge, while tanks provided overhead fire support. Company K, on the battalion left, fared very well; after a steady advance across the rice paddies, it took the ridge to its front "with astonishing rapidity."48 Following the seizure of the rice paddy area near the mouth of the Asan River, the 12th Marines (Colonel John B. Wilson) began setting up its firing batteries to support the infantry assault.

At 1350, the 3d Battalion, 9th Marines reached its objective, and 1/9 and 2/9 waited orders to pass through. At 1415, just eight minutes after receiving the word from the division commander, Colonel Craig attacked, advancing to within 400 yards of the Tatgua River by 1600. There the troops dug in for the night.

The progress of 1/9 and 2/9 had not been devoid of enemy resistance. Though Asan Point had been previously well covered by 3/9, there were still small groups of Japanese in concealed firing positions.49 When the 2d Battalion crossed the bridge over the Nidual River, enemy machine guns on the point opened up, and the Marines had to fight to the rear a short distance in order to reduce the opposition.50

Colonel Craig had set up his advance command post immediately to the rear of the 3d Battalion, and it was fire from Asan Point apparently which wounded the regimental executive officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jaime Sabater, on W-Day.51 A Marine antitank gun at the command post knocked out a


concealed Japanese antitank gun in the vicinity. Like the machine guns that covered the Nidual River bridge, the enemy weapon, manned by eight men, was so well camouflaged that it escaped detection by 3/9.

At 1830, the 9th Marines tied in with the 21st Marines. The progress of the 9th Marines on W-Day--the regiment had secured a beachhead 1,500 yards in depth--was dearly won, for casualties had been high.52 Included in the figure of 231 were 20 officers killed or wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Asmuth of 3/9 was among the wounded; he was relieved on 22 July by Major Donald B. Hubbard. The commanders of Company I and Company K were both killed in action.

Sunset Over the Asan Beachhead53

The first day on Guam had cost the 3d Marine Division 105 men killed, 536 wounded, and 56 missing in action. A number of these casualties had resulted from the mortar, artillery, and sniper fire which fell upon the beaches--handicapping but never stopping the movement of supplies.54

To get the immediate necessities ashore, every available man was employed; bakers of the 3d Service Battalion, who did not have to bake bread until later, turned to as boat riders and handled cargo. It was the 19th Marines, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Fojt, which formed the backbone of the division shore party. Company B, 5th Field Depot, of the Supply Service, FMFPac, had been attached to the division and at 1030 the unit landed on Red Beach 2 to operate the supply dumps. The 5th Field Depot, which was part of the Island Command, had been assigned a string of prospective dump sites on Guam, totaling more than 600 acres, but most of the areas "proved to be suitable for rice cultivation and not much else."55

As General Geiger reported, the ship-to-shore movement was "skillfully executed."56 There were instances where some things could have been done differently and better, but they were relatively few in proportion to the size of the division landing.57 Men transferred


tons of cargo from landing craft to LVTs and DUKWs, using large cranes mounted on pontoon barges anchored just off the reef. The amphibian tractors and trucks then took the cargo from the reef to the shore.58

The reef here extended at distances varying from 100 to 350 yards from the beaches. At high tide it was covered by 30 inches of water and at low tide by 6 inches. The edge dropped off abruptly; the reef detachment often worked in waist-high water. When fuel drums were deposited from landing craft at the reef edge they were floated in by wading Marines. Unloading was continued for some hours after dark--an unusual procedure on the day of a landing, for it required partial lighting on the ships--but the absence of enemy aircraft allowed such a risk.

By sunset of W-Day, the 3d Marine Division was well started on the battle to recapture Guam. At 1715, General Turnage assumed command ashore.

The Southern Beaches59

The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade on W-Day encountered more favorable terrain than the division. The enemy, however, supplied the resistance which the earth itself did not. In spite of the preassault bombardment, there were Japanese waiting for the Marines--deafened and shocked, but waiting grimly. The beach defenses, some of them intact although scarred by gunfire, included concrete pillboxes and a trench system with machine gun emplacements and tank traps. Casualties were numerous at Yellow Beach 2, where Marines received savage fire from the concrete blockhouse on Gaan Point--a cornerstone of the beach defense--and small arms, mortar, and machine gun fire from other well-concealed positions overlooking the beach. (See Map VII, Map Section.)

Brigade assault troops set foot on Guam at 0832. At the extreme left, the 1st Battalion, 22d Marines landed on Yellow Beach 1, while 2/22 went ashore on Yellow Beach 2 and the 3d Battalion, boated in LCVPs, marked time at the line of departure, in ready reserve. When ordered, the Marines of 3/22 would transfer at the edge of the reef to LVTs returning empty from


the beach.60 Led by their share of the 37 armored amphibians assigned to the brigade, assault troops of the 4th Marines landed on White Beaches 1 and 2--the 2d Battalion on the left and the 1st on the right, with 3/4 in reserve.61 At 0846 Lieutenant Colonel Shapley reported "battalions landed and received mortar fire on beaches."62 The brigade had begun its battle for Guam.

The 22d Marines suffered a considerable loss of men and equipment while landing, but once the troops were some 200 yards inland, out of range of the Japanese guns aimed at the beaches, progress was easier--at least briefly so. The 2d Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel Dorm C. Hart) had advanced to high ground about 1,000 yards inland before noon, when it began to receive artillery fire, a foretaste of the resistance beyond the beaches. Such fire increased as Lieutenant Colonel Hart reorganized on the high ground and prepared to move out at 1250 to seize his portion of the brigade objective, a line which included the crest of Mt. Alifan and the village of Agat. Progress that afternoon was measured by inches. When a Japanese dual-purpose gun stopped Company E, the battalion commander requested an air strike. But the strafing hit the front lines, and casualties resulted when several bombs fell in the vicinity of Company F. The accident prevented resumption of the attack before the battalion received orders to dig in for the night.

The 1st Battalion (Lieutenant Colonel Walfried H. Fromhold) had wheeled left toward Agat after landing. The villagers had long since deserted the town, but the rubble left by the naval and air bombardment was still inhabited--by Japanese snipers. The Marines expected to encounter organized resistance from the surrounding area, if not from the town itself. While Company A moved rapidly across the rice paddies, Company B, to the left, advanced up the beach. Both units reported little opposition, but Lieutenant Colonel Fromhold took the precaution of committing the battalion reserve, Company C, on the seaward flank.63

In the ruins of Agat, the Marines received some sniper fire, but at 1020 Lieutenant Colonel Fromhold reported: "We have Agat."64 By 1130 the 1st Battalion was at Harmon Road, which led from the middle of Agat to the Maanot Pass on the northern shoulder of Mt. Alifan, and the regimental commander ordered the capture of the rest of the town.

Company C, on the extreme left of


the brigade, had some rough going that afternoon. While attempting to flank an insignificant mound east of Agat, the Marines received machine gun fire from the beach 50 yards away, which forced their withdrawal to a series of trenches near the foot of the hill. Here the men were pinned down for an hour. When a reserve platoon of Company I was sent forward, the Marines renewed the attack, only to be turned back again by the intolerable fire of automatic weapons concealed in a maze of underbrush.

In graphic language, a Marine officer described the situation:65

. . . the Marines didn't know where the emplacements were, and many of them died trying to find out. The men wondered and waited, and dug in for the night.

Then occurred one of those inexplicable things known to every Marine who has fought Japs, and understood by none. Down a trail leading to the center of the trench marched 12 Japs. They carried the machine guns--three heavies and a light--which had held up the American advance all afternoon. The Japs were riddled by Marine bullets. 'Those Nips were so heavy with slugs we couldn't lift them.' said one of the men.

The fighting had depleted Company C. At 1705, the commander reported he had only 100 effective, including the reserve platoon, and would "need help for tonight."66 A second reserve platoon was moved up. The battalion commander ordered Company C to fall back 50 yards to a better position for the night and to tie in with Company B. At 2000, all companies of the battalion were dug in, believing they could hold their positions until morning.67

The 1st Battalion, 22d Marines had lost a number of men on W-Day. The handling of casualties had been complicated for hours after the landing because a shell from a Japanese 75mm field gun hit an aid station party, destroying medical supplies and injuring every member except one. Not until afternoon did the battalion have a doctor, but it was still short of corpsmen, stretchers, and bearers. Evacuation was hampered until an amphibian tractor was obtained.

It was the shortage of amphibian tractors, due to losses, that was chiefly responsible for the supply headaches that plagued the brigade on W-Day. Commanders called for more ammunition at the frontlines. When the situation did not improve, General Shepherd sent word to the commander of the Southern Transport Group and to the control vessel:

Supplies not coming ashore with sufficient rapidity. Believe delay at transfer line at edge of reef. Expedite movement, with preference to all types ammunition.68

Getting supplies transferred at the reef was never a picnic; with insufficient LVTs, the difficulties were compounded and the tasks made even harder. Another handicap was the deposit of silt at the inner edge of the reef, which caused some of the amphibian tractors and DUKWs to bog down.


Rubberboat causeways and ship life rafts partially helped to relieve the congestion on the reef, and every available man was put to work here.69

Among the brighter aspects of W-Day were the optimum conditions for use of armor. With the advance inland, 1/22 came to "good tank country" before noon and reported it "would like to use the tanks here."70 The 22d Marines armor support had reached the reef at 0840 and run into mortar fire, mines, and shell holes while moving onto the beaches; two tanks submerged before getting ashore.

Due to the condition of the reef, the tank company of the 22d Marines had been ordered to land on the 4th Marines beaches and then travel along the waterline to join its regiment. The detour took time but it was not without benefit, for en route the tanks destroyed the troublesome Japanese emplacement at Gaan Point, knocking out one of the guns at a range of 50 yards.71 Machine gun and mortar positions along the beach were also fired upon. The tanks reported to 2/22, according to orders, but the lack of opposition and the unsuitable terrain there suggested support of 1/22 instead, and armor led the afternoon attack by Company A. Toward evening, tanks were sent to reinforce the hard-hit Company C.

Before dark of W-Day, the Marines of 2/22 could see the 4th Marines to their right, across a deep gully. Lieutenant Colonel Shapley's regiment had moved rapidly inland after meeting negligible enemy resistance at the beaches. Up to an hour after the landing, casualties were still "very light."72

The immediate ground encountered by the 4th Marines was more flat than that the 22d Marines had met; in fact, the elevations were so low that the maps did not show them. The Japanese knew of them, however. One such rise--it was 10 to 20 feet high--lay in the path of the 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, at a distance of less than 100 yards from the beach. The Japanese were dug in on the reverse slope, and the pocket of resistance briefly delayed the advance of 2/4. By 0947, however, Lieutenant Colonel Shapley reported that the 2d Battalion (Major John S. Messer) was 700 yards inland.

The 1st Battalion (Major Bernard W. Green) had landed with Company A and Company B in the assault. When 30 yards from the beach, Company B, on the left, had two Marines killed and three wounded by machine gun fire before the pillbox from which it came was located and its five defenders killed. Company A reported less opposition, but a platoon leader was killed by enemy fire while crossing an open rice paddy.

When Companies A and B were some 700 yards inland, in contact with 2/4, the reserve Company C was landed and turned right to attack Hill 40 and


Bangi Point. The latter had been heavily worked over by naval gunfire and was readily occupied, but Hill 40 was still bristling with live Japanese and machine guns whose fire halted the attack by Company C. When Company A, to the left, also caught some of the fire, Major Green called up two tanks, which supported a second and successful assault of the hill. At 1130 two companies of the reserve 3d Battalion (Major Hamilton M. Hoyler) started forward to relieve the 1st Battalion and free it to push on toward Mt. Alifan. Company K took over Hill 40 and Bangi Point, relieving Company C which reverted to regimental reserve. Company I moved up on the left flank in the battalion zone and relieved Company A. One platoon of the reserve Company L was assigned to seize Alutom Island off Bangi Point, which it found undefended. The rest of the company moved into a small river valley 300 yards upstream and straight east of Alutom Island.

Before noon, the two assault battalions of the 4th Marines had reached the initial regimental objective line, over 1,000 yards inland. At 1345, on brigade order, Lieutenant Colonel Shapley resumed the attack to seize the brigade objective, including the peak of Mt. Alifan. Scattered resistance was encountered as the Marines crossed open fields, but by 1700 they reached the rough and wooded ground at the foot of the mountain.

Digging in for the night, the men prepared for an expected counterattack. Company B set up a roadblock on Harmon Road; five tanks of the 4th Marines Tank Company were parked in a hollow just off the road, not far from the 2/4 CP. The regimental line stretched from heights above the Ayuja River around the lower slopes of Mt. Alifan to the beach at Bangi Point. It was a long line, measuring about 1,600 yards, and strongpoints had to be wisely located to cover the gaps with fire. Lieutenant Colonel Shapley also bolstered the line by tying in his Reconnaissance Platoon and an engineer detachment on the Company A left. Company C, kept in reserve near the regimental command post, would be ready for action if needed.

The brigade command post, located about 200 yards southeast of Gaan Point, had opened at 1350, when General Shepherd assumed command ashore. When he reported the brigade situation at the end of W-Day, the southern beachhead measured about 4,500 yards long and 2,000 yards deep:

Own casualties about 350. Enemy unknown. Critical shortages fuel and ammunition all types. Think we can handle it. Will continue as planned tomorrow.73

The next day the brigade commander would have the reserve 305th Infantry Regiment at hand. Its 2d Battalion had landed on the afternoon of W-Day. With no LVTs to use--no Marine amphibian tractors were available and the Army had none--the soldiers had to wade ashore from their LCVPs, which could not cross the reef or negotiate the shallow waters beyond it. It was a blessing that the Japanese were too involved with the Marines to endanger the Army landing with fire, but the curse of sharp coral and deep potholes plagued the watery approach by foot. After reorganizing on White Beach 1,


the battalion moved to an assembly area about 400 yards inland from Gaan Point.

At 1430, General Shepherd ordered the rest of the 305th to land; owing to communication problems, the regimental commander (Colonel Vincent J. Tanzola) did not receive the message for an hour. He had only enough craft to move one battalion, and he turned to the 1st (Lieutenant Colonel James E. Landrum), but naval officers had received no landing instructions and refused to dispatch the boats to the reef. As a result, the men of 1/305 waited in their LCVPs until 1730 when the brigade confirmed the movement. With darkness fast approaching, Colonel Tanzola suggested suspension of the battalion landing. General Shepherd, however, desired that the reserve get ashore that night, so the 1st Battalion continued on to the beach. Again the troops had to wade ashore, but now the water had become chest-high from the incoming tide, and, though weighted with their gear, some soldiers attempted swimming. By 2130, 1/305 was digging in on land. The 3d Battalion followed; it was 0200 before the leading waves got to the reef, and 0600 before the last men got to shore. An hour later, the battalion was still wet and tired but reorganized.74 The landing of the 305th had been a confused and dragged-out affair, but it revealed a stamina that was to be indicated again in battle.

One battery of the 305th Field Artillery Battalion was landed at dark on White Beach 1 and attached to the Brigade Artillery Group.75 General Shepherd stressed the early landing of artillery, and he wanted the Corps 1st 155mm Howitzer Battalion to get ashore before the second day on Guam. At 1835, however, he could report that only three 155mm howitzers had been landed.76

The brigade's two pack howitzer battalions were in position with batteries registered before dark. The weapons of these battalions had been loaded on DUKWs, which delivered the goods despite jagged coral heads and potholes. Actually, there was only one point where it was practical for the amphibian trucks to move to the beach from the reef edge, so their traffic was restricted. As soon as they had delivered their loads of howitzers and ammunition, the DUKWs were pressed into service as cargo carriers, joining the LVTs at the transfer line.

Unlike the operations at the northern


beachhead, where the water was more shallow and it was possible to set up some cranes on coral heads at the sharp edge of the reef dropoff, all cranes off the Agat beaches had to be barge mounted. Most cargo transfer took place in deep water, utilizing the barges or makeshift raft platforms as floating dumps. The shortage of LVTs, as a result of W-Day casualties, was the crowning logistic difficulty and kept the supply situation tight on shore. Recognizing this, Admiral Conolly ordered unloading to continue through the night to insure that the brigade had adequate supplies for its mission. Regardless of the logistic situation, General Shepherd felt that his men could handle whatever the enemy should attempt that night or the next day.


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


[1] Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: TF 51 OpRpt; TF 56 OpRpt; TF 53 OpRpt; TF 53 OPlan A162-44; IIIAC SAR; Smith, "I Saw the Morning Break."

[2] A hope expressed to General Geiger and recalled by the Corps C-2. Col William F. Coleman ltr to CMC, dtd 5Sep52.

[3] Smith, "I Saw the Morning Break," p. 409. War seemed out of place on a beautiful tropical night over the Pacific, and the sky would inspire poetic description by witnesses such as Commander Smith. His account of the events of W-Day morning is personal and vivid.

[4] One witness of the preassault bombardment, an officer of the 9th Marines, wrote later: "I was particularly impressed to see Japanese soldiers still alive right on the landing beaches after almost 24 hours of incessant bombardment by naval gunfire." LtCol Calvin W. Kunz ltr to HistBr, G-3, HQMC, dtd 27Feb52.

[5] Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: TF 51 OpRpt; TF 53 OpRpt; IIIAC SAR; 3d MarDiv SAR; 1st ProvMarBrig SAR; 1stLt Millard Kaufman, "Attack on Guam," Marine Corps Gazette, v. 29, no. 4 (Apr45), hereafter Kaufman, "Attack on Guam"; Smith, "I Saw the Morning Break"; Aurthur and Cohlmia, The Third Marine Division.

[6] Marine veterans of the Pacific campaigns sometimes felt that "when you've seen one naval prelanding bombardment, you've seen them all." This quip is recalled in Hough, op. cit., p. vii. At Guam, however, the innovations would seem to make such a comment less applicable.

[7] About 200 miles southwest of Guam, the ocean floor is five miles below the surface.

[8] TF 53 OpRpt, p. 11.

[9] The division, lacking a floating reserve, would have to rely upon the corps reserve (77th Infantry Division, less the 305th Regiment).

[10] Quoted in "Combat Leadership," The John A. Lejeune Forum, compiled by Capt Robert B. Asprey, Marine Corps Gazette, v. 46, no. 11 (Nov62), p. 26.

[11] TF 53 OpRpt, Encl A, p. 27. These air observers were infantry officers assigned by the IIIAC. From carrier planes they reported to headquarters ships by voice radio (the SCR 694).

[12] 1st ProvMarBrig Jnl (App 2 to 1st ProvMarBrig SAR), 21 Jul44, hereafter 1st ProvMarBrig Jnl.

[13] 3d MarDiv SAR, p. 1.

[14] A mountain gun located on Adelup Point hit several armored amphibians. The weapon was "silenced by a destroyer that closed to the reef edge in a beautiful bit of seamanship. The destroyer's action saved the lives of a lot of Marines." One antiboat gun located at the junction of Asan Point and the beach hit two armored amphibians. That weapon was silenced by LVT(A) 37mm guns. LtCol Louis Metzger ltr to CMC, dtd 29Oct52.

[15] The leading waves of the brigade had 10 LVT and LVT(A) casualties. The division reported nine LVTs and LVT(A)s destroyed by enemy fire during the landing.

[16] One officer of 3/22, which went ashore at noon on W-Day, recalled later that "the gun was firing on line of fire as landing craft passed without traversing." Maj Samuel A. Todd ltr to CMC, dtd 30Oct52.

[17] 1st ProvMarBrig Jnl, 21 Jul44.

[18] The guns "were in a double cave, one above the other. . . . The mouth of the caves could not be seen from the sea, and trees and shrubbery prevented them from showing in aerial pictures." Col Edwin C. Ferguson interview by HistBr, G-3, HQMC, dtd 28Nov52.

[19] Takeda ltr I, p. 3.

[20] 3d MarDiv SAR, Encl A, p. 1.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: TF 53 OpRpt; IIIAC SAR; SARS of 3d MarDiv regiments and organic and attached units enclosed with 3d MarDiv SAR, hereafter cited separately as necessary, e.g., 9th Mar SAR, 3d TkBn SAR; 3d Mar Jnl, 21Jul-12Aug44, hereafter 3d Mar Jnl; 1/3 Jnl, 21Jul-16Aug44, hereafter 1/3 Jnl; 2/3 Jnl, 21Jul-24Aug44; hereafter 2/3 Jnl; 3/3 Jnl, 21-31Jul44, hereafter 3/3 Jnl; 9th Mar URpts, 21Jul-19Sep44, hereafter 9th Mar URpts; 2/21 Jnl on Guam, hereafter 2/21 Jnl; 3/21 Jnl, 21Jul-1Nov44, hereafter 3/21 Jnl; Aurthur and Cohlmia, The Third Marine Division.

[23] 3d MarDiv SAR, Encl A, p. 1.

[24] Asan Point and ridge running inland from it came alive with enemy fire as the 9th Marines advanced inland. Many Japanese held their fire as the assault troops passed and then opened up on support and CP echelons. Craig 22Jun65 ltr.

[25] 3d MarDiv SAR, Encl A, p. 1.

[26] 3/3 Jnl, 21Jul44. The spare litters were soon used up. Others were constructed from poles and ponchos.

[27] BGen W. Carvel Hall ltr to CMC, dtd 4Dec52, hereafter Hall ltr.

[28] LtCol Royal R. Bastian, Jr., ltr to CMC, dtd 23Aug52, hereafter Bastian ltr.

[29] Company C had landed from LCMs on Red Beach 1 at H-Hour plus 29 minutes, and just a half hour later its tanks were the first to go into action on Guam. The rest of the division's 40 medium tanks were ashore by 1000. General Craig commented in regard to this feat: "The tanks did a wonderful and dangerous job in getting ashore. Transferring those big 45-ton tanks from Navy landing craft to a sheer reef edge in choppy seas and then driving them through rough coral spotted with deep potholes to the beach is an accomplishment which I believe deserves special note. The method devised of holding the Navy landing craft against the face of the reef by using LVTs and cables is also worthy of note. The tanks would probably have never made it if someone had not worked out this method." Craig 22Jun65 ltr.

[30] Bastian ltr.

[31] Later, while enlarging the beach road, engineers and Seabees altered the appearance of Chonito Cliff so that, as one Marine officer recalled, "the area was not recognizable when I returned several weeks after the landing." Ibid. General Craig noted that the same situation held true regarding Asan Point, where Army engineers set up a quarry and rock crushing machine and tore down most of the ridge leading from the point for road construction material. Craig 22Jun65 ltr.

[32] A branch of the beach road wound from near Adelup Point into the Fonte hill mass, where General Shigematsu's battle command post was located.

[33] The battalion mortar platoons were to land with their parent units and then combine into a mortar groupment near the boundary of Red Beaches 1 and 2. 3d Mar OPlan 3-44, dtd 27May44.

[34] Hall ltr.

[35] BGen James Snedeker ltr to CMC, dtd 28Sep52. Colonel Snedeker, executive officer of the 3d Marines, assumed fire direction of the 40mm guns. He recalled "sitting on a sand dune with a portable radio. From this position I could see the 40mm guns and the enemy, but neither could see the other. Enemy machine gun fire picked up the sand all about my exposed position." The 14th Defense Battalion was armed chiefly with antiaircraft weapons; however, with the absence of enemy planes over Guam, the weapons were handy for other uses.

[36] Even on W-Day, the 3d Marines were already opposed by an enemy force of at least three companies "with a large number of automatic weapons." 3d MarDiv D-2 Periodic Rpt No. 70, dtd 23Jul44.

[37] Once the Marines were farther inland, artillery was employed more often. In fact, the 3d Marines reported that "for close support, there is no substitute for artillery." 3d Mar SAR, p. 7.

[38] 21st Mar SAR, p. 1.

[39] Aurthur and Cohlmia, The Third Marine Division, p. 147.

[40] Col Wendell H. Duplantis ltr to CMC, dtd 30Oct52, hereafter Duplantis ltr.

[41] Ibid.

[42] See 1stLt Anthony A. Frances, "The Battle for Banzai Ridge," Marine Corps Gazette, V. 29, no, 6 (Jun45), hereafter Frances, "The Battle for Banzai Ridge."

[43] 3d MarDiv SAR, Encl A, p. 3. The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Lieutenant General Alexander A. Vandegrift, a veteran of jungle and mountain warfare in the Caribbean and in the South Pacific, later inspected the terrain here and in the zone of the 3d Marines; he called it "some of the most rugged country I have ever seen." Ibid., p. 4.

[44] Frances, "The Battle For Banzai Ridge," p, 13.

[45] A shortage of water added hardship to a hot day. At 1730, however, 3/21 reported that "one canteen of water arrived at CP for each man." 3/21 Jnl, 21Jul44.

[46] 3d MarDiv SAR, Encl A, p. 3.

[47] Here, as along the entire division landing area, the enemy fire benefited from perfect observation. The commander of the 9th Marines remarked later that "until the FBHL in the Mt. Alutom-Mt. Tenjo area was taken by us, direct observation of practically all our rear areas was possible by the enemy." LtGen Edward A. Craig ltr to CMC, dtd 30Sep52, hereafter Craig ltr.

[48] Col Walter Asmuth, Jr., ltr to CMC, dtd 11Sep52.

[49] Three weeks later, the Marines were still finding Japanese in the honeycomb of caves on Asan Point. Craig ltr.

[50] Besides the machine gun positions on Asan Point, there was a battery of three 8-inch naval guns in concrete emplacements. The battery covered the beaches and seaward to the west of Asan Point; Marines found it abandoned.

[51] The 9th Marines then had no executive officer until 30 July when Lieutenant Colonel Ralph M. King joined the regiment.

[52] This was the maximum depth of the division beachhead at the end of W-Day. In width it measured 4,000 yards. Such figures are illusory, however, because of the numerous gaps in the line and the fact that the enemy held strong positions overlooking the beachhead.

[53] Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: TF 53 OpRpt; IIIAC SAR; 3d MarDiv SAR; 5th FldDep SAR, dtd 25Aug44, hereafter 5th FldDep SAR; Capt Edwin H. Klein, "The Handling of Supplies at Guam," Marine Corps Gazette, v. 29, no. 2 (Feb45), hereafter Klein, "The Handling of Supplies at Guam."

[54] Such enemy fire kept up all day and "had troop leaders been less aggressive in moving their units off the beach, casualties would have been much heavier." Lodge, Recapture of Guam, p. 47.

[55] Klein, "The Handling of Supplies at Guam," p. 26. Company B was attached to the 3d Service Battalion for the landing.

[56] IIIAC SAR, Encl B, p. 2.

[57] Teams of the 3d Joint Assault Signal Company (JASCO) landed less than 20 minutes after H-Hour, much sooner than necessary. They had their ship-to-shore and lateral beach communications set up by 1100, but there was no traffic until more than two hours later. Major John H. Ellis, the company commander, recommended after the campaign that "the teams should not be landed until they are operationally useful. Four JASCO teams," he said, "took boat spaces of 80 infantrymen and then waited on the beach for more than four hours before their services were required. " 3d JASCO SAR, p. 1.

[58] Marines of the 2d Separate Engineer Battalion comprised the reef transfer battalion. For the immense job at the reef, they were helped by men of the 3d Service Battalion.

[59] Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: IIIAC SAR; 1st ProvMarBrig SAR; 5th FldDep SAR; 1st ProvMarBrig URpts Nos. 1-12, 21Jul-1Aug44, hereafter 1stProvMarBrig URpts; 22d Mar Jnl, 21Jul-16Aug44, hereafter 22d Mar Jnl; 1/4 WarD, 30May-9Sep44, hereafter 1/4 WarD; 3/4 WarD, 21Jul-9Aug44, hereafter 3/4 WarD; 1/22 Jnl, 21Jul-9Aug44, hereafter 1/22 Jnl; 6th TkBn SAR, dtd 30Mar45, hereafter 6th TkBn SAR; Condit and Turnbladh, Hold High the Torch; Charles O. West,, eds., Second to None! The Story of the 305th Infantry in World War II (Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1949), hereafter West, Second to None; LtCol Max Myers, ed., Ours to Hold it High: The History of the 77th Infantry Division in World War II (Washington: Infantry Journal Press, 1947), hereafter Myers, Ours to Hold it High.

[60] "The LVT waves had been ordered to proceed inland a distance of 1,000 yards from the beach before stopping to unload, but that was found to be impracticable, except in isolated places, due to obstacles and mines inland of the beach." 1stProvMarBrig SAR, p. 4.

[61] The 3d Battalion began landing on White Beach 2 at 0930. Due to failure of radio communications, the reserve battalion of the 22d Marines did not receive orders to land until 1236.

[62] 1stProvMarBrig Jnl, 21Jul44.

[63] Regimental headquarters then attached Company I as the 1/22 reserve, after landing the company on Yellow Beach 2 at 1010, The 3d Battalion headquarters and Company K landed at 1255 and moved to an assembly area. At 1615, Company L was attached to 2/22. At 1630, the 3d Battalion, less Companies I and L, moved to set up defenses for Yellow Beach 1.

[64] 22d Mar Jnl, 21Jul44.

[65] Kaufman, "Attack on Guam," p. 3.

[66] 1/22 Jnl, 21Jul44.

[67] General Shepherd had ordered that the brigade attack cease not later than 1700 and that particular attention be paid to defenses in depth and maintenance of a local reserve against possible counterattacks. 1st ProvMarBrig OpO No. 9, dtd 21Jul44.

[68] 1st ProvMarBrig Jnl, 21Jul44.

[69] Except for Company B, which went ashore on Red Beach 2, the assault echelon of the 5th Field Depot was landed over the Yellow and White Beaches and attached to the brigade. The pioneer companies of the 4th and 22d Marines passed to control of the brigade shore party.

[70] 1/22 Jnl, 21 Jul44.

[71] A misfortune of the trip was that two tanks got stuck in shell holes on the beach. In retrieving the vehicles, the Marines suffered several casualties from mortar and artillery fire.

[72] 1st ProvMarBrig Jnl, 21Jul44.

[73] 1st ProvMarBrig Jnl, 21Jul44.

[74] The commander of 3/305, was able to borrow five LVTs from the Marines, and the later waves of the battalion were taken across the reef by four of the vehicles while the fifth LVT was used as a control vehicle. Col Edward A. Chalgren, Jr., USA, ltr to Head, HistBr, C-3, HQMC, dtd 23Jan53.

[75] The battalion had been loaded on five different ships, complicating the task of getting ashore. The unit report describes some of the woe of landing on a tropical Pacific island: the battalion "was brought to the edge of the reef in LCMs, and then an attempt was made to drive across the reef. In most cases vehicles stalled and had to be towed. Equipment was soaked in salt water, and two howitzers were out of action for several days." 305th FldArtyBn OpRpt, dtd 14Aug44 (WW II Recs-Div, FRC, Alexandria, Va.)

[76] The 1st 155mm Howitzer Battalion of the Corps Artillery was to reinforce fires of the brigade. Battery C would be attached on landing to the Brigade Artillery Group.

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