Captain Dye's Blog
Friday, 11 April 2008
Week 39: Down in the Mud and the Blood with no Beer
If some soldier-scholar hasn't written one already, it's time for a study on the effects of mud on military operations. And there would be no finer field of research than the island of Okinawa in 1945 where the 1st and 6th Marine Divisions along with other formations of the U.S. 10th Army are struggling to advance with weather becoming as big an enemy as Japanese defenders. Marines ordered to advance in pelting rain through cloying mud against fortified positions in the Shuri Line of Japanese defenses have been seen to disappear completely in slimy sinkholes. The mud is thick and sticky everywhere, especially in the valleys between the ridgelines of southern Okinawa where water pools in shell craters, making it almost impossible to maintain the momentum of an attack. Even relatively simple road marches between one position and another are exhausting experiences as Marines struggle to lift their legs out of the glue and take just one more step under the heavy loads they are forced to carry. Wheeled vehicles have become useless for the most part so the men must hump the water, rations and ammo they need to sustain the attack. Japanese defenders have no such problems as they shelter in deep caves or reinforced bunkers waiting for the Marines to enter their well-plotted fields of fire. Support weapons are being hampered by the weather also. In one recent day of fighting near the Wana Draw area, Eugene Sledge, Snafu Shelton and the other 60mm mortar crews of Weapons Platoon, K-3-5 fired a couple of short rounds due to wet increments on the ammo. They were forced to cease-fire and make a mad dash across a draw through a funnel of incoming fire to get dry rounds from a nearby ammo dump. The frustration level is high with weather and environment a major factor in slumping morale. No one knows when  or how - it will all end but there's no escape beyond continuing to slog forward and hoping for the best. Semper Fidelis.
Posted By Captain Dale A. Dye at 8:40 PM in Category:The Pacific War
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