Captain Dye's Blog
Friday, 11 January 2008
Week 26: Melbourne magic for some; back to war for others
Unlike the 1st MarDiv Marines we are emulating, we all enjoyed three weeks of annual leave over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Now we are back in the fight...or at least the 5th and 7th Marines are...as they continue to pound away at tenacious Japanese defenders on Peleliu. For PFC Robert Leckie and his shipmates from 1st Marines life is a little easier and a whole lot safer. They are still enjoying a post-Guadalcanal liberty binge in Melbourne, Australia where Leckie has begun a whirlwind wartime romance. In the coming weeks, the party will come to an abrupt and jarring end as Major General Rupertus replaces Major General Vandegrift as Division CG and sends the hung-over infantry outfits to the wild outback for some serious training and re-conditioning. We'll stay with Leckie and his buddies through that and right up until they leave Australia and head back for the Palau Campaign. And that campaign is in full brutal and battering swing for PFC Eugene Sledge and his Weapons Platoon buddies from K-3-5 as they assault the Umurbrogol massif in an effort to burn and blast the stubborn Japanese defenders out of their caves and bunkers. We are beginning to see significant examples of the Marine Corps' World War II "Corkscrew Tactics" in this effort. Using that methodology, infantry units pin Japanese defenders in place, blow holes in their rocky positions like popping the cork out of a wine bottle, and then use incendiary weapons to reduce the hard-points. We'll see infantrymen using innovative variations on demolitions techniques including demo on jerry-rigged poles and suspended from ropes to blast their way into the Umurbrogol defenses. We'll also see innovative uses of rifle grenades, flame-throwers, white phosphorous grenades and bazookas in this brawl. On a sad and depressing note,
K-3-5 has lost its beloved Company Commander while fighting northward on Peleliu. A Japanese sniper killed Captain Andrew A. Haldane (known as Ack Ack to his Marines) while the CO was conducting a leader's recon in Peleliu's infamous Death Valley area. With the Skipper's death and the continuing carnage they are facing, morale in King Company has plummeted. It's now up to the salty sergeants and corporals to re-motivate their Marines and continue the fight until a replacement company commander is assigned. There's still a lot of fighting to be done on Peleliu and we'll be jumping back in time soon to be with K-3-5 and
H-2-1 as they negotiate the crossing of the Peleliu airfield, described by Sledge as the most terrifying experience he had throughout the entire war. As our predecessors did in 1944, we continue the attack. Semper Fidelis.
Posted By Captain Dale A. Dye at 8:06 PM in Category:The Pacific War
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