Captain Dye's Blog
Sunday, 28 October 2007
Week 12: Guadalcanal Action Nearly Complete and the Cape Gl
The action on Guadalcanal's Bloody Ridge is nearly over and the assaulting Japanese forces have been repulsed with heavy casualties. Platoon Sergeant "Manila John" Basilone and his heavy machinegunners in Sector III of 1/7's defensive line inflicted many of those casualties. At dawn of the morning after the battle there was a sea of dead Japanese soldiers piled up around and among Charlie Company's positions where Basilone and his men spent a hectic and horrifying night plugging gaps and fighting at close range with every weapon available including a brace of 12-gauge shotguns that he obtained by trading with aircrews on Henderson Field. Over one of those positions flies a homemade flag bearing a skull and crossbones and declaring that the area belongs to "Suicide Charley 1st Bn., 7th Marines." The flag maker might have misspelled his company's title, but there was no doubt about the sentiment. LtCol. L.B. Puller reviewed the bloody fight and has recommended a number of Marines including Basilone and Platoon Sergeant Mitchell Paige for the Medal Of Honor. Those recommendations will be approved and the medals will be presented at a 1st Marine Division ceremony in Melbourne when the unit moves there to rest and recuperate. We'll see Major General Vandegrift decorate those Marines in an upcoming episode. Meanwhile, on New Britain, Marines from H-2-1 continue to patrol in the steamy, rain-soaked jungle running into Japanese units desperate to break through a cordon being thrown around Cape Gloucester by the 1st Marine Division and units of the 6th U.S. Army under LtGen. Walter Krueger. The Cape Gloucester campaign is the first time the division has operated under Army control and there are a few Navy Admirals and Marine Generals who hope it's the last time. The jungle crud and incessant rain have made everyone's lives miserable and Marines are walking around with boondockers and uniforms literally rotting off their withered bodies. Morale has suffered accordingly and we are beginning to see some attitude problems among Marines who have reached the limits of their endurance. In mid-week we move to Melbourne and board the movie magic time machine to continue the battle for Peleliu. Chesty Puller has been promoted to full colonel and commands the 1st Marines as they begin the costly assault on the Umorbrogol massif. PFC Eugene Sledge and his fellow mortarmen from K-3-5 will be sent into that meat-grinder to support the attack and we'll be right there alongside them as they attempt to pry fanatical Japanese defenders from caves and coral fortifications. We continue the attack. Semper Fidelis.
Posted By Captain Dale A. Dye at 6:24 AM in Category:The Pacific War
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