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US Army ground units at Iwo Jima

Discussion in 'Land Warfare in the Pacific' started by A-58, Jul 1, 2016.

  1. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    The US 147th Infantry landed at Iwo Jima in support of the Marine landings near Mt. Suribachi. Originally the 147th was intended to be a garrison force once the island was secured, but it was landed earlier than planned. Prior to learning this, I had always thought that the Army's contribution to the fight on Iwo Jima was that of an damaged B-29 landing under direct fire on the airfield that Marines had just cleared a short time earlier.

    Here's what I found in wiki to support their contributions.

    The regiment's next assignment would prove to be their most difficult; in the spring of 1945, the Ohioans fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima. In the early days of the Marine landings, the 147th was ordered to climb from landing craft with grappling hooks to scale a high ridge about 3/4 mile from Mount Suribachi. The mission was to fire on the enemy opposing the Marine landings on the beaches below. They were soon pinned down by heavy Japanese fire, and engaged in non-stop fighting for 31 days. Once the island was declared secure, the regiment was ostensibly there to act as a garrison force, but they soon found themselves locked in a bitter struggle against thousands of stalwart defenders engaging in a last-ditch guerilla campaign to harass the Americans. Using well-supplied caves and tunnel systems, the Japanese resisted American advances. For three months, the 147th slogged across the island, using flamethrowers, grenades, and satchel charges to dig out to enemy. Some sources credit the regiment with killing at least 6,000 Japanese soldiers in those anonymous and merciless small unit actions. The 147th would go on to fight in the bloody Battle of Okinawa, once again in charge of rooting out stubborn Japanese defenders who remained even after the island was declared secure. Company D, which remained on the island of Tinian, earned the distinction of transporting and guarding the Little Boy atomic bomb. When the war ended on 2 September 1945, the 147th Infantry was sent home piecemeal, and the last men to return home arrived in March 1946.

    During World War II, the 147th Infantry Regiment fought in the infamous battles of Guadalcanal, Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima, and
    Okinawa. These battles are often associated with the US Marines, but no US unit other than the 147th fought in all of these battles. Aside from the combat on the battlefield, the 147th was also victim of little press, fighting aside Marines and the Navy, whose units commanded better public relations exposure.
     
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  2. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I had forgotten about them being there. Thanks.
     
  3. firstflabn

    firstflabn recruit

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    Thanks for posting that. My newspaper failed to arrive this morning , and without your extensive wiki quote I would have missed out on my habit of reading the Saturday comics.

    I am familiar with the Marines penchant for exaggeration, but that falls far short of the delusional claims in your presentation.

    Rottman shows the Iwo assault force included an Advanced Detachment from the 147th Infantry's 1st Battalion - and that's all. This was not some ad hoc decision, but part of the original landing plan. I don't find the size of this detachment, but the 147th's losses for the entire campaign were officially reported as 4 WIA (count 'em: 4). If, as wiki says, they wiped out 6,000 enemy with those minimal losses, then I am prepared to be impressed. In fact, if they achieved a 1500:1 loss ratio, they would arguably be the most effective infantry force in the history of warfare (perhaps Desert Storm would provide some competition).

    The main body of the 147th landed on March 21 - 5 days after the island had been secured. They were attached to the 3 MARDIV and participated in mopping up ops around Mt. Suribachi. Those crippling losses mentioned above (count 'em: 4) might very well have been suffered there.

    As to Okinawa, where, according to wiki, the 147th fought in desperate combat - Stanton shows the regiment landing on October 25 and departing 34 days later. I've missed all those accounts of bloody fighting taking place three months after V-J Day. There may be what researchers call a clue in the fact that the 147th did not receive campaign credit for the Ryukyus.

    Are you sure this account came from wiki and not the National Enquirer?
     
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  4. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    Way to win friends. Nice going
     
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  5. R Leonard

    R Leonard Member

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    " , , , infamous battles . . ." Really, "infamous?" Me thinks yon Wiki writer is in desperate need of a remedial English class.
     
  6. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    If you look at the notes in the Wiki article, much of the information was from a news story about a WWII veteran that is quite the yarn spinner.

    http://www.thestate.com/news/local/military/article14335403.html

    First, and the whole Special/Classified unit should raise a red flag;

    "He was then placed in the 147th Infantry Regiment — an elite unit classified secret until 1957 — and trained on skis to battle the Italians in the Alps.
    But the Italians had switched sides and become U.S. allies. So, in January 1944, the regiment was shipped to the south Pacific — “with all our winter clothes,” Sweat said — as unattached special forces serving Gen. Douglas MacArthur."

    Yet the regiment was on Guadalcanal from 4 November 1942. Good trick.

    "He was ordered to Fort Benning, Ga., to undergo rigorous basic training for the U.S. Army’s airborne service, learning to parachute or be deployed by glider."

    Probably not true, unless he washed out of the course and was sent to a leg unit. Now, that would be plausible.

    "But Sweat would not go home for another six months. The Army kept him and other non-commissioned officers from the regiment on Okinawa.
    “They said they were too ‘savage’ to put on the street at home,” said Lucile Sweat, Adolph’s high school sweetheart and wife of 61 years. “That’s the word they used. Savage.”

    Naah, don't buy it, gotta call BS on this one.
     
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  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Well, that explains why I had forgotten them being there.
     
  8. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    You posted:

    "Thanks for posting that. My newspaper failed to arrive this morning , and without your extensive wiki quote I would have missed out on my habit of reading the Saturday comics.

    I am familiar with the Marines penchant for exaggeration, but that falls far short of the delusional claims in your presentation.

    Rottman shows the Iwo assault force included an Advanced Detachment from the 147th Infantry's 1st Battalion - and that's all. This was not some ad hoc decision, but part of the original landing plan. I don't find the size of this detachment, but the 147th's losses for the entire campaign were officially reported as 4 WIA (count 'em: 4). If, as wiki says, they wiped out 6,000 enemy with those minimal losses, then I am prepared to be impressed. In fact, if they achieved a 1500:1 loss ratio, they would arguably be the most effective infantry force in the history of warfare (perhaps Desert Storm would provide some competition).

    The main body of the 147th landed on March 21 - 5 days after the island had been secured. They were attached to the 3 MARDIV and participated in mopping up ops around Mt. Suribachi. Those crippling losses mentioned above (count 'em: 4) might very well have been suffered there.

    As to Okinawa, where, according to wiki, the 147th fought in desperate combat - Stanton shows the regiment landing on October 25 and departing 34 days later. I've missed all those accounts of bloody fighting taking place three months after V-J Day. There may be what researchers call a clue in the fact that the 147th did not receive campaign credit for the Ryukyus.

    Are you sure this account came from wiki and not the National Enquirer?"




    I just posted information that I came across and wanted to share it here, that's all. Pointing out that an Army ground unit was at Iwo Jima. Mostly it was intended to be a friendly jab at USMCPrice and formerjughead. If anyone has information to add to this or anyone's contributions, those clarifications are welcome. I can appreciate having someone who is more knowledgeable on any given piece of subject matter critique, question, rip or shred my posts, but there's no need to be a anal cavity about it. I posted my "flawed" wiki reference in the post. My mistake there. My apologies to those who know better.

    Your reference to the 147th's extended combat for 3 months after VJ Day is not exactly accurate. The 3 months in question is when they were on Iwo Jima, not Okinawa.

    So you didn't miss all those accounts of bloody fighting that went on for 3 months after VJ Day. You read it wrong. No big deal though.

    And the story about the old yarn teller is obviously from an old man who's memory is shot for the most part. I've read about and talked to more than a few old vets who expounded on stories about their part in the war that didn't quite match up to historical timelines and OOBs that I read about. The 147th Infantry was a Ohio National Guard unit, which I agree was not an elite unit in any description of the term. They might have trained at Camp Hale in mountain warfare, but many other units trained there too during the war. The army does that. For example, the 7th Infantry Division trained in Death Valley in expecting to be deployed to North Africa for Operation Torch, but ended up getting sent to the Aleutians, and then stayed in the PTO for the duration of the war. And the part where he said that they were to go to the ETO with the 10th Mountain, but when the Italians surrendered they were sent to the PTO is obviously strained memories as well. The 10th Mountain didn't arrive in Europe until late 1944, sometime in December I believe, and didn't enter into combat until some time in January or February. The surrender of the Italians was in 1943, but many of the die hard Fascists continued fighting with the Germans until the end of the war in Europe. I really doubt that any of that played into the decision on where the 147th ended up. But like I said, the story is from an old man who's memory is not quite like it used to be, and the story was posted by a reported who doesn't know enough or doesn't care enough to research any information the old man told him. Once I talked to a old vet who was in the fighting on Luzon (I forgot what unit he said he was with), and he told me that the 82nd and the 101st was involved in the retaking of Corregidor. Right then I knew his memory was failing him, but I didn't tear into him about it. I did mention that I knew that the 503rd PIR jumped there, and that the 11th Airborne Division made several drops on Luzon later in the campaign, but not the 82nd and the 101st. He swore up and down that they were there. I just got him another beer and listened to his stories. No harm done there. Just an old man with failing memory.

    This post was just to mention that the 147th, an Army ground unit participated in the invasion of Iwo Jima. Not assaulting Mt. Suribachi, not raising the flag there, or being involved in the lions share of the fighting. Just saying that they were there. Agreeably mostly mopping up. And they were there. Like it or not.
     
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  9. Roth

    Roth New Member

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    My father served in the Pacific arena during WWII. He brought home a silk parachute (we kids made millions of parachutes for toy army figures out of it), a Japanese flare gun (stolen from our home) and a Japanese flag with all his buddies signatures on it, my nephew had it framed by a museum in Delaware. It is proudly hung on his wall. Anyway the reason I am writing is I am trying to find out where my dad was during the war. His discharge papers indicate destination and arrival dates but I do not understand the acronyms. Destination on 29 APR 44 is listed as CPTO arriving on 5 MAY 44, no dates for the next acronym WPTO, then the third line reads 19 DEC 45 arriving 31 DEC 45 in USA (this one I understand). Can anyone help? I am new to the site and it looks quite interesting and informative, looking forward to seeing more.
    Roth
     
  10. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    Welcome to the forum Roth. You'll find links to and better feed back in the information section. We'll move this post there eventually :)
     
  11. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    CPTO - Central Pacific Theater of Operations
    WPTO - Western Theater of Operations
     
  12. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    If you can post a copy of his discharge, we may be able to help you a bit more.
     
  13. Kernmayr

    Kernmayr New Member

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    According to the official after action report published by the US Army Garrison Force, which took over control of Iwo Jima from the Marines, the 147th Infantry Regiment during its "mopping up" from 21 March to 26 July 1945 killed 1,602 Japanese and took 867 prisoners. Not included were a large number of enemy soldiers who died in caves and were never found. In return, the 147th and its attachments suffered 24 KIA, 54 WIA and 6 MIA for the month of May 1945 alone. Not as high as what the Marines suffered, but these casualties were not insignificant either. And that was just for one month. As to why their losses were so low in comparison, the men of the 147th could afford to take their time and methodically eliminated Japanese emplacements one by one, maximizing firepower while minimizing losses. The Marines, of course, didn't have that luxury and had to seize their objectives with main force - and paid dearly for it. In addition, the 147th was an extremely experienced and veteran unit, having taken part in several campaigns before they arrived at Iwo Jima, so they didn't have to learn the hard way as much.
     
  14. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    "In fact, if they achieved a 1500:1 ratio, they would have arguably be the most effective infantry force in the history of warfare (perhaps Desert Storm would provide some competition)" -
    D Company 6RAR achieved a 29:1 ratio - 17 dead for 250-500 VC (give or take) during the battle of Long Tan...100 Australians vs 2000+ VC
    Not to forget the Spartans at Thermople (SP?)
    Anyone think of any more ratios in this league?
     
  15. Kernmayr

    Kernmayr New Member

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    The US Army awarded the 147th Infantry Regiment campaign participation credit during World War II for the following campaigns:

    - Air Offensive, Japan
    - Guadalcanal
    - Northern Solomons

    Note that this did not say Ryukus, but the Army's system for awarding campaign participation credit was not the same as the Navy's (and hence, the Marine Corps'). They used different titles for the same campaign, which gives rise to some confusion.

    The Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa falls within the parameters of the "Air Offensive, Japan" campaign for Army units that participated. Here's the gist of the Army's General Order that was issued that lays it all out:

    "War Department General Orders No. 24, 4 March 1947

    6. Campaign: Air Offensive, Japan

    a. Combat zone. -The Islands of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu and surrounding smaller islands of the Japanese homeland, the Japanese portion of Karufuto, and the Kurile, Bonin-Volcano (note: Bonin-Volcano Islands includes Iwo Jima), and Ryukyu Islands, and adjacent waters.

    b. Time limitation. -17 April 1942 to 2 September 1945."

    Have attached the 1947 Graphic Image that depicts the area involved.

    So even though the 147th didn't have "Ryukus Campaign" credit awarded, it was mainly because the Army never specifically designated a "Ryukus Campaign." That was a Navy thing. Bottom Line: The 147th were at Iwo, they did get campaign participation credit for it, and did suffer over 100 casualties from the time they landed on 21 March 1945 (with three battalions) until they completed "mopping up" three months later. Cheers from Marine Corps History Division.
     

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  16. MUSEUM PACIFIC

    MUSEUM PACIFIC New Member

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    Posted 02 July 2016 - 03:34 AM
    The US 147th Infantry landed at Iwo Jima in support of the Marine landings near Mt. Suribachi. Originally the 147th was intended to be a garrison force once the island was secured, but it was landed earlier than planned. Prior to learning this, I had always thought that the Army's contribution to the fight on Iwo Jima was that of an damaged B-29 landing under direct fire on the airfield that Marines had just cleared a short time earlier.

    Here's what I found in wiki to support their contributions.

    The regiment's next assignment would prove to be their most difficult; in the spring of 1945, the Ohioans fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima. In the early days of the Marine landings, the 147th was ordered to climb from landing craft with grappling hooks to scale a high ridge about 3/4 mile from Mount Suribachi. The mission was to fire on the enemy opposing the Marine landings on the beaches below. They were soon pinned down by heavy Japanese fire, and engaged in non-stop fighting for 31 days. Once the island was declared secure, the regiment was ostensibly there to act as a garrison force, but they soon found themselves locked in a bitter struggle against thousands of stalwart defenders engaging in a last-ditch guerilla campaign to harass the Americans. Using well-supplied caves and tunnel systems, the Japanese resisted American advances. For three months, the 147th slogged across the island, using flamethrowers, grenades, and satchel charges to dig out to enemy. Some sources credit the regiment with killing at least 6,000 Japanese soldiers in those anonymous and merciless small unit actions. The 147th would go on to fight in the bloody Battle of Okinawa, once again in charge of rooting out stubborn Japanese defenders who remained even after the island was declared secure. Company D, which remained on the island of Tinian, earned the distinction of transporting and guarding the Little Boy atomic bomb. When the war ended on 2 September 1945, the 147th Infantry was sent home piecemeal, and the last men to return home arrived in March 1946.
    1. In the early days of the Marine landings, the 147th was ordered to climb from landing craft with grappling hooks to scale a high ridge about 3/4 mile from Mount Suribachi. I do not know who wrote this, but official records indicate differences. Only Service Company of the 147th was in the 1st or 2nd wave of landings. The full regiment arrived offshore on 20 March 1945 and landed on secured beaches 21 March 1945. They assumed, “mopping-up” operations on 4 April 1945.
    2. For three (Seventy Days) months, the 147th slogged across the island, using flamethrowers, grenades, and satchel charges to dig out to enemy. Some sources credit the regiment with killing at least 6,000 Japanese soldiers in those anonymous and merciless small unit actions. The 147th would go on to fight in the bloody Battle of Okinawa, once again in charge of rooting out stubborn Japanese defenders who remained even after the island was declared secure.
      Official records indicate units of the 147th Infantry killed 1,602 Japanese and captured 867 POWs.
      During World War II, the 147th Infantry Regiment fought in the infamous battles of Guadalcanal, Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima, and
      Okinawa. These battles are often associated with the US Marines, but no US unit other than the 147th fought in all of these battles. Aside from the combat on the battlefield, the 147th was also victim of little press, fighting aside Marines and the Navy, whose units commanded better public relations exposure.
    3. The regiment, as a whole, only fought on Iwo Jima.
    GUADALCANAL: The 1st Battalion landed on Guadalcanal 4 November 1942 and fought Japanese until 3 February 1943. The 3rd Battalion landed at Koli Point on 29-30 November 1942 and served as security force for the new bomber airfield being built there. The 2nd Battalion arrived at Kukum Beach on 7 February 1943. The island was declared secure on 9 February 1943.
    SAIPAN: Only small elements were in combat on Saipan. The 147th served as occupation troops.
    TINIAN: The 147th served as occupation troops and Co. D, 1st Battalion did guard and help transport the bomb to the Enola Gay.
    OKINAWA: Some junior officers and senior enlisted men were in combat on Okinawa. This was because experienced Marines were being killed or wounded in huge quanities and qualified personnel were needed to fill the ranks. No complete units of the 147th were in action there.
     
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  17. Kernmayr

    Kernmayr New Member

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    Thanks Pacific War Museum! I also was able to make it to the National Archives at College Park, Maryland on Weds. and viewed the original records, kept in 3 overstuffed folders - all of them from their activation all the way up to their last duty at Okinawa. The record shows that during their time on Iwo Jima, where they were "Just" mopping up (actually they were involved in quite a significant amount of combat with die-hard Japanese), the regiment suffered 15 KIA and 144 WIA, and that's just battle casualties. Not included are those evacuated due to sickness or injury, which usually parallels the number of wounded. So there you have it - rather than delusional claims or the Sunday comics, it seems that the 147th Infantry contributed their fair share to the taking of the island - 159 battle casualties is not insignificant. The official report also confirms that the regiment, between 21 March and 30 June 1945, killed 1,619 and captured 873 Japanese. Though less than the 6,000 enemy dead claimed in some accounts, again, 1,619 is not an insignificant number. All told, the regiment accounted for nearly 2,500 of the enemy at Iwo Jima.
     
  18. JABQ04

    JABQ04 New Member

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    Hello all, first time poster. My grandfather served in E Co. 2nd BN 147 Infantry in Iwo Jima. He was from Texas and was drafted in 1943. I recently came into possession of over 200 letters he wrote to my grandmother as well as few papers from the 2/147, including a regimental history and a list of all awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge for Iwo. Over the next several weeks I Plan on scanning and digitalizing these documents.
     
  19. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Wow. I look forward to reading what you have.
    If you would like, create a separate thread here
     
  20. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member

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    I agree! I hope you'll consider posting some of what you have.
     

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