Four days after the bloody struggle to come ashore on Iwo Jima’s fire-swept black volcanic sand beaches, a patrol from 28th Marines was ordered to the top of the sullen volcanic lump that dominated the six square miles of sulphur and rock. The seven-man patrol under the Executive Officer of Easy Company, 28th Marines raised a small flag. The flag, difficult to see from the beach, was replaced by a larger one retrieved from one of the LSTs offshore supporting the landing. Five Marines and one Navy Corpsman labored under fire to plant the larger colors into the rocky ground. The raising of the second, larger flag was captured by Joe Rosenthal, and became the most iconic and reproduced image in the history of photography.
Many commonly believe that the raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi signaled the end of the fight for Iwo Jima. In reality, twenty-two more days of relentless and ferocious savagery lay ahead. It was not until 26 March 1945 that Iwo Jima was declared secured. Of the six men who raised the flag on Suribachi, three, Sgt Mike Strank, Cpl Harlan Block, and PFC Franklin Sousley, would die on the island, along with more than 6,800 others, mostly Marines. A fourth flag raiser, Second Class Hospital Corpsman John Bradley, was among the more than 19,000 wounded. The man who took the motion picture footage from the same vantage as Rosenthal, Marine Combat Cameraman Bill Genaust, was later killed in one of Suribachi’s hundreds of caves.
Bradley received a Navy Cross for his actions in combat on 21 February, and Strank a Bronze Star. Bill Genaust also received a Bronze Star.
The above movie is the approximately 20 minute production called “To the Shores of Iwo Jima”. Well worth the time, as it is a grim and unvarnished look at the titanic struggle for Iwo. Seldom have the words of a senior officer been so accurate, or heartfelt, as when Admiral Chester Nimitz described the fight for the island.
Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue
Filed under Air Force, armor, Artillery, Defense, doctrine, ducks, guns, history, infantry, leadership, logistics, marines, navy, Personal, ships, SIR!, veterans, war, weapons, World War II
…before Jackass Cat finishes it. He is already almost out of catnip. Little doper.
Another excellent Christmas gift from our gracious host. I have been remiss in not posting this earlier. Thanks, XBRAD. Your gift will let me stay warm inside when the wind chill is -30 (like today), or when forced to contemplate our invertebrate Chief Executive, or our eroding liberties, or our lemming-like voter base….
Filed under army, ARMY TRAINING, budget, Cold War, infantry, logistics, marines, obama, Personal, recruiting, SIR!, Sox, Uncategorized, veterans
George C. Marshall’s tenure as Deputy Commandant of the Infantry School was marked by many innovations in the training of Infantry officers of the inter-war years. One of his innovations was the use of training films. They’re ubiquitous now, but were a rather radical idea at the time. There is certainly no substitute for actually training on a given learning objective. But before the “doing” part, it certainly helps to give an overview of how a certain task should be done. Yes, of course the doctrinal manuals are the authoritative resource. But the dramatic enactment of doctrinally sound operations makes it easier for the student to grasp the fundamentals of the learning objective.
The 29th Infantry Regiment was (and still is, for that matter) the “schoolhouse” regiment at Ft. Benning, providing troops upon which officers at career schools can practice the roles and missions they’ll assume at ever higher levels of responsibility. Having studied a particular task on paper (or film) in the classroom, the students go to the woods of Ft. Benning’s various training areas and put into practice that which they’ve learned.
Marshall was famous for making such learning exercises as difficult as possible through various means, such as providing inadequate maps, or simply no maps at all! Other times, he would issue orders with deliberate ambiguities. The goal wasn’t merely to create officers who could execute the steps of a learning checklist, but rather determine which officers could thrive in the confusion of war, those who could discern the wheat from the chaff.
Of all the events of the Twentieth Century, it is the First World War that has had the most dramatic and longest-lasting impact on the psyche of Western civilization, more so than all the events that followed. For anyone with an abiding interest in that war, the 1964 BBC documentary The Great War is an invaluable reference to understanding. Narrated by Sir Michael Redgrave, the 26-part documentary is a superbly-crafted work. The tenor of the broadcasts reflects the erosion of the naïve hopes of the warring parties in 1914 into the grim fatalism that the years of slaughter evoked, and the upheaval that would ultimately topple the crowned heads of Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Serbia. BBC producers make excellent use of voice to read the actual words of the key participants such as Edward Grey, Bethmann-Hollweg, Conrad von Hotzendorf, Joffre, Haig, Falkenhayn, and others. The series features remarkable and little-seen motion footage of the world of 1914-18, including the civilians, the politicians, the armies, and the great battles of that war. The battle footage heavily emphasizes the two great killers of that war (in inverse order), the machine gun, and modern breech-loading recoil-dampened artillery.
Of note also are the poignant, and sometimes extremely moving, interviews with the participants of events of the great tragedy. Some had been in the thick of the fighting, others young subalterns or staff officers at the sleeve of the decision-makers. Most remarkably, the BBC managed to produce a documentary about momentous events that changed the world and yet also managed to allow the viewer insight into the inestimable human tragedy that these events summoned. At the time of the release of The Great War, those events were closer in time to the audience than the beginning of the Vietnam War is to our contemporary world. The twenty-six episodes are around forty minutes each. Worth every second of the time spent.
Oh, and as the credits roll at the end of each episode, one can spot the name of a very young (19 years old) contributor named Max Hastings.
Filed under Air Force, armor, army, Around the web, Artillery, Defense, doctrine, gaza, guns, history, infantry, iraq, islam, israel, logistics, marines, navy, planes, Politics, Syria, veterans, war, weapons
Alte kamerad LTCOL P, Marine artilleryman extraordinaire, has a great piece about a great piece. He points out some pretty sobering stats from the continuing effort to make ground combat a co-ed sport.
In the 155 mm Artillery Lift and Carry, a test simulating ordnance stowing, volunteers had to pick up a 95 lb. artillery round and carry it 50 meters in under 2 minutes. Noted the report, “Less than 1% of men, compared to 28.2% of women, could not complete the 155 mm artillery round lift and carry in the allotted time.” If trainees had to “shoulder the round and/or carry multiple rounds, the 28.2% failure rate would increase.”
As LTCOL P points out, such a test is in no way, shape, or form anywhere near realistic. The HE M107 projectile is 95 pounds, a tad heavier with lifting eyebolt. I would posit that making the test the moving of ten or twenty of those projectiles over, say, 100 meters, BEGINS to get to what kind of heavy manual labor is involved in being a field artilleryman. I would doubt severely that any female tested could get anywhere close to passing that particular test. And that is simply a beginning test. Try it after several days of 3 hours’ sleep in the snow or in yesterday’s rainwater, or in the 115 degree heat, after displacing twice in four hours and digging in spades each time.
You can be guaranteed the feminists and their spineless apologists in uniform will continue to find ways to obfuscate and slant results such as these and continue to scream for she-warriors who are the physical equivalent of men, when they are not being helpless victims, of course. Our present and future enemies must be awfully impressed.
Filed under 120mm, armor, army, Around the web, Artillery, Defense, doctrine, girls, guns, history, infantry, logistics, marines, Politics, Splodey, stupid, Uncategorized, veterans, war, weapons
ICYMI, Bruce MacKinnon, the editorial cartoonist for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, created one of the most moving tributes I’ve seen since the Challenger accident.
The unknown soldier aids the unarmed guard.
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was just 24. Rest in peace, sir.
An interesting and informative look at the truly herculean effort sometimes overlooked in the epic that was World War II.
Salvaging and reclaiming tanks and vehicles destroyed in combat was sometimes a disturbingly gruesome task, as the late Belton Cooper wrote so eloquently about. But the salvage effort was truly impressive, and saved the cost of manufacture, transport, and time to supply the gigantic American arsenal in Europe and the Pacific with the spare parts needed to keep fighting.
Filed under Air Force, armor, army, Around the web, Artillery, budget, Defense, guns, history, infantry, marines, navy, Uncategorized, veterans, war, weapons