America at war! (1941–) – Part 4

The Pittsburgh Press (March 8, 1945)

Yanks across Rhine

First Army seizes bridgehead, drives into heart of Reich

Marines nearing north tip of Iwo

Strong Jap defenses still to be overcome

GUAM (UP) – The 3rd Marine Division drove to the northern edge of the central plateau of Iwo Island and plunged down toward the northern beaches, only a few hundred yards away, in savage fighting today.

A breakthrough to the coast would split the last few thousand Japs holding out in pillboxes and gun emplacements studding the north and northeast coasts.

But those last few hundred yards were as the crow flies. It was considerably farther over the rocky ground, laced with steep crevasses and bristling with defenses.

Gain along coasts

The 4th and 5th Marine Divisions, fighting north along the east and west coasts, also hammered out new gains in what had literally become a battle to the death with the remnants of the enemy garrison.

Maj. Gen. Harry Schmidt, commander of the Marine invasion corps, said the campaign had been “even tougher than we figured, and we figured it tough from the very start.” He described the island as the most heavily-defended spot in the history of warfare and said the remaining Japs would have to be “crowded out of their holes and killed one by one.”

Drive 500 yards

The veteran 3rd Division at the center of the line reached the northern rim of the 300-foot central plateau after an advance of some 500 yards in hand-to-hand combat yesterday.

The 5th Division, on the west flank, also advanced up to 500 yards, but the 4th Division was able to push ahead only 100 to 200 yards on the east flank against bitter enemy resistance.

Carrier planes continued their daily attacks on Chichi and Haha in the Bonin Islands, just north of Iwo. A Navy Liberator bombed and strafed two enemy cargo ships north of the Bonins.

Hit by Jap shell burst –
Hero of Guadalcanal killed in first wave of Iwo attack

Sgt. Basilone held Medal of Honor
By Lisle Shoemaker, United Press staff writer

Sgt. John F. Basilone

WITH THE 5TH MARINE DIVISION, Iwo Jima (Feb. 21, delayed) – Marine Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, who won the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroism on Guadalcanal, was killed early on the first day of the assault on Iwo.

Sgt. Basilone, a handsome, dark-haired boy from Raritan, New Jersey, was in one of the early D-Day waves which swarmed ashore on this bloody, volcanic fortress island. He was, then, one of the handful of living holders of the Congressional Medal.

Sgt. Basilone led his machine-gun platoon to Iwo’s deadly beach. He was directing the platoon’s progress inland when a Jap artillery burst killed him instantly. He had been leading his men toward a spot where they could set up their guns. His last words before the shell burst were, “All right, you guys, let’s go on in there and set up these guns for firing.”

Modest, almost shy

Except under the stress of combat, Sgt. Basilone was quiet, modest, almost shy. He was extremely embarrassed whenever anyone asked him about his Medal of Honor.

Everybody who knew him said he was a tremendous asset to the newly-formed 5th Marine Division. This division, as such, went into action for the first time here. Among its personnel, however, were many veterans of other Pacific island campaigns.

Sgt. Basilone, 28, was the son of an Italian-born father. He won the Medal of Honor for action with the 1st Marine Division in the Lunga area of Guadalcanal on October 24-25, 1942.

Kills 38 Japs

The Japs made a savage and determined assault on the Marines’ defensive positions. With all but two of his men out of action firing a machine-gun and a pistol, Sgt. Basilone piled up 38 Jap bodies in front of his emplacement. He was credited with a major part in the near annihilation of an enemy regiment.

With his ammunition critically low, Sgt. Basilone fought his way through enemy lines to get and bring back bullets for his gunners.

Sgt. Basilone was born in Buffalo, New York. He served in the Army before joining the Marines. At the time of his death, he had been in the Armed Forces about eight years. In July 1944, he was married to Sgt. Lena Riggi of Oakland, California, a member of the Marine Women’s Reserve.

He was the first enlisted Marine to win the nation’s highest award for valor.

Underground reports –
Hitler admits Germany has lost

Orders devastation of country

Patton swims cold river to inspire Yank crossing

Thousands of troops follow general, fight ‘like madmen’ over stream in Germany

U.S. losses rise 10,600 to 823,632

WASHINGTON (UP) – U.S. combat casualties announced here reached 823,632 today, an increase of 10,600 over a week ago.

The total included 732,922 Army casualties through February 28, as announced by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, and 90,710 Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard casualties, as announced by the Navy.

The figures:

Army Navy Total
Killed 142,285 34,513 176,798
Wounded 438,734 41,209 479,943
Missing 91,237 10,671 101,908
Prisoners 60,666 4,317 64,983
TOTALS 732,922 90,710 823,632

Secretary Stimson said more than half of the Army wounded, 221,155, have returned to duty.

Problems of death

By Florence Fisher Parry

Latest Mrs. Flynn expected to sue actor for divorce

Wife awaited in Hollywood

Ickes doubts UMW will strike

Fuels chief cites serious situation

In Washington –
House passes bill to draft single nurses

Marriage deadline set for March 15

Yanks clearing Batangas area below Manila

17 Jap ships blasted in Far East raids

First B-29 raid on Wake reported

UNRRA critics put blame on Washington

Action, no results brings censure
By Charles T. Lucey, Scripps-Howard staff writer

Britain hangs Boston soldier for murder of taxi driver

Paratrooper shows no emotion at gallows – dancer-accomplice starts life term

Roosevelt ends Hyde Park visit

Spends weekend resting and working

Men turned into torches as Japs set fire to ship

Navy tells story of assault-transport which survived attack to land men in Philippines

Four accused in charity racket

1,350 U.S. heavies blast Ruhr Valley

Oil and railway targets hammered

Philippine puppet captured by Yanks

Aguinaldo served on Jap-created council

Million Nazi troops captured since D-Day

On Italian front –
Allies tighten hold on peaks near Bologna

Sharp skirmishes as 5th Army mops up

War leaves Cologne cathedral scarred and strewn with rubble

By John B. McDermott, United Press staff writer

Editorial: Pray for his success