I am left with trying to reconstruct the plan of that night, the
18th, from memory and what
notes I could find. As best I can recollect, Lt. Browne, S-3 of 2nd Battalion
came to my Command Post in a bombed out building on the Cheney Ravine end of the
"Long Barracks" about 11:00 hours that day and instructed me to take
and hold the two small hills about 300 yards toward Cheney Ravine.
I made a reconnaissance, then divided the company into 2 platoons, since
we were decimated by casualties. I
put Lt. Bill Calhoun in command of the left flank hill attacking force, while I took the right hill attacking force.
carried the two hills by about 1400-1500 hours.
As soon as the men dug in, I sent every man but a few back to supply,
with instructions to hurry over and hurry back with all the ammo they could
carry. It was lonesome out
there with a skeleton crew, because in case of a counterattack with much force
we would not have been able to hold it. Fortunately
that did not occur and we were soon back together again with plenty of small
arms ammo, frag and W.P. grenades, and 60 mm mortar rounds.
day was waning by then. As we approached the twilight, but not there, we heard
the firing start up on the company's left flank where Al Turinsky's
"D" Company was busy. I
do not recall any order to tie the defence with Turinsky and seem to think that
each company was to set up strong points on the objective assigned and to hold,
since the distance between strong points was so short and the absence of
cover so universal out there that everyone could see everyone else.
We had a good idea where Al Turinsky was and the firing got our attention
so we would not be firing into them.
not sure when the Banzai attack got going.
Seems to me it was about 2300 hours, when we began hearing them whooping
and hollering down at the ocean shoreline.
This became organized, into
one voice yelling for a few seconds, then
the crowd roaring Banzai! Banzai! Banzai! It
went on for maybe an hour or so and then the fire fight began.
I'm not sure if the firing started with "D" Co. or
"F" Co. but it was soon all along that front.
The Japs were soon very close to us and I never heard so many grenades go
off before, or since. The Nips had
plenty and we had plenty and to this day I feel the hair stand up on the back of
my neck when some child fires a cap pistol near me.
It sounds so much like a grenade cap going off.
was well toward noon the next day before the situation was under control in our
area and one could move about without getting shot at.
We learned about ten that Al had been killed and "D" Company
pretty badly mauled. We were happy
when Browne pulled "F" Co. back to the vicinity of the old Post
Exchange-Post Theatre for some rest. I'm
not sure but seem to remember that we counted 135 Japs dead in and around our
Japanese made their only sustained effort to recapture Topside. They had held their better trained troops, the marines, in
bombproof shelters in the Grubbs Ravine area and had sent two forces up to take
Topside. The north force struck
"F" Company and the south force struck "D" company.
I think they held their poorer trained troops in defensive positions
since it takes less training to defend than to attack.
still had seen no movement from the other half of our company. Bailey's
narrative explains why. They were still having their own problems.