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first shots in Endo's battle to seize Topside were fired by F Company 1000 yards
east of Wheeler Point at 10:30 PM the night of the 18th when a 500 man force of
shouting, cheering Japanese in the eastern attack force came out of the Battery
Smith magazine charging four abreast down Belt Line Road toward Battery Hearn.
In a fierce protracted night battle, F Company's riflemen at Battery
Hearn stopped the marines dead in their tracks. Private Lloyd McCarter would win
the Medal of Honor that night for his part in the battle. The first phase of
Endo's plan for his eastern column to storm Topside Barracks by attacking down
Beltline Road ended in dismal failure. The
marines suffered heavy casualties at the hands of F Company riflemen and only a
mere handful of the marines would ever reach the parade ground and they would be
dispatched quickly by the headquarters troops quartered there.
The second part of the attack would begin a few hours later after Endo's
western column had marched noiselessly up Cheney Ravine to battle the intrepid
rifleman of D Company in the early morning darkness.
was sometime after one o'clock in the morning when nearly 900 Japanese marines
under Lieutenant Endo assembled near the western end of Cheney Trail. The column
quickly and quietly climbed up the winding trail, cut out of the steep western
wall of Cheney Ravine and finally reached Topside 500 feet above the rocky
western beaches, they had left more than an hour ago.
Lieutenant Endo must have been greatly pleased by his good fortune when
he reached the high ground at Topside without being discovered. His attack
column walked to within 50 yards of the two 2d platoon squads, looking down from
their perches high above Cheney Trail in the rear of Battery Cheney, but the men
neither heard nor saw the Japanese attackers in the black moonless night.