Fighting On Guadalcanal
Government Printing Office, 1943
LT. COL. FRISBEE XO, Seventh Marines, 1st Marine Division
I hope the Army is being toughened up. We toughened up by bivouacking--not camping-- at the combat ranges. We lived at these combat ranges. In order to keep those platoons off the road, we made the platoons keep off the road, we made the platoons march in the fields alongside the road when they moved from one combat to another. ''We insist on overhead cover for fox holes because of the Japanese motor fire. In doing this you have to guard against the men building these fox holes up too high above the level of the ground. ''The other day we received a peculiar order which we carried out, but which I did not believe. We were ordered to establish Platoon listening posts. In my opinion I thought this was in error, as the listening posts should either be a squad or company. The platoon was no good, as it was not strong enough. ''TRY TO TEACH YOUR MEN NOT TO STEAL FROM EACH OTHER AND ADJACENT UNITS. If you could do this, you will save yourself a lot of trouble.''
GENERAL ED SEBREE, Assistant Division Commander, Americal Division
"We have found it profitable to bring successful patrol leaders back to the OP's of the motors and artillery and let them direct the fire. We get these patrol leaders back to these points as soon as possible. The basis of this type of warfare is scouting and patrolling. "You asked about individual cooking. Yes, in my opinion the troops should know this, but it is not practical for units who are not close to water to cook that way, as they cannot clean their mess gear properly and dysentery is the result. These units put the 'C' ration--stew or bean--can in their mouth and eat that way. You will notice as you go to the 164th Infantry that the Regimental Commander is relieving units that have been taking hot and heavy from the enemy, and also units who are on that ridge up there where there is no water and where the sun is beating down in the thick tropical grass.
MAJOR GENERAL BEN. J. NORTHRIDGE, C. O. 2nd Battalion, 164 Infantry
"We like this M1 rifle, but we don't like the way the front end shines. ''If I could train my men over again, I would put officers and men in slit trenches and drop bombs nearby to overcome fear. We were all scared to death at first. Let's overcome this fear. How about firing some captured 25 caliber ammunition out of captured rifles to let officers and men know the sound; also Jap machine gun ammunition out of captured machine guns. ''We are learning to get shoes off men at night if the tactical situation permits. If I could train my Battalion again I would have some maneuvers in which things were made to go wrong--communications upset, etc., and I would observe which leaders are no good and replace them on the spot--not later. ''I understand that in the U. S., troops in training for this type of warfare are practicing at short ranges. That is fine. ''The Japanese powder is more smokeless than ours. We need smokeless powder.'' (Note: The reason the Japanese bullet, when it is fired, does not make as much smoke is probably because not as much powder is needed to propel a 25 caliber as is needed to send a 30 caliber bullet on its way.)
Debrief of CAPTAIN H. L. CROOK, C. O. 3rd Battalion, 164 Infantry.
''We need better trained scouts. The poor scouts lose their lives. ''When we first got here the Japanese fooled us as they like to place their machine guns on the reverse slope of the ridge, shooting upwards. ''Our rifle grenades have been effective against hidden machine gun positions. You have to KILL those Japs before they will leave. Just turning a large volume of fire in his direction will not make him leave. ''The time to have air observation is when we attack. At other times when our planes go over, the Japanese keep down and keep still.''
CAPTAIN JOHN A. GOSSETT, C. O. Company H, 164 Infantry
''Teach the men capacities of the hand grenades; and handling men!. I thought I knew how to handle men, but since I have been here I have revised my ideas as I have learned a great deal. I have learned the primitive, rough and tumble way. You can't pat all men on the back. You have to be rough with some in order to get results. It is not my nature to be rough, but I am forcing myself, and I have learned which of my men I can pat on the back and which I have to deal with in the hardest manner.
SARGENT L. R. LANG, Platoon Sargent, Company E, 164th Infantry.
''Are we getting more small hand radios?. Man, they're sure needed, for communication within the company and within the Battalion is tough. ''Sir, are our men in the U. S. receiving individual training? I notice here that when I have to put 2 men out for say 48 hours, most of the men are upset unless they have a NCO along. ''For Pete's sake, Sir, teach the men not to be 'trigger happy'. (Note: An expression used on Guadalcanal for men who are very nervous and who fire without seeing the enemy. This type of man is dangerous and has caused a lot of trouble. He has also given the position away.) ''Are we getting a glass sight for the M1 for sniper work?''
Thanks to Arnold Gladson --USMC-- Class of 1942
copyright 2000 Wheaton, Illinois
Created 18 November 2000
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