Monday, July 25, 2011


Soldiers of the 3rd Marine Division transport their wounded down Nimitz Hill
On July 25 - this day - sixty-seven years ago, the Japanese and the Americans were still duking it out on what the Americans called "Fonte Ridge," what we call today "Nimitz Hill," and what Chamorros called, before any of these others got here, Libugon.  Lt. General Takashina, highest Japanese commander on Guam, assembled 5,000 soldiers on Nimitz Hill by July 25 to launch a counter-attack against the ascending Americans, slowly moving up from the Asan beach head.

American control of Nimitz Hill was absolutely necessary for the Americans to push north.  Had Nimitz Hill remained in Japanese hands, they would have commanded the high ground over-looking Apra Harbor and Orote Peninsula, as well as central Guam.
Advance of the 3rd Marine Division
July 22-26

Progress was made by yards, not by miles, on a given day in those first days, as seen in the map above.  The Americans had to fight their way up hill, and the mud created on that reddish clay soil from heavy rains did not help.  At one point, the Japanese broke through a weak spot in the American lines and got within firing range of a U.S. field hospital.  Wounded Americans trying to get stitched back together leapt off operating tables to grab their guns and fight back the charging Japanese.

The Japanese would often drink all afternoon and evening and then attack in the dark of night, drunk as a skunk.  These tactics were called "Banzai Attacks."  On the night of July 25-26, the Japanese launched a Banzai Attack against the Americans on Fonte Ridge (Nimitz Hill/Libugon).  In the morning, most of them were dead.

This video clip of a biker enjoying the trails of Nimitz Hill (Libugon) gives you an idea of what the terrain looked like this time sixty-seven years ago, minus the bombs and bullets and dead bodies.

No comments:

Post a Comment