The Great Banzai Charge -
Suddenly, they burst from their positions just ahead of us. They were yelling and screaming, "Banzai! Banzai!" as they started firing at us. Some of their officers were leading with their two-handed Samurai swords. It is a terrible weapon at close range.
We were ready for them. All of our machine guns and mortars started firing, along with many BAR's and M1 rifles. The noise was deafening. The attack was mostly to my right about 75 feet on the other side of the road where most of the trees were. Apparently they preferred this to coming down the road area where they could be seen more easily. I had no definite targets yet, so I was holding my fire.
About then, I heard one of the big guns on a battleship fire. I thought that was strange because I didn't think they could give close support fire during the night. About 10 seconds later, I got the answer when an extremely bright star-shell lit up the sky overhead almost like daytime. Then it slowly descended by parachute.
The Japs were caught by surprise, out in the open. Now, our machine gunners had tartets to shoot at instead of noises in the dark. The Japs suffered heavy losses before deciding to retreat. They did not know how to deal with the light from the star-shell. I'm sure this had never happened to them before. We had not used them on Guadalcanal or Tarawa. I breathed a sigh of relief and was very thankful to the Navy for their wonderful star-shells.
During their attack, they had also tried to land troops behind us with landing barges. The barges had come from Garapan and also Tanapag Harbor just beyond. Luckily, they were discovered when the first star shell was fired. Our destroyers and other craft moved in and sank most of the barges, but it took about all night to do it. We had a close view of the batle, with tracer bullets cutting through the night sky. But some of the barges sank in shallow water with parts of them sticking up. Every night, Japanese snipers occupied them to harass us, until the Navy finished blowing them to pieces.
But the Japanese were not ready to give up yet. After about 20 or 30 minutes of much commotion behind their lines, they tried it again and once more, I heard the big naval gun shoot. Ten seconds later, another star-shell lit up the sky for almost four minutes, exposing many Japs out in the open. Again, our Company machine gunners opened up and cut them down.
Copyright© 2003, Roy William Roush. All Rights Reserved.