The Boys of H Company

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by silvestermk2, Oct 13, 2010.

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  1. Currently watching the drama-doc The boys of H Company on More4 about Iwo Jima. It includes interviews with those who fought there on both sides and the reconstructions are fairly well done as well.

    What really comes across is just how ineffective the pre-landing bombardment was and how the US marines paid a terrible price in lives because of this. In particular the corpsmen who were the target of Jap snipers and were often killed when attending the wounded.

    i have nothing but admiration for the marines that endured that place in 1945.

    The program is followed by the film Flags of our Fathers so that's me sorted for the evening.
  2. I Sky+'d it. Looked good though from what i saw. Give us a bit of a critique so as to save me watching it if it's crap !

  3. I only saw the second half it was very interesting hats off to them marines dont think I would have been able to go through all that
  4. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    The book "Letters from Iwo Jima" by Kumiko Kakehashi is IMHO one of the strangest and most interesting books I've read for some time, and is definatly better than Clint Eastwoods film,well worth a read
  5. I haven't read 'Letters .........' but the film was a pile of pro Japanese bollox from an historically correct perspective. As for the Jap' Olympic horseman ............. utter crap; he was a hardened Japanese Samurai. The tactics used by the Japs were never going to endear them to the Allies. As a movie for those with no knowledge of the real history the Letter movie is a far better narrative than Flags was, which is a shame.

    I don't doubt the courage of either side nor their staminas or forebearance but I'm firmly on the side of the Yanks. Different motovations and motivators. VERY different. Okinawa also illustrates like Iwo that forcing your men to commit suicide in pointless Banzai charges or fragging themselves in their tunnels or torturing / mutilating prisoners to death did their own long term goals no good at all. And the footage on Okinawa of women jumping off cliffs rather than be captured is still harrowing.

    I've had the honour to know men who were prisoners of the Germans or the Japanese and the difference in their views of their captors is very different.

  6. The think the documentary is well worth a look, it is quite long (about 2hrs IIRC) which does give it chance to tell some of the soldiers deeds in good detail. For example how a corpsman won a medal of honour trying to treat wounded men whilst he himself was wounded. It also shows how the jap soldiers would do anything to kill as many americans as poss before often taking their own lives. Hearing the old boys talk about their experiences and what they went through are probably the highlights, but the dramatised parts of the documentary (interspersed with footage from the time) are also done quite well. for me the most interesting aspect that I hadn't considered before was just how reluctant the marines were to explore the tunnel system on the island even when they realised that this was the key aspect of the jap defence. Instead they were just content to block up each entrance as they found it and seemingly hope it wouldn't be used again.
  7. I turned it off as soon as the dramatisations started. I neither want nor need dramatisations in such programmes. Either make a drama or show what footage there is. Mixing the two just reinforces the fact that actors dust themselves down then walk away and pick-up a pay-cheque.
  8. Have you read "With the Old Breed" by Eugene Sledge? He openly states that the Marines (understandably) had a burning hatred of the Japanese and that, coupled with the Japanese fanatacism, resulted in battles in which no quarter was given.

    By the time of Okinawa the Japanese had long since given up Banzai charges (I think they only used them on Guadal Canal and they were never successful) but the Americans still seemed to fear them. They tended to rely on in depth defensive positions and holding fire until the Americans had advanced to a point were maximum casualties could be inflicted.

    Robert Leckie's "Helmet for my Pillow" is also quite good but doesn't convey the brutality of the combat as Sledge's book does.

  9. The Largest Banzai of the war happened on Saipan on the night of 7 July 1944. Over 3,000 Men, a Dozen Tanks. The Banzai hit at the point where 1st & 2nd Bn's 105th Infantry Regt. were.

    the 2 Bn's lost 650 men that night, and 3 Medals of Honor (All Posthumous)
    Sgt. Baker, A co. who wounded was being carried away and some of the litter bearers were hit. Sgt. Baker not wanting more men to become casualties evacuating him demanded to propped against a tree, given a cigarette and a M1911A1. His corpse was found the next morning with seven dead japanese around him.

    Ltc. O'Neil, 1st Bn CO- last seen manning a .50 mounted on a Jeep firing into the charge and surrounded by japanese

    Capt. Salomen, 2nd Bn Surgeon, when japanese overran his aid station and started to bayonet wounded,I'll let his citation speak for the ferocity of the battle


    For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

    Captain Ben L. Salomon was serving at Saipan, in the Marianas Islands on July 7, 1944, as the Surgeon for the 2nd Battalion, 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division.

    The Regiment’s 1st and 2d Battalions were attacked by an overwhelming force estimated between 3,000 and 5,000 Japanese soldiers. It was one of the largest attacks attempted in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Although both units fought furiously, the enemy soon penetrated the Battalions’ combined perimeter and inflicted overwhelming casualties.
    In the first minutes of the attack, approximately 30 wounded soldiers walked, crawled, or were carried into Captain Salomon’s aid station, and the small tent soon filled with wounded men. As the perimeter began to be overrun, it became increasingly difficult for Captain Salomon to work on the wounded.

    He then saw a Japanese soldier bayoneting one of the wounded soldiers lying near the tent. Firing from a squatting position, Captain Salomon quickly killed the enemy soldier. Then, as he turned his attention back to the wounded, two more Japanese soldiers appeared in the front entrance of the tent. As these enemy soldiers were killed, four more crawled under the tent walls. Rushing them, Captain Salomon kicked the knife out of the hand of one, shot another, and bayoneted a third. Captain Salomon butted the fourth enemy soldier in the stomach and a wounded comrade then shot and killed the enemy soldier.

    Realizing the gravity of the situation, Captain Salomon ordered the wounded to make their way as best they could back to the regimental aid station, while he attempted to hold off the enemy until they were clear. Captain Salomon then grabbed a rifle from one of the wounded and rushed out of the tent.

    After four men were killed while manning a machine gun, Captain Salomon took control of it. When his body was later found, 98 dead enemy soldiers were piled in front of his position. Captain Salomon’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

    Parts of 3rd Bn 10th Marines were overrun and the gunners had to remove the breechblocks before retreating to the beach. The 104th Field Artillery direct layed their guns and set fuzes for almost point blank detonation while also using carbines to defend their battery positions. The charge was eventually stopped by a Army, Marine, Navy effort and 4,300 dead Japanese were counted in the aftermath.

    EDIT: attempted to make Citation more eye friendly and not a wall of text
  10. In what way does a Banzai differ from "going over the top" in WW1, or a Highland charge of the 17th or 18th century?
  11. Whoops...guess I was misinformed.

    Pretty harrowing stuff. Wouldn't like to be on the receiving end of that. Did any success against the British?

  12. I may be wrong, but I dont believe the average British/Commonwealth Soldier was hoping to die for the King. As compared to the average Japanese Soldier raised to believe it was the utmost glory to die for the Living God Emperor.

    Edit: spelling
  13. Wholly different cultures and traditions as well. These must be accounted for in such comparisons. In addition, while(st) there are no doubt instances in the trenches of WWI of using a rum ration for a bit of added "courage," the use of drugs and alcohol (as well as a line of officers and troops behind to force all to charge) among the Japanese was much more widespread.