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Only one military organization can hold and gain ground in war-a ground army supported by tactical aviation with supply lines guarded by the navy.
-- General Omar Bradley
Monday, 8 December.
Report made by Capt. B. d. Godbold, Commanding "D" Battery F.D.R. 0700 two officers, Capt. Godbold, F.B.D. and Lt. Grealy with enlisted men moved to the battery position by truck as ordered. In addition to his duties as battery commander, Capt. Godbold acted as Peale Island Strong Point Commander. 0730 Battery reported manned and realy, to Island Commander, C.P. Director, height finder, power plant. 3 guns manned, 4 gun directors, power plants, and 02 sandbagged prior to occupation of position.
Heightfinder position was not sandbagged and there were no shelters for personnel, except protection of emplacements, 75 rounds of ammunition were in the battery magazine (located 75 yards from the battery and underground). 0900. 60 rounds of ammunition at guns 1, 2 and 4, were removed from cardboard containers and made ready for firing.
1000. Executive Officer ordered Battery Commander to keep one gun, director, height finder and powerplant manned at all times. Remainder of personnel to work improving position.
1015. Crew of gun 4 left battery position with tractor and trailer to fill sandbags near bridge connecting Peal and Wake Islands.
1140. Noon meal arrived and was served in the road opposite gun four. Crew of gun 1 and 4, of director and heightfinder ordered to obtain their food, returning to gun and posts immediately.
1150. While a portion of the above mentioned personnel were still on the road, 27 Japanese Bombers at an altitude of approximately 1500 ft. were observed over the air field in the direction of camp 3. Battery engaged the planes, and guns 1 and 2 fired a total of 40 rounds. No bombs fell near the battery position, and there were not casualties to the battery personnel or material.. No enemies were observed to be hit by the battery. It was difficult to deliver effective fire due to the low altitude of the planes. In addition visibility was very poor due to light rain falling during the raid. Sandbag emplacements around guns 1 and 2 gave in during firing. This was caused by failure to fire guns prior to laying the sandbags and because of deterioration of the bags. The telephone line to the position 2 was shot out during the raid and 02 personnel returned to the position at 1215. Due to the shortage of personnel at the battery and because of the difficulty of maintaining communication, the 02 station was secured. In the afternoon caved in positions were repaired and the director emplacement was improved. Gas masks, hand grenades, .30 cal. ammunition and .45 cal. ammunition were delivered to the battery position.
1600 18 men reported to the battery position for duty. 16 were assigned to gun 3 and under Sgt. Bowsher as chief of section the remaining two men were assigned to Batterty Hdqs. as lookouts. A station wagon was turned over to the battery by the contractors and it proved to be invaluable during the several days of battle.
1900 set night watch consisting of
--- (a) Combination talker and lookout on each gun and at director and HF.
--- (b) NCO in charge of lookouts posted at director
--- (c) In addition to their organization lookouts, the 5" battery was ordered to post a sentry on patrol on Toke Point .
--- (d) The 4 .50 cal. MG., were ordered to keep one man on watch at each gun at all taimes.
2000 Detail of 4 men returned to camp 1 for battery bedding.
Tuesday, 9 Dec.
0500 Set condition 1 which consisted of
--- (a) All phones manned.
--- (b) All persnnel in emplacments.
--- (c) LOOKOUT AT EACH GUN AND AT DIRECTOR AND LOOKOUT AT HEIGHTFINDER.
0700 Set condition 2 which consisted of
--- (a) All phones manned,
--- (b) All personnel in emplacements,
--- (c) 3 lookouts one each of 2 guns and at director, and one lookout at heightfinder.
0900 Commenced building sandbag emplacements for height finder and improving all guns and directors emplacements. Cor. Marvin left battery position with a tractor and trailer to haul sandbags filled by civilians.
1145 27 Japanese bombers raided island from the east at an altitude of 13,000 ft. Guns 1 and 2 and 4 fired on the enemy and 2 planes left the island smoking. One of the damaged planes was observed by the heightfinder to explode and crash into the ocean some distance from the island. Gun 3 did not fire due to a short firing pin. 100 rds. were fired by the battery, no bombs fell into the battery area.
1215 Corp. Marvin returned to the battery position with a slight wound iri his head, after treatment by corpsmen he returned to his gun station.
1245. Set condition 2, in the afternoon continued work improving gun and director emplacements.
1930. With the assistance of .50 cal. MG, personnel and 5" personnel we commenced moving food from Marine storeroom to distribute it over island.
2400. Completed hauling food or dispersing food from storeroom.
Wed. 10 Dec.
0500 Set condition 1.
0700 Set condtion 2.
1045 Island raided by 2 formations of Japanese bombers from the east at an altitude of 1800 ft. Just as the planes were sighted power plant went out of control. One formation of 9 planes bombed battery position, bombs fell on reef off Toke Point. Formation flew to north circled, again coming over battery. Only 8 planes participated in the second run. 1 plane believed shot down as it was observed smoking after first run. On second run, the battery again fired by local control, the bombs falling in lagoon near battery. During the second attack, the lanyard on gun 3 broke. But gun captain hastily replaced it with new lanyard to resume firing. No casualties to pesonnel, 275 round were fired by ba ttery.
1115 Power plant temporarily repaired.
1145 Set condition 2 during PH, continued improving emplacements. Heightfinder emplacements completed. Power plant permanently repaired. Installing a small diesel power plant from Campt 2. .
1245 Set condition 2 in afternoon.
1715 900 rds. of 3" AA amunition and 600 rds. of 3" armor piercing ammunition delivered to battery. AA ammunition placed in battery magazine and AP ammunition dispensed in small dumps near battery positions.
1900 Set regular night watches
Thursday 11 December
0400 Received information that enemy ships were sighted near island
0500 Japanese warships begin shelling island. No retaliation by battery.
0600 "B" Battery opened fire on enemy destroyer off Kuku point. First remaining under well camouflaged positions until enemy drew very close. Fire directed toward our battery. No material or personnel casualties.
0945 18 Jap bombers raided island northeast at an altitude of 18,300 ft. Battery engaged planes and fired 125 rounds. 3 planes to lee observed smoking, 1 plane reported to have crashed in ocean of Wilkes. Some bombs falling near battery positions and buildings on Peal Is. There were no casualties to battery (mateiral or personnel).
1400 Ordered to move battery to east end of Peal Isl. during coming night
1500 Battery Comdr. and firing battery officer reconnoitered over battery positions. More substantial naturalized position to camouflaged was determined.
1715 Red flare observed about 200 yds. in the air, some 4000 yds. northeast. This was reported to Is. CP. during the intervals of about 10 minutes. Two more flares were observed in the same locality.
1745 Secured all battery watches, commenced moving battery to new implacements. Due to shortage of new sandbags, cement bags and ammunition boxes, fi11ed with sand were used to construct implacements, thanks to civilian personne1.
Friday 12 Dec.
0445 Completed the new establishment of new positions.
0500 Is. raided by one lap patrol plane. No bombs fell near battery position. No retaliation as plane was no observed.
0700 Set condition 2. Emplacements were improved and camouflaged.
1700 Set condition 1.
1900 Set regular night watches. Two additional posts were established along the beach 400 yds toward Toki Point, the other stationed at Peale Island end of bridge. Continued during the night, improvements on emplacements
Saturday, 13 December
0500 Set condition 1. Replaced natural camouflage materials.
0700 Set condition 2. Improved emplacments during the day
1700 Set condition 1.
1900 Set regular night watches improving emplacements by camouflaged means, during early part of evening.
Sunday, 14 December
0345 One enemy patrol bomber attacked island. No bombs dropped near battery. We did not fire.
0500 Set condition 2.
1700 Set condition 1
1900 Set regular night watches. Work was comenced on a large dugout for all battery personnel near the new hospital building. Improve shelters at guns, especially at gun 2.
Monday, 15 December
Set condition 1. Replaced natural camouflage materials.
0700 Set condition 2. Gun shelters completed during the day. Heightfinder shelters commenced.
1700 Set condition 1.
1730 Battery lookouts reported one lone plane visible in low clouds in east. A short time later reported to CP. Plane did not reappear.
1800 4 enemy patrol planes attacked island. Battery position machine gunned. Heavy ca1. bombs dropped on reef near battery. No casualties to battery material or personne1. Battery did not fire.
1900 Set regular night watches. Continued work on large shelters during night.
Tuesday, 16 December,
0550 Set condition 1. Replaced natural camouflages.
0700 Set condition 2. Continued work on large battery dugout during the day. Heightfinder shelter completed.
1300 Friendly plane reported enemy bomber approaching island from the east at 18,000 ft. Enemy planes in 2 formations of 9 planes each. Ba tlery engaged planes and fired 95 rounds. Several planes were observed smoking as they continued on. 1 enemy plane reported having crashed in ocean some distance out. Bombs dropped in lagoon near battery. No casualties to entire battery.
1415 Set condition 2.
1700 Set condi tion 1.
1800 Island raided by enemy patrol planes, heavy ca1. bombs dropped across road from battery. Battery positions heavily machine gunned. Battery did not fire. No casualties to personnel or materia1.
1900 Set regular watches. Battery dugout completed during the night. Dugout for director personnel commenced. 2 go battery from Marine garage, Schneider and LePore.
Wednesday, 17 December
0500 Set condition 1. Natural camouflage material replaced.
0700 Set condition 2. Dugout for director personnel completed.
1330 Lone enemy plane reported flying high over island. Battery unable to locate plane.
1415 Set condition 2.
0100 Set condition 1.
1900 Set regular night watches. Director dugout completed during night.
Thursday, 18 December,
0500 Set condition 1. Replaced natural camouflaged materials.
0700 Set condition 2.
1130 27 enemy bombers attacked island from the northeast. The battery engaged the planes at 18,000 ft. firing 70 rounds. 1 plane left the island smoking. Bombs fell near the battery but there were no personnel or mateiral casualties.
1215 Set condition 2.
1700 Set condition 1.
1900 Set regular night watches.
Friday, 19 December,
Planes atacked the island from the northwest. Gun Capt. gun 2 reported them. Battery engaged them at 18,600 ft., firing total of 70 rounds. 1 plane left the island smoking. One enemy aviator observed to parachute from plane too far out to see and to be rescued off Peacock. No bombs fell on battery or casualties to personnel or material.
1214 Set condition 2.
1700 Set condition 2.
1900 Set regular night watches. During the night work on a second large dugout shelter was commenced 50 yds. from the completed one.
Saturday, 20 December.
0500 Set condition 1. Replace natural camouflage material.
0700 Set condition 2.
1600 One PBY arrived Midway Island.
1700 Set condition 1.
1900 Set regular night watches. Work on second large dugout continued.
Sunday, 21 December.
0500 Set condition 1. Replaced natural camouflage material.
0700 Set condition 2. One plane took off for Midway Island.
0900 Attacked by carrier base planes. Battery position dive bombed and heavily machine gunned. Battery did not fire due to low visibility, no casualties.
Monday, 22 December.
0930 Battery personnel ordered to large dugout. Remained there one hour.
1045 Set condition 1. Work not resumed on account of anticipation of carrier ships near, probably escorted by ships of fighter ability.
0145 Island again attacked by 2 formations of lap. bombers coming from due east, first drawing our fire by bombing our field and "E" Battery so that second formation could concentrate their bomb sighting on our position. Our battery opened fire. Failed to see second formation until they had released their bombs. The director pit was hit. Totally destroying director. One casualty and 3 injured.
0200 Battery personnel ordered to keep under cover except for 2 lookouts.
0430 1 casualty buried. Gun Capts. ordered to report to "E" Battery. Gun 2 moved to "E" Batttery. Civilians were started on digging a dugout. Helping also with sandbag emplacments.
0500 Gun 2 in position, ready to fire. Cable not connected until 0545.
Tuesday, 23 December.
0700 Set condition 1.
1145 Island attacked by bombers; took cover in dugout which was not completed. Bombs fell close in lagoon. There were no casualties to personnel or materials. 0245 Island attacked by ships for landing party. Fired several rounds toward enemy troops. Too dark for observation of results. Surrender of island.
Note: by Captain B. D. Godbold USMC, Battery D, 1st Defense Battalion
This Day in History
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The frigate USS Essex
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