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Galloping Horse Ridge

Discussions on WW2 in the Pacific and the Sino-Japanese War.
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Galloping Horse Ridge

Postby Peter H on 18 Nov 2007 12:20

The movie The Thin Red Line as its centrepiece portrays the Battle of Galloping Horse Ridge on Guadalcanal.

This describes the real battle there in January 1943:

http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/7338/gc.html

Col. William A. McCulloch's 27th Infantry led the assault on Galloping Horse at first light on 10 January. In support, six field artillery battalions tried an innovation Collins hoped would deny the enemy the usual warning given when rounds fired from the nearest battery struck before those of the main concentration, allowing troops in the open to seek cover and move equipment. Called "time on target," the technique depended on careful firing sequencing so that all initial projectiles from whatever direction and distance landed at the same time. Thereafter the batteries would fire into the kill zone continuously but at irregular intervals through an extended period, thirty minutes in this case. The technique seemed to be effective, for soldiers later advancing through such zones found little opposition.

The 1st and 3d Battalions led off the 27th Infantry attack, hitting the Galloping Horse at the forelegs and tail. In the early hours the battalions had more trouble with the steep cliffs, deep ravines, and thick jungle of the island. As they moved up the slopes of objectives they found stiff enemy resistance from hidden bunkers. Expecting fire from rifles, machine guns, and small mortars, the Americans were somewhat surprised that the Japanese had managed to muscle the much heavier 37-mm. and 70-mm. pieces atop the sharp hills. The 1st Battalion made better progress than the 3d, but by the second day both units experienced another problem: a shortage of water. The Americans had expected that the many streams on mountainous Guadalcanal would provide water inland and were surprised to find most stream beds dry. The need to transport water threatened to slow operations seriously.

At the end of the second day the 3d Battalion slumped into a night position more than 800 meters short of the head of Galloping Horse, exhausted by enemy resistance and water shortage. Colonel McCulloch pulled the unit back for a rest and moved the 2d Battalion up to continue the advance along the body of the Horse. Company E soon stalled against a ridgeline between Hills 52 and 53. For the men involved, the battle now evolved into intense struggles between fire teams and individuals in the hot jungle and steep ravines. Capt. Charles W. Davis saw only one way to end the stalemate. Taking four men and all the grenades they could carry, he led his party in a crawl up to the enemy strongpoint. The Japanese threw grenades first, but they failed to explode. Davis and his men threw theirs, then charged before the enemy could recover from the blasts. Firing rifles and pistols into the position, Davis and his men finished off the stub-born enemy, and Company E swept up the ridge. For his initiative Davis was awarded the Medal of Honor.

As if in reward, a heavy rain began shortly after Company E took the ridge. Their thirst relieved, the men of the 27th Infantry prepared to take the rest of the Galloping Horse. After Colonel McCulloch put the fire of three artillery battalions on Hill 53, the head of the Horse, company-size assaults from two directions swept forward through the feeble resistance of starving and sickly Japanese. By the afternoon of 13 January McCulloch's men held the entire Galloping Horse hill mass.



McCulloch(1889-1959) was later a Brigadier General,Assistant Commander of the Americal Division 1843-1944.

Medal of Honor holder Charles W. Davis(1917-1991) retired from the US Army as a Colonel after 32 years of service.
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Postby Peter H on 18 Nov 2007 12:29

Medal of Honor citation for Davis:

Charles W. Davis
Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Army, 25th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Guadalcanal Island, 12 January 1943.

Entered service at: Montgomery, Ala. Birth: Gordo, Ala. G.O. No.: 40, 17 July 1943. Citation: For distinguishing himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy on Guadalcanal Island. On 12 January 1943, Maj. Davis (then Capt.), executive officer of an infantry battalion, volunteered to carry instructions to the leading companies of his battalion which had been caught in crossfire from Japanese machineguns. With complete disregard for his own safety, he made his way to the trapped units, delivered the instructions, supervised their execution, and remained overnight in this exposed position. On the following day, Maj. Davis again volunteered to lead an assault on the Japanese position which was holding up the advance. When his rifle jammed at its first shot, he drew his pistol (M1911) and, waving his men on, led the assault over the top of the hill. Electrified by this action, another body of soldiers followed and seized the hill. The capture of this position broke Japanese resistance and the battalion was then able to proceed and secure the corps objective. The courage and leadership displayed by Maj. Davis inspired the entire battalion and unquestionably led to the success of its attack.


Congressional Medal of Honor Citations, U.S. Army Center of Military History
http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/moh1.htm


Montgomery Honors Only WWII Medal of Honor Recipient
http://www.wsfa.com/Global/story.asp?S= ... =menu33_19
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Postby Peter H on 18 Nov 2007 12:32

Galloping Horse Ridge,named after its shape from an aerial photo:

http://ibiblio.net/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-G ... al-11.html

Image


Map of the attack here:

http://ibiblio.net/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-G ... al-XIV.jpg
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Postby Peter H on 18 Nov 2007 12:44

From; http://www.geocities.jp/a_sbjfg395/7_ma ... a_burn.htm

Veteran William Burn's photos from the battle:

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Postby Peter H on 18 Nov 2007 13:10

Colonel Davis; Arlington National Cemetery Section 7-A

From: http://www.kolchak.org/History/MOH/davis.htm

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Postby Peter H on 18 Nov 2007 13:24

"The Wolfhounds at Guadalcanal"

http://www.kolchak.org/History/WWII/wwiiguad.htm


The 25th Infantry Division:

http://www.medalofhonor.com/25thInfantry.htm

WORLD WAR II


PEARL HARBOR - These units operated for only ten weeks in peace before the Japanese launched their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor , December 7, 1941. Immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor, both the 24th and the 25th were dispatched to their defensive positions. The 24th deployed to the North Shore of Oahu and the 25th to the beaches on the south side of the island. Under threat of another Japanese attack, the following year was spent in these defensive positions while units concentrated on intensive jungle training. Throughout the War, the Hawaiian Islands served as the major command and control, deployment, and training center for the US Army in the Pacific Theater.



GUADALCANAL - After finally receiving the call to combat on November 25, 1942, the 25th Infantry Division began its deployment by troop ship to the South Pacific, landing on Guadalcanal between December 17, 1942 and January 4, 1943. The Division led by Major General Lawton Collins, received orders upon arrival to launch an attack against the Japanese forces which other Army and Marine Corps contingents had been fighting for nearly five months. After a month of bitter combat, the 25th Infantry Division proved to be the element that tipped the scales in favor of the US side. The speed with which the Division executed its mission earned it the informal nickname of "Tropic Lightning."



NORTH SOLOMON ISLANDS - The next combat action for the Division took place in the Solomon Islands. The 27th and the 35th regiments and the newly attached 161st Infantry Regiment of the Washington Army National Guard (The Hawaiian National Guard's 298th Infantry Regiment was released on 3 August 1942 to protect its home state) defeated Japanese Forces on Arundel (Kohinggo) and Kolombangera Islands and participated in the capture of Vella LaVella.

PHILIPPINES - Following the Solomon campaigns the Division headed for New Zealand and subsequently New Caledonia, for a period of rest as well as intensive training. By that time, most units had been depleted by harsh jungle battles against a highly motivated enemy.

The rest didn't last long before the Division received orders to land at Luzon in the Philippine Islands on January 11, 1945.

Once in country, Divisional units quickly pushed from the Lingayen Gulf to the main highway through Balete Pass where they joined forces with the 32d Infantry Division. By the time the 25th captured the Balete Pass, it had suffered more combat deaths than any other U.S. Division in the Philippines. With the Battle of Luzon at a close, "Tropic Lightning" was moved to Camp Patrick to prepare for the invasion of Japan.

In 165 days of continuous active combat in the Philippines, the 25th accounted for more than 6,000 Japanese killed and set the record for combat endurance in the Pacific Theater of Operations. The record was recognized with the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation as well as six other unit citations.

JAPAN - The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki precluded the plan to invade Japan. Instead, the 25th took part in the Occupation of Japan after the surrender. It had become characteristic of the men of the 25th to go beyond what was expected of them. In peace, as in war, Tropic Lightning put its heart processing the war's refugees and homeless. The 27th Infantry Wolfhounds and the "Automatic" Eight Field Artillery Regiment founded an orphanage at Osaka for the war's forgotten children. Since the end of that tour the men of the Wolfhounds and Automatic Eight have supported the orphanage, building it into one of the finest in the Orient.

All told six Division soldiers were awarded Medals of Honor for their bravery and sacrifice during WWII.

ADOPTION OF NICKNAME AND PATCH - During late 1943, the Division's shoulder patch, a lightning bolt superimposed on a taro leaf, was formally adopted. The 25th Division has used "lightning" as the telephone call sign for Division Headquarters' arrival on Guadalcanal in December 1942.

The "lightning" epithet was adopted because of the speed with which the Division conducted it's operation on Guadalcanal. The marines, too, added to the eventual institutionalized use of the nickname by calling the unit the Lightning Division.

Lightning was subsequently changed to Tropic Lightning, because it was rationalized the Division had spent its entire existence in the tropics.

The taro leaf of the shoulder patch is reminiscent of the birth of the 25th from elements of the famous Hawaiian Division, and suggestive of the pacific region where the Division was established and where it had fought so well. The native taro plant further signifies the Division's birthplace with its often brilliantly colored, arrow-shaped leaves.

The bolt of lightning symbolized speed and aggressive spirit - a trait the Division continually displayed during its battles in the Pacific. The colors of red and gold were those of the late Hawaiian monarchy.

In a break from tradition, the Department of the Army officially approved the use of the nickname Tropic Lightning on August 3, 1953. Authorization for the Division to use the nickname, in addition to its regular numerical designation, marked the first time that a divisional unit had been given this kind of permission by the Department of the Army.

WORLD WAR II
Medal of Honor Recipients
SGT. William G. Fournier - Co. M, 35th Infantry
T/5 Lewis Hall - Co. M, 35th Infantry
CPT Charles W. Davis - 2nd Bn, 27th Infantry
T/4 Laverne Parrish - Med. Det., 161 Infantry
MSG Charles L. McGaha - Co. G, 35th Infantry
SSG Raymond H. Cooley - Co. B, 27th Infantry
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Postby Peter H on 22 Nov 2007 05:42

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