Both sides leadership review losses and attempt to boost the men’s morale. It is tough going for both sides and neither force reduces the growing count on Morale losses in each Battalion.
In an effort to give the men a break the Marine call in arty strikes all across the board. However the big 105’s splash harmlessly in the Ocean. Battalion command and Gunnery officers scream at each other as rounds fall all over the place.
Finally local mortar rounds suppress enough IJA so the Marines can attempt to charge the position.
The IJA fight fiercely nicking away at the Marines, as they push on platoon up to get spotting the IJA pound it with small arms fire to suppress then attack.
But the effort against the wily Japs is paying dividends. 4/2/ #1 Battalion accrues significant morale losses.
At 1220 the US arty scatters this time not into the ocean but on top of 5th Marine companies. Sigh…
Arty is waived off and pin point accurate mortar fire once again saves the Marines from massive assaults. This however does not prevent several banzai charges from occurring!
2/5ths of one platoon is wiped out near the sandspit, and more are killed in the jungle.
5th Marine charges in, their attack prompts a Banzai charge which leaves bodies riddled on the damp ground. The Marines are shocked. With several platoons of men all suffering casualties many from bayonets they hunker down. The Banzai attacks continue to increase in frequency. The more losses the Marines inflict the more frequently the Japs charge in desperation! But they are Marines. There is no retreat before the storm. They stand to, they also will not Retreat to Save themselves… A deadly battle of wills ensues. They hunker down when needed and hold on.
Step by step each side fires away. Barrels glow, ammo runs low.
Finally some effective Arty lands on target. Rather than sit taking the 75mm and 105mm rounds, the Japs charge. 3 rounds of melee leave them all dead and more losses for the Marines.
From the thatch huts in Mantanikau their 75mm guns open fire. Missing the half track moving down the Government road. The ½ track respond [P-Fire] and blast the guns and the hut to bits.
All along the river line and coastal area the Japanese fire at the advancing Americans.
Suppressing the advance and wounding the soldiers who are struck seemingly from every thicket.
US commanders rally the men and recover 2 morale points the Japanese just one.
Mantanikau suffers a fierce fire storm of 155mm and 105mm arty. Some of which kills Japanese other rounds hits friendlies again. It may be time for the 1/7 via Higgins soon!
Now the 1st Battalion of the IJA 4/1 forms up. The remnants charge into the teeth of the Marine advance. All but one platoon dies. Losses are horrific for the US, with many Marine platoons down to 1/5th of strength. Lima company again bears the brunt losing a full platoon and despite combining into powerful fire roups are reduced to under 50% strength.
The smell of cordite, blood and shit mingle with the wet odour of the undergrowth. Ashiro Numagata looks around at the 40 men in his Battalion. His men. The First Battalion of the 2nd Regiment 4th Division are no more.
Blood weeps from wounds on his hands, face and torso. The sweat blends with the blood to run freely down his soft round face, and soak into his tunic.
Ashamed of his shaking hand he holds his sword high one last time.
He then raises a pistol to his head and pulls the trigger.
India, Lima and Kilo companies pour into the gap and cross the stream to close on their objective. They prepare to do it all again.
Further inland the Log Bridge is now in Marine hands and phase 2 of the battle plan can now take place.
The Marines indeed decide now is the time to activate the 1/7 and land via Higgins boats.