Special Edition
Via Direct Wire from AP
Off Roi Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, Feb. 1, 1944
Written by Robert Trimbul

Source: SLC Memorabilia Collection

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This morning we hear the continuous rumble of bombs and shells exploding on Roi and Namur Islands which are still hidden from our view by a hazy smoke cloud raised by US bombardment of the past 48 hours.

The bombardment by battleships, cruisers and destroyers began yesterday at dawn and with bombing and strafing from carrier planes, continued all day long. Tremendous smoke clouds from exploding oil tanks and other stores swirled somberly in the soft light of a quarter moon.

Yesterdays landings were a preliminary to the main assault. Before that is accomplished Roi and Namur will have received the heavies, most concentrated pounding in history, making 5000 tons of Naval shells at minimum, plus continuous bombing from aircraft.

As a brisk northeast trade wind occasionally clears the smoke we can see through our glasses that Roi and Naur, which yesterday stood green and proud, now is terribly broken and burning. The Japanese there have had no sleep and certainly must be "Bomb Happy". Each of these islands which are connected by narrow sandbars and man made causeways is less than a mile in area and the devastation wrought by our ferocious attack must be terrific.

Our first landing on an island near Roi was made at 0951 yesterday morning. There was little firing. The marines using mostly hand grenades wiped out the Japanese. Immediately supplies began to land on the narrow beach without opposition, and thus, 2 years to the day since Admiral Halseys carrier Force first attacked the Marshalls, our Marines landed, strengthened and held in the first invasion of Japans prewar empire. The commander of this Northern force, Rear Admiral Richard "Close In" Conolly commanded Halsey's destroyer forces for the two years preceding this day.

At 1010 the first wave of "4th" Marines hit the beach of another small island flanking Roi apparently without resistance. Twenty minutes later this island was reported secured. Meanwhile snipers harassed Marines on the first island invaded but at 1209 all opposition had ceased. Our casualties were light. The shore commanders reported, the Japanese prisoners were sent out to the flagship.

Landings were made on 3 other islands during the afternoon. The last landing yesterday was made at 2200, Marines going ashore walking upright. This island was reported secured by 1812. [Note Evident typo on time of 2200 or 1812]

Meanwhile incessant pounding Roi and Namur continued, great explosions marking hits on oil and gasoline storages rumbled like distant thunder.

Except for a few shells fired at our barking cruisers yesterday morning and the quickly silenced anti-aircraft guns, which was ineffective, the landing waves met little opposition on Roi and Namur.

This Task Force, the largest assembled in history, made passage to the Marshalls and without interceptions, it was more like a pleasure cruise than a grim cruise to war. Troops hunting by day and walking cool decks by night, warming tropic moon on gentle sea.

The deck of this ship was crowded with sunbathers as we steamed boldly into the Marshalls themselves, entering the Japs central Pacific stronghold. With un-relaxed vigilance but taking only routing measures for we had that confidence that comes of great strength.

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Marshall Island Invasion Progress: Evening Bulletin

No Date on article or Name of who wrote it.

US Marines are mopping up almost all enemy resistance today on Roi and Namur Islands after heaviest Naval bombardment and bombing in history, before the American forces landed. Smashed bodies of littered Japanese blown from pillboxes to the story of heavy deliberate and accurate pounding from the sea. There was plenty of evidence that the Japs were completely surprised. They mush have deluded themselves into believing that we did not have the power or the heart to knock at the center of their Marshall stronghold. Reeling Japs who survived the infernal shellfire, had only small arms to fire at Marines from battered blockhouses as they landed shortly before yester noon. Shore batteries had been blown sky high. Marines moved hastily through dead Japs, but ran into spotty resistance on Roi Island, mild opposition from snipers on Roi was quickly squelched and harassed Jap troops escaped over a causeway to join Japs left on Namur nearly two hundred yards across Namur. On their first blow the Marines began blasting out the enemy. The Navy began blasting out the enemy pillbox after pillbox, the rest of the way across the island.

I landed shortly after the assault began yester noon on Namur. The Jap defenses not only were knocked out, but so were the minds of those who had miraculously managed to live through the terrific bombing and shelling that tore tops off of trees as if they were matchsticks. Defense fortifications were pulverized and the defenders were paralyzed. Japs sped from trees and the ruins of pillboxes. Marines picked off hundreds of them before nightfall the first day. After dark the Japs began infiltrating but were systematically thwarted. The Marines took home prisoners including crack Naval Guard Forces who had all the cockiness taken out of them. They looked frightened. One trembling prisoner told an American Officer, Lieut. William Brown of Scarsdale, NY, that he and others on the Island knew the Japanese no longer had a chance to win the war.

All buildings on Namur were razed except one badly battered concrete structure. Only steel frame work hangars on Roi were left standing. Coral runways on Roi were pocked bomb craters, as was Namur's cocoanut grove and beach area. Marines used the craters for foxholes until they had time to dig in which took until about nightfall of the first day, then it began. I slept in a foxhole with Lt. Clark Huney of Chicago, IL. and Corp. Leonard C. Riley of Boston, MA. Enemy bullets whined overhead throughout the darkness. Our casualties were light. I saw one pillbox where 18 Japanese, including several officers, had been exterminated by Naval bombardment. Their charred and broken bodies were mixed among the debris. Two prisoners were taken from it. At Namur was left a mass of debris. A steel crane had its end twisted like so much wire. Ammunition dumps exploded in the middle of the island and I was showered with rocks, concrete and wood. Barracks once dotted mamur? and they were marked off by streets. The streets and barracks were hard to find. Maps given to us to find our way around were outdated after the savage salvos from the Navy's big guns. The day before the Marines landed on Roi and Namur you could see the mushroom of white smoke rising sometimes as high as a thousand feet as munition and fuel dumps were hit. Dead Japs bodies sent up a sweet sickening smell and Marines began to move further away to new foxholes until they could find time to bury the Japs. The enemy is expected to be cleaned out, except for isolated snipers by night fall.

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