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May 27, 2023, 7 tweets


As GEN Douglas MacArthur’s forces advanced towards the Philippines, they required airstrips which could accommodate heavy bombers. The airfields on Biak Island, at the western end of New Guinea, made the island a prime target.

On 27 MAY the 41st ID began its attack when the first wave landed as planned, but strong currents pushed follow-on units west of their designated beaches. The Japanese garrison was surprised and offered little early resistance.
#USArmy #TRADOC #WW2 #WW2History #Armyhistory

The heat, thick vegetation, rugged terrain, and Japanese entrenched in caves in a 200-foot-high cliff slowed the U.S. advance, but 162d Infantry Regiment patrols had reached within 200yards of the airfields by the following morning.
#ShermanTank #MilitaryHistory

The 162d was repulsed by a strong counterattack, fighting an unseen enemy until ordered to withdraw in late afternoon. Another enemy counterattack supported by light tanks followed the next morning but was quickly broken by the 162d and the U.S.’s superior M4 Sherman tanks.

The enemy regrouped for another attack as the Americans recognized the necessity of clearing the high ground. The 41st ID received reattachment of its 163d RCT and reinforcement with the 34th RCT of the 24th ID by 1 JUN.

Meanwhile the 186th Infantry, which occupied the plateau overlooking the landing beaches, pushed westward. As the 162d along the coastal road pinned the Japanese defenders down, the 186th attacked the East Caves from the rear.

Fighting devolved into a bloody struggle for every foot of the island as the Japanese defenders fought to the death, their casualties mounting to more than ten times the American killed in action. Biak Island was completely secured by mid-AUG.

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