Re: Battle for Attu Island, May 11th 1943
Greetings, Stephen Newell !
This is only a partial answer to this and to your prevuous inquiries.
The Alutian Islands Campaign started with the Japanese,
flying from two light cruisers, first striking the air fields at Unalaska, 4 June 42. Due to weather and poor visibility, there reportedly was very little damage inflicted.
On 7 June 1942, two landing forces (Japanese) struck at Kiska and Attu, where they were met with little opposition, and captured them easily.
Our side decided that the Aleutians were key to any possible operation in the Central Pacific. I am sure that the fact that the Islands were the only US ownedterritories to be captured by the Japanese in North America, must have weighed on that decision.
On 11 May 43, the 11,000-man US 7th Infantry Division invaded Attu at Holtz and Massacre Bay, against a Japanese garrison of 2,600 men.
This engagement ended with 2,350 Japanese killed and 28 captured. The US lost 552 killed, 1,140 wounded and about 500 who were weather-related casualties.
My Stanton "WW II Order of Battle" reference reveals that the 17th Infantry Regiment assaulted Attu, 11 May 43, under severe weather conditions, attacking toward Jarmin Pass.
With its sister regiment, the 32nd, joining the assault,
12 May 43;
the Japanese abandoned their positions there 17 May 43.
The division took a strongly defended Clevesy Pass,
21 May 43. Japanese rsistance collapsed by month's end.
The combined 17th IR and 184th IR landed on Kiska, which had been abandoned, 15 Aug 43.
Another reference "2194 Days of War..WW II...", provides a chronology of the operations on Attu, but only the fountainhead, 7th Infantry Division, is specifically identified:
10 May 43;
Japanese troops on Attu Is. alerted a week before about possible invasion by Amercan forces by reports from Japanese Intelligence, stood down, convenced that the action was probably canceled in view of adverse weather conditions.
11 May 43;
The US 7th ID lands at several ponts on Attu Is. The units land in the afternoon in Massacre Bay, at Alexai Point, west of Holtz Bay in the northern part of the island.
The landing forces advance towards Jarmin Pass, but at about 7:00 PM, they are held up by intense fire from defending troops on either side of the pass.
12 May 43:
The 7th ID converges on Jarmin Pass from two directions.
13 May 43;
The Americans remain pretty well pinned in their origal positiins, by Japanese fire.
15 May 43;
The attack at Massacre Bay continues, but with little progress;
Holtz Bay is discovered to have been abandoned in the night;
as the US forces advanced beyond Holtz Bay, they encounted heavy fire, with severe losses sustained.
17 May 43;
The units advance beyond Holtz Bay, and occupy the positions abandoned earlier by the Japanese.
18 May 43;
US forces coming from the north (Holtz Bay)and those from the south (Massacre Bay) joined up.
28 May 43;
The Japanese, already squeezed into tne Chhicaof Harbor area, take refuge in the surrounding mountains. The Americans drop leaflets on them, encourging their surrender.
29 May 43;
The Japanese come down form the mountains in absolute silence, and deliver a violent counter-attack, which carried them into the American positions. Savage fighting continues all that day and during the following night.
30 May 43;
All organized Japanese resistance ceased, but with a heavy toll in casualties. We lost 550 dead and 1,140 wounded on 29 May 43, alone.
Japanese losses were even more stagering; the entire garrison of 2,352 committed suicide, 500 by hand granades.
31 May 43;
American troops surveyed the entire island for survivors; there were none, like Jonesville, they found only corpses.
There was no other reference to the Aleutians.
I still can't answer the North/South question.
Perhaps you can match the date of his awards with a specific action listed above.
I do hope that this casts at least a little light on your quest.
Louie F. Turner