Dad’s Role in Operation Iceberg, Part 2, April 4-7, 1945

My dad’s notes ended on April 3, 1945. According to several sources, I do know that the 383rd started to face strong opposition on April 4. My dad was part of the 3rd Battalion and the map below shows the movement of the troops between April 3 to April 8. The Battalion my dad was in moved south along the west coast of Okinawa.

The area was wooded and the weather was rainy on April 4 and 5.  On those dates, the 383rd/3rd Battalion made the deepest penetration but had to back up to Mashiki. There were airstrikes on April 6th and through rounds of frontal assaults, the 2nd Battalion captured Cactus Ridge on April 7 and the 96th Division Deadeyes were gearing up to fight for Kakuzu Ridge.

My dad, Private Harry J Rice Jr, was a Light Machine Gunner 604. From what I was told, there were 4 men that worked together that were BAR teams. My dad would decide where the machine gun would be set up, there was a gunner, an assistant gunner, and an ammunition bearer.  According to the Military Yearbook, “the supervisory level was responsible for the control and coordination of machine gun squads and tactical employment of the weapons. Must be capable of making rapid and accurate range estimation and determining the speed of moving targets”. Below is a photo of what I believe is an example of the machine gun that they used. It is an M1918A2 Browning.

My dad said during quiet times, he would hang his rosary on the gun and they would pray together. To be continued.

References

Appleman, Roy E., et al. Okinawa: The Last Battle. United States Army in World War II. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1948.

Military Yearbook Project accessed April 3, 2018

Wikipedia Cactus Ridge accessed April 3, 2018

Wikipedia M1918 Browning accessed April 3, 2018

Personal conversations with Harry J Rice, Jr.


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