Navy Hospital, Pearl Harbor
Twenty-two wounded Marine officers from the Solomons landings are supposed to show up here one of these days. We already have a Marine Lieutenant here who was wounded in the Makin Island raid. Named LeFrançois, he was shot five times in the shoulder by a Jap machine gun. The bullets crossed a fraction of an inch in front of him, from left to right, and landed in his right shoulder and arm. The man standing behind him got a whole load through the belly and died on the spot. His commando outfit is the one Roosevelt is second-in-command of.
LeFrançois said they numbered about 200 men and were loaded in the early morning from submarines (the ones I saw practicing off Barbers Point about six weeks ago). About 20 minutes after they reached the beach they were spotted by the Japs, who, it seems, had been expecting trouble due to the Solomons mess and had snipers strapped into the tops of the coconut palms (they’d already been there two or three days). These snipers proved the Marines main headache and accounted for the majority of the casualties.
The Japs are mainly defeated by their own tactical blunders. LeFrançois’ unit completely wiped out one Jap detachment of 30 men that marched into a machine gun trap that was organized at a moments notice upon
Upon the appearance of the Japs up the road. Our machine guns, which pack much more of a wallop than theirs, cut them to shreds.
The Japs wear green uniforms and camouflage themselves very well with bits of surrounding shrubbery. The Marines prefer to fight at about 200 yards range, at which they can pick off the Japs very easily, but the Japs, due to their inferior marksmanship, prefer to fight at the practically point-blank range of 50 yards, which the Marines do not like, but the Japs of course have it their way.
LeFrançois was shot at from a distance by one of his sergeants, who mistook him for a Jap. The .45 slug hit him in the back of the head and only gave him a bump, which shows the uselessness of a pistol except at short range. The Marines, preferred, above all else, their Garands..
LeFrançois was wounded when he broke out of the brush, at the edge of a small lagoon, and a concealed Jap nest across the lagoon opened up on him. He was afraid to use a grenade, for fear of hitting some of his own men were working on a flanking movement on the nest. They got it a few minutes later.
The main difficulty encountered in the whole raid was leaving. The small rubber boats couldn’t get past the heavy surf on the reef, and after repeated failures, were forced to wait until the next day and calmer surf before they could get back to the anxiously awaiting subs.