98th Infantry Division, WW II

Tennessee Maneuvers and the Relief of   Maj. Gen. Paul L. Ransom

G-3 Section, Army Ground Forces.

23 October 1943

Telephone conversation, Gen. Fredendall, Second Army, to Gen. Lentz, G-3 AGF. 1110 this date:

Gen. F:   "I'm going to make recommendations in a couple of weeks after we finish this bunch of operations in the maneuvers, but we got to get rid of that fellow Ransom.  He is just no good. We had to stop the maneuver here because he left his whole south flank wide open to the breeze. I tried to get Gen. McNair but he wasn't in, so I called you. Though he might like to have a little advance notice. I think he agrees with me on that. He Might want a little time to get a new division commander."

Gen. L. : I will tell Gen. McNair.

At the time of the 2nd Army No. 3 Tennessee Maneuvers, in the late fall of 1943,  Lt. General Lloyd Fredendall was the commander of the 2nd Army.  He had recently been relieved of command of the 2nd Corps, in North Africa, after the U.S. Army defeat by the German Army at Kasserine Pass.  

Maj. Gen. Paul L. Ransom had been the 98th Divisions Commanding General since its activation in Sept. 1942.   While the available records from the 2nd Army No. 3 Tennessee Maneuvers do not clearly identify major problems. It is apparent the Lt. Gen. Fredendall did not like Gen. Ransom and wanted to relieve him of command.  Ironically, the final report from the maneuvers gave the 98th Division a failing grade.  

Smith vs. Smith

Shortly after the 98th Division arrived in Hawaii, the campaigns to capture the Marianas began on June 15 and lasted to July 9, 1944  The assault to capture Saipan involved the U.S. Army's 27th Infantry Division along with the 2nd & 4th Marine Divisions. In command of the 27th Inf. Division was Maj. Gen. Ralph Smith.  The overall commander of ground forces was Marine Lt. General Holland Smith.  This was the first and last time that a Marine commander, commanded a combined Army-Marine ground force during the pacific campaign.    

Lt. Gen. Holland Smith became dissatisfied with the progress being made by the 27th Inf. Div.  This in-spite of his lack of full understanding and support of the 27th Division's situation, decided to relieve Maj. Gen. Ralph Smith of his command.  

Major General George W. Griner who, at the time was in command of the 98th Division on Hawaii was selected as MG. Ralph Smith's replacement.  MG Smith, in turn was assigned to command the 98th Division.  His time with the 98th was very short and was later reassigned to Washington, in hopes of diminishing the inter-service controversy that had developed.

Invasion of Leyte & Luzon: Mortar Men from the 389th & 391st Inf. Regiments

On August 7,1944 the 98th Division was called by HQ, Central Pacific Base Command to furnish men for the up coming invasion of Leyte and Luzon. There job would be to man 4.2 Chemical Mortars while on LCI's and stationary ships.  Because there were no chemical mortar troops available, Lt. Gen. Richardson requested troops from the 98th. This was the first time that Mortars would be used to provide fire support to protect the amphibious invasion. Selected were 200 trained mortar men from the 389th & 391st Inf. Regiments.

In command of the detachment from the 389th was Lt. Albert M. Delaney and from the 391st was Capt. J. A. Smith. The men from the 391st came from the 2nd and 3rd battalions. The detachment was assigned to Group 6, Amphibious Forces Pacific Fleet.

On October 20, 1944, the group entered Leyte Gulf and at 0940 commenced with the firing of ranging shots. At 0945 the group received orders to open fire on the first objective, bombarding the area south of Yellow Beach One for a width of eight hundred yards. By 1000 the unit completed Phase 1 and had fired 1,039 rounds of ammunition.

After the Leyte operations the status of the mortar boats was unclear due to the lack of information regarding their use on Luzon.   The attack order, A2-44 for the operations on Luzon were issued on Dec. 29, 1944 for Task Unit 79.8.1, commanded by Lt. Cmdr. G. W. Hannett, USNR, and Major Richard H, Skinner, CWS. The ships were ordered to fire at 5 rounds per minute, with each mortar firing at 12 second intervals. The rate of fie was staggered so that one shell leaves the ship every four seconds. Six LCI (M's)  participated in the landings at Lingayan Gulf during the initial phases of the Luzon landings. There mission was to provide close-in fire support prior to, during and for 15 minutes after the landing of the assault wave. Additionally this unit was to provide fire support for the 185th RCT in its movement west.  During the initial assault phase the mortar crews expended 3,346 shells and during the support phase fired another 344 rounds. The total amount of shells expended for this operation totaled, 5,151 rounds for 4.2 mortar ammunition. 

There was one casualty, Lt. Steinsultz who died on November 7, 1945 in Hollandia, New Guinea, from wounds received while directing mortar fire off of Leyte.

LONGTOM Operation


(from the actual LONGTOM plans)

LONGTOM

CONCEPT

I. DIRECTIVE

   The Joint Chiefs of Staff have directed that preparation of plans for an operation in the CHUSAN-NINGPO area following ICEBERG. This study is based on the premise that bases in addition to those available in the NANSEI SHOTO are required in order to conduct an effective sea and air blockade of Japan and particularly to cut lines of communication between the EMPIRE and Japanese forces operating in CHINA.

II. ASSUMPTIONS

   That ICEBERG has been completed and our aircraft and surface forces operating from the NANSEI SHOTO control the EAST CHINA SEA and PACIFIC OCEAN areas east and south of the NANSEI SHOTO.

   That LUZON has been captured and bases activated for the operation of naval and air forces, and for the staging of assault forces.

   That necessary service units for the initial lodgement  will become available for the strategic reserve in teh UNITED STATES of from other sources outside of the PACIFIC OCEAN AREAS.

   That a target date, S Day, is selected which will minimize the adverse affect of unfavorable weather upon the operation.

III.PURPOSES

   To establish bases from which to:

    (1) Attack the enemy's lines of communication to the interior of CHINA.

    (2) Intensify attacks by our air and naval forces against the main islands of JAPAN and their sea approaches.

    (3) Increase effectiveness of the sea and air blockade of JAPAN.

      To encourage the Chinese to continue the war.

      To maintain unremitting military pressure against JAPAN.

IV. TASKS

    Capture, occupy, defend, and develop positions in the CHUSAN ARCHIPELAGO and the eastern portion of NINGO PENINSULA.

The LONG TOM operation was developed to effectively create a "wall" to prevent Japanese troops in China from being transported to Japan to assist in the defense of the invasion of the home land which, the Japanese knew would be coming at some point.  The operation called for the employment of  6 Divisions including the 7th, 81st and 98th Infantry Divisions along with the 1st, 2nd and 6th Marine Divisions.   

Even after Okinawa ( ICEBERG Operation) had been secured the planning for LONGTOM was not officially canceled until May 1945.

The following assault map shows all of the Army divisions, including the 98th Division embarking from the Philippines.

OLYMPIC - Planned invasion of Japan

In April of 1945 the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, instructed Gen. MacArthur, Admiral Nimitz, and Army Air Forces Gen. Henry H. Arnold to begin in the planning for what would have been the greatest amphibious landing in History, coded named: DOWNFALL.  The operation was broken into two parts, Operation OLYMPIC, the amphibious invasion of the southern Island of Kyushu planned for Nov. 1, 1945 and Operation CORONET the invasion of the main Island of Honshu on Mar. 1, 1946

The 98th Division was alerted for OLYMPIC on July 25th for participation in OLYMPIC as part of the IX Corps. The plan called for the 98th to depart Hawaii on Sept. 10, 1945 along with the 4th & 5th Marine Divisions of the V Marine Amphibious Corps. These were to have been the first troops heading for the invasion.

The plan called for the following troop units for the assault

1 Army Headquarters and Army Troops

  • Sixth Army

3 Army Corps Headquarters and Corp troops

  • I Corps
  • IX Corps
  • XI Corps

1 Marine Amphibian Corps Headquarters and Corps Troops

  • V Marine Corps

9 Army Infantry Divisions

  • Americal
  • 1st Cav. Div.                                                                
  • 25th Inf. Div.                                                                
  • 33rd Inf. Div.                                                                 
  • 40th Inf. Div.                                                                 
  • 41st Inf. Div.                                                                
  • 43rd Inf. Div.                                                                
  • 81st Inf. Div.                                                                 
  • 98th Inf. Div.

3 Marine Divisions

  • 3rd Marine Div.
  • 4th Marine Div.
  • 5th Marine Div.

For the major follow-up elements:

1 Army Infantry Division

  • 77th Inf. Div

1 Army Airborne Division

  • 11th A/B Div.

For GHQ Reserve (alerted in the PHILIPPINES)

  • 3 Army Divisions

The IX Corps which consisted of the 81st and 98th Divisions was to initially serve as the Sixth Army reserve afloat and conduct a feint off the eastern coast of Skikoku island during the period of "X" -2 to "X" day. On "X" day the reserve elements afloat, if required, would execute an amphibious assault int he vicinity of WAKI  (South Coast), commencing the assault as soon as adequate naval support can be provided.





The pre-preparation and planning by the 98th Division for the invasion began in early 1945 with the study of the geography of the beach areas as well as enemy strength and potential for defense. of Kyushu. The division had begun the process for the acquisition of the equipment that would be needed for the assault and according to the final report on "Blacklist" submitted by Gen. Harper, stated that by the end of August 1945 the 98th had approximately 60% of the supplies that were to be needed for the invasion.

The total number of personnel for the invasion was 815,548 of which 411,532 were ground combat troops. The estimate for naval vessels required for the invasion totaled 1,371 for the transportation of 539,290 troops, 61,190 vehicles and 564,100 tons of supplies.

                 BLACKLIST Operation                   ~Occupation of Japan~

After the sudden capitulation of Japan, invasion plans quickly turned to Occupation plans.  At the time of the announcement of the end of the war, the 98th Division was completing its last "dry runs" on Maui in preparation for the impending invasion of Japan. 

Blacklist was the plan for the occupation of Japan. It was developed at the same time of the invasion plans for the contingency if Japan were to surrender.  The plan designated "Blacklist" was first presented on July 16, 1945. The final edition released on Aug. 8th called for the orderly occupation of fourteen major areas of Japan and three areas within Korea.

On Aug. 15, 1945 a radio message from Sixth Army Headquarters transferred the 98th Division and its attachments from IX Corps to I Corps commanded by MG Innis P. Swift, under the Sixth Army commanded by Gen. Walter Krueger.  The 98th Division was to be one of the first divisions to occupy the Japanese mainland and was assigned the key industrial and military area of Osaka, Japan.

The advanced elements of the division embarked on LST's and LCM's on Aug. 31st and Sept.4th.  The remainder of the division reinforced by the 767th tank Bn. left on Sept. 5th & 6th. After a brief stop on Saipan, the landed in Wakayama, Japan on Sept. 27, 1945. Although no resistance was expected the division landed combat ready.

Upon landing the division was ordered to proceed immediately to the designated bivouac area at Taisho Airport.  The airfield was in very poor condition as a result of Allied bombings.  Within a few weeks the division established permanent billets throughout the Osaka area.

The main task in the occupation was the demobilization of the Japanese Military and the location, seizure and disposition of every item deemed to be of military nature.   The division was able to complete 1902 of the 1916 "targets" to which they were assigned by time of the divisions deactivation in Feb. 1946

Some of the interesting items located included: over 3,500,000 shells, Uranium and heavy water used in atomic research, tons of narcotics and precious metals.

                1st Football Game in Japan                 98th Inf. Division  vs. 33rd Inf. Division

The 98th Division football team was coached by Lt.Col. James Daniels from the 923rd FA Bn. I had the pleasure of meeting Jim at one of the 98th Division reunions and spoke with him at Ft. Niagara. He told me that one thing they did was to "scout" the other team which is the norm today. Back then he told me it was considered spying!  None the less, the 98th won!


      

 98th Div. vs 33rd Div. Game Program