[For this entry Tuttle included part of a printed transcript of a high level Army press briefing from a couple days before.]
Let me back up for a minute to last October, when we lost two hundred ships to the storm. Something had to give. We couldn’t bring in a dozen divisions with what was left. We could have waited another two months, instead of two weeks, for more ships but that would put us into next spring by the time this island is ready to support full-scale bombing of Honshu, for the invasion of Tokyo itself.
Yes, that’s the next target, and the Japs know it. Anybody with a map knows it.
If we can’t land at Yokohama until the summer, we’ll be fighting there into the typhoon season. Plus they just get more time to dig in, making it take even longer. No one wants to be fighting through next winter. So we have to get the job done here quick.
Most of you have been up into the hills with the troops. It’s not tank country, contrary to what some generals drew up back in Australia. Lacking transports to get everyone and everything here at once, we went with everyone. Troops first, tanks later. Most previously fielded tank battalions came along, but none of the new heavies.
Yes, yes, we could have used heavy tanks here and there. But that’s always been the problem with armor – it’s never right where you want it when you want it. Or all the support vehicles couldn’t keep up and the armor can’t keep going for very long. It was debated hard, let me tell you, but it was decided that the infantry could get by with the new field guns you may have noticed. Anyway, the heavy armor is here now, and it’s going to keep coming.
We’re going to clean up the mountains this week. Then we are going to tear right through the central plains, right up to the central forest. These last obstacles [Sakura-jima, Karakuni-dake, and a ridgeline between Karakuni-dake and the marines’ front line] will be surrounded and pulverized.
We didn’t get the air cover we hoped for, with the nutty weather. But now our soldiers are going to bring along their own support!
In the next few days the 11th Airborne Division will be into Miyakonojo, and the 98th will come up to meet it. Then we’ll have all this [mountains east of Miyakonojo] cut off. By then the marines* can converge with the 40th over these rocks [Sakura-jima and Onogara-dake] and the 1st Cav will move around to meet the marines and stitch up [Kagoshima] bay.
* Army press style did not include capitalization of “Marine”.
** [Editor’s note, 2015: It still doesn’t. – sdm]