[Routine housekeeping for Marines usually includes explosives.]
When the assault on Sakura-jima was complete the Marines and soldiers who had won her had one job left to do. I moved along with the 26th Marines as they swept back over and around the mountain island. They advanced in one big line, each slouching tired shoulder practically touching the dirty arm patches of the next man. The wave of men moved in fits as parts of it stopped to work.
The job was to tag any possible booby trap for later demo teams, and to double check every hole in which a Jap could still be hiding. The ubiquitous flame thrower men followed close behind the main line, like impatient semi-mechanical grim reapers.
I went around the mountain with a group in the middle. It had little work to do, out on the rolling lava fields. Marines nearer the shore had a few holes and old buildings to clear. Uphill from us the others had a tough time.
All the impossibly steep spiny gullies they’d fought through they had to climb through again in closer detail. Sleep deprived men and climbing ropes are a testy combination. I caught bits of profane arguments echoing out from many valleys.
They were thorough, in a fashion. Every rat hole, however shallow, swallowed a grenade or three. Any hole that turned or went deeper than a glance could fix also got a long pulse from a flame thrower*.
Eventually the sweep was done and in low afternoon sun the Marines loaded the same small boats which had brought them over. Originally the boats had needed four trips to bring every one across, including their equipment. They needed just one sortie to take the regiments back.
Their injured had already been moved across or out through the Army hospital chain. The dead were still being collected. Most of the ammo which had come forward had been expended and much of the equipment used up or destroyed.
* Portable flame throwers only had a few dozen seconds of fuel to begin with. Several times the men got a sit-down break waiting for more heavy canisters to be hauled up.