The Aleutians
The Lands of 50 mph Fog
THE DIARY OF NEBU TATSUGURI, M.G. Medical Officer, North Pacific, Defense Field Hospital Attu Island
(NOTE: This diary was taken from the body of its writer, a Japanese Medical Officer, after he was killed during the battle of Attu, Aleutian Islands, May 29, 1943) PERSONAL HISTORY March 16, 1919 - Graduated from Xerjie Middle School - Prefecture of Hira Shema. Mar 1, 1923 - Graduated from Frazier English Academy. September 15, 1926 to May 11, 1932 - Medical Dept, Pacific Union College, Agwin, California. September 1933 to June 1937 - College of Medical Evangelist. September 8, 1938 - Received California Medical License. January 10, 1941 - Inducted into 1st Replacement, Imperial Guard Infantry. January 13, 1941 - Joined 1st Imperial Guard Infantry. May 1, 1941 - Ordered as Officer Candidate - Promoted to Pfc. July 1, 1941 - Promoted to Superior Private. July 20, 1941 - Ordered to Officer Candidate. August 1, 1941 - Promoted to Corporal. September, 1941 - Entered Array Medical School. October 24, 1941 - Graduated. October 30, 1941 - Promoted to Sgt Major - Ordered as Probationary Officer. Dec 1, 1941 - Became Acting Officer. (NOTES: These are captured enemy documents translated by the office of G2, Massacre Valley, Attu Island, June 1, 1943. This is an extraction covering the battle until the writer deceased from his wounds.) Northern 5216 Detachment North Sea Defense Field Hospital, Attu. Diary of Nebu Tatsuguri May 12, 1943 Carrier-based plane flew over - Fired at it. There is a low fog and the summit is clear. Evacuated to the summit. Air raids carried out frequently. Heard land noise - it is Naval fire. Prepared battle equipment. May 13, 1943 The U. S. forces landed at Shiba Dai & Massacre Bay. The enemy has advanced to the bottom of Misuna Yoma from Shiba Dai. Have engaged them. On the other hand is Massacre Bay, defended by only one platoon but on the unexpected attack the AA gun (machine cannon) was destroyed and we have withdrawn. At night we captured 10 rifles. There is tremenduous mountain gunfire. Approximately 15 patients came into the field hospital, which is situated near the Area Engineer Unit. May 14, 1943 Our two submarines from Kiska assisting us have greatly damaged two enemy ships. 1st Lt Suhuki died by shots from rifle. Continuous flow of wounded into Field Hospital. In the evening U. S. forces used gas, but no damage was done on account of strong winds. Took refuge in the trench in the daytime and took care of patients during bombardment. Enemy strength must be a division. Our desperate defense is holding well. May 15, 1943 Continuous flow of patients into the field hospital caused by the field bombardment of enemy land and air forces, also naval. The enemy has great numbers of Negros and Indians. The Western defense has withdrawn to near Shitagati Dai. In raid, I was ordered to the west arm, but it was called off. I just laid down from fatigue. In the barracks facial expressions of men is tense (those back from West Army Defense) They all went back to the firing line soon. May 16, 1943 If Shitagati is taken by the enemy the fate of East arm is decided. So I burned documents and prepared to destroy patients. At last moment, there is an order from Headquarters of Sector Unit to proceed to Chichagof Harbor by way of Uanose. At 0100 in the morning patients from the Ind. Def. Inf. was lost so accompanied the patients. There was an air raid on so I took refuge in former Hospital Cave. The guns of a Lockheed spit fire as it flew by the cave. May l7, 1943 At night about 1800, under cover of darkness, I left the cave. The stretcher went over muddy roads and steep hills of no man's land. No matter how far we went, we did not get over to the pass. Was rather irritated by the fog and thoughts of getting lost. Sat down after every 20 or 30 steps. Would sleep, dream, wake up and go on. The same thing over and over. The patient on the litter doesn't move. He is frostbitten. After all this effort, met the section commander, Col. Jamsaki. The Pass is a straight line without any width and a steep line going down to Chichagof Harbor. Sitting on the buttock and lifting the feet, I like very smoothly and change direction with the sword. Slid down in about 20 minutes. After that arrived at Chichagof. The time expended was 9 hours for this, without leaving any patients. Opened a new field hospital. Walking is now difficult from left knee rheumatism which occurred in the Pass. The results of our Navy and Special Underwater Craft in the vicinity of Chichagof Harbor since the 14th - sunk 1 Battleship, 37 Destroyers and Transports of air power troops and 60 other transports. The first favorable report since the battle of Eastern Arm. Reserves came back. Off shore at Shiba Dai 5 Destroyers are guarding one transport. May 18, 1943 The Venegawa Detachment abandoned East & West Arms and withdrew to Uanose. About 60 wounded came into the hospital. I had to take care of them myself all through the night. Everybody made combat preparations and waited. Had 2 grenades ready. Lt Omura left for the front lines and Hokuken Vama said farewell. At night a patient came who had engaged friendly troops by mistake and had received a wound on the wrist. The countersign is Ishikoke. May 19, 1943 At night there is a call from Sector Headquarters. In some spots off the beach are some friendly flat type planes waiting. Went into the village church. Felt like someone's home. Some blankets were scattered around. Was told to translate a field order presumed to be dropped by an enemy Officer in Massacre Bay. Was ordered to evacuate. Detail map sketch of Massacre and Holtz Bays in possession of Camp. Robert Edward, Adj. of Col. Smith. Got tired and went to sleep. Lt. Ujie Salso in charge of translation. May 20, 1943 The hard fighting of our 303rd Battalion in Massacre Bay is fierce and it is to our advantage. Have captured enemy weapons and used it to fight. Enemy closing in under fog. Five of our men and one Med. NCO died. The enemy gun fire (Naval) near our hospital is fierce. Dropping 20 meters away (25 yards). May 21, 1943 Was strafed when amputating a patient's arm. It was the first time since moving to Chichagof Harbor, that I went into an air raid shelter. Enemy plane is a Martin. Nervousness of our Commander is severe and he said his last words to his officers and men. He will die tomorrow. Gave all of his articles away. Hasty chap this fellow. The officers on the front are doing a fine job. Everyone who heard this became desperate and things became disorderly. May 22, 1943 Air raids began, strafing killed one medical man. Medical man Rayki, wounded in thigh (right) and fractured arm. During the night mortar shell came awful close. May 23, 1943 Seventeen friendly medium bombers destroyed a cruiser offshore. By Naval gunfire a hit was scored on pillar poles tents for patients and the tent collapsed killing two instantly. From 0200 to 1600 stayed in foxholes. Days rations ... 1 go, 5 hakies (1.5) lbs. nothing else. Officers and men alike are in _ost. Everybody looked around for food and stole everything they could find. May 24, 1943 It sleeted and was extremely cold. Stayed at Mesumi barracks alone. A great amount of gunfire. Shells dropped by naval gunfire. Rocks and mud flew all around. The roof falls down. In a fox hole 5 yards away Hagaska, medical man and by penetration of shell through heart. May 25, 1943 Naval gun firing, aerial bombardment, trench warfare, the worst is yet to come. The enemy positions are being concentrated. Battalion Commander die at Umanose. They cannot fully accommodate all the patients. It has been said that at Massacre Bay, the road to Sector Unit Headquarters has been isolated. May 26, 1943 By Naval fire it felt like Misumi blew up everything, shook up, tremendously, consciousness becomes vague. One tent burned from a hit __ incendiary bomb. Strafing planes hit the next room. Two hits from a 50 cal. machine gun, one stopped in the ceiling the other penetrated my room, looks an awful mess, from rocks and pebbles, that came from the roof. Nirose, 1st Lt Medical Corps, is wounded . . . there is a ceremony of granting the Imperial Edict. The last line of Umanose was broken through. No hope for reinforcements . . . Will die for Imperial Edict. May 27, 1943 Diarrhea continues, pain is severe, took everything, pills, morphine, opium and all, then slept well. Strafing by planes. Roof broke through. There is less than 1000 left when there were 2000 troops here, wounded or from coast Defense Unit field hospital, field Post Office. The rest are on the firing line. May 28, 1943 The remaining ration is for 2 days. Our artillery has been completely wiped out. There is sound of trench mortars, also AA guns. The company on the bottom of ATTU Fugi has been completely annihilated, except for one or two. 303rd Battalion has been defeated. Veneg Awa is still holding the Umanose. Continuous cases of suicide. Half of Sector Headquarters has been blown away. Heard they gave 400 shots of morphine to kill wounded. Ate half-dried thistle. This first I have eaten something fresh in months, it is a delicacy. Order from the Sector Unit Commander to move hospital to the island, but it is called off. May 29, 1943 Today at 2000 we assembled at Headquarters. The field hospital took part too. The last assault is to be carried out. All patients were made to commit suicide... Only thirty three of living and I am to die: I have no regrets. Bonzai to the Emperor. I am grateful that I have kept the peace in my soul, which Ekkist bestowed upon me. At 1800 took care of all the patients with grenade . . . Goodbye Tocke my beloved wife, who loved me till the last . . . Until we meet again, grant you God speed. Mistake, who just became 4 years old will grow unhindered, I feel sorry for you, Takiko, born February this year and gone without seeing your father, Well goodbye, Mattue, brother Hokkey Sukechan, Masachm, Mitichan, goodbye. The number is this last attack is little over 1000. Will try to take enemy artillery positions. It seems the enemy will probably make an all out attack tomorrow. "Taman Shud" (NOTE: Some did not use gas, but did use smoke shells for screening troop movements. None of our ships were damaged or attacked. The seventeen planes were intercepted and six were shot down.) Text provided by Ardon Smith Published by HLS on the Williwaw Website, 14 March 1999 The translation of this captured enemy diary likely originated from Headquarters Landing Force Officer of Asst. Chief of Staff, G-2 Massacre Valley: Attu Island. June 1, 1943 YouTube Videos The Diary of a Japanese Soldier (Part 1): The Diary of a Japanese Soldier (Part 2): See Also The diary of an unknown Japanese N.C.O. 1st Class Private Tsukiji's captured diary Last updated: 14 February 2014 08:45 Webmaster: