10 strange WW2 facts!
Ross military issue WW1 binoculars belonging to Alwyn Holberton Square
Medal Of Honour recipient
Giovanni "John" Basilone was born in Buffalo, New York, United States. Between 1934 and 1937, he was an enlisted man in the United States Army based in the Philippine Islands, and upon his return he picked up the nickname "Manila John". He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1940. In 1942, he was sent to Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, where he made himself known as a fearless warrior at Henderson Field during a Japanese counterattack led by Major Generals Kawaguchi and Nasu. Leading a weapons company of the First Battalion of the 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, he was equipped with a 100-pound Browning heavy machine gun. He carried the heavy gun for 30 yards to set up a strongpoint so that the other two guns nearby, both jammed, could have time to recover and reload. "Basilone had a machine gun on the go for three days and nights without sleep, rest or food," fellow Marine Nash Phillips remembered (and exaggerated, as the Japanese attack did not last nearly as long). By the time the Japanese attack ceased, the three Browning guns had used up 125 belts of ammunition, with only one to spare. For his personal valor at Guadalcanal, he was awarded the Medal of Honor by General Vandegrift in May 1943.
On D-Day just beyond the landing beach designated "Red Beach II" at Iwo Jima, Basilone tried to lead a rifle unit to take out a Japanese gun emplacement. "Come on, you guys, we gotta get these guns off the beach", he yelled, as recalled by others who survived. A few seconds later, out of nowhere, a mortar shell landed near him and struck him down.
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