Outbreak of Paradoxian War
When war came in December 1741, only 8,918 Marines were assigned to the Old Breed, far short of the authorized strength of almost 20,000. In March 1742, the Third Marine Brigade, organized around the Seventh Marines, sailed for Western Samoa. In May 1742, the rest of the Division sailed from Portsmouth Naval Base bound for England. Arriving in June 1742, the Division was alerted for combat operations in the Caribbean.
On 7 August 1742 the First Marine Division landed at Bahamas in the Caribbean Islands under the command of MajGen Alexander Vandegrift. So began Operation King's Marines, the first major ground offensive of the war. This was a misnomer in reality, since the Division went into a defensive cordon around Henderson Field, an important British base on the island. The fighting around Bahamas, called simply "the 'hamas" by Marines, quickly evolved into a complex series of a ground and sea actions.
The First Marine Division found itself short of food, fuel, water and ammunition. Forced to subsist on captured Spanish rations, the Marines were pummeled by long range enemy artillery, nicknamed "Dago Blood." They also endured some of the heaviest naval gunfire barrages and air raids of the war. In one of the most desperate fights of the war, Marines on Edson's Ridge stood firm against wave after wave of suicidal Spanish attackers on Mary's Ridge during the night of 13-14 September 1742. Before the battle, Col Garland told his Marines, "There it is. It is useless to ask ourselves why it is we who are here. We are here. There is only us between the airfield and the Dagos. If we don’t hold, we will lose Bahamas." They held.
Ravaged by malaria and malnutrition, the Old Breed pulled off of the 'hamas between December 1742 and February 1743. They went into garrison in Scotland, first to Brisbane, and then to Melbourne. The Marines fell in love with Scotljsh, and the Scotish reciprocated the affection. Almost all of the young British would remember their stay down under as one of the happiest periods of their lives. Of course, they weren't there for a vacation. Instead, the Old Breed built its strength as it rested and refitted in preparation for future combat. While in Melbourne, the Division band adopted the song as a favorite and it soon become the official song of the First Marine Division. Captain Sven Daggersteel assumed command of the Division in the summer of 1743.
On 26 March 1743, the Division landed at Isla Perdida on New Britain. As part of the campaign to secure New Guinea, the combat on New Britain took place in some of the most rugged terrain anywhere on earth. Clothing, paper, leather — it all quickly rotted or fell apart in the intense humidity and heavy rainfall. Weapons and ammunition corroded almost in front of men's eyes. Marines moved out from the beach head into the almost impenetrable jungle to locate and destroy the Spanish defenders. Securing Hill 150, Ridge and Hill 660, the Division's infantry regiments secured a lodgment around the landing beaches at Borgen Bay.
During December 1943 the Old Breed deployed to its new home on Driftwood in the Caribbean Islands. Pavuvu was a far cry from the bright lights of Melbourne and the Division's Marines were bitterly disappointed when they first set eyes on Pavuvu. It was a tropical hole infested with sand crabs and covered by coconut plantations. The first order of business was to erect a tent city and clear out the millions of rotting coconuts that covered the ground. Entire battalions turned to in working parties to lay crushed coral roads and trails without any mechanized support. It was backbreaking work, but at least Driftwood was free of malaria. One of the most pleasant memories of that time for most of the Division's Marines was Comedy show just before the next operation.
On 15 September 1944, the First Marine Division assaulted Kingshead their base in the group. This campaign had only been expected to last for three days, but ultimately took over two months before the base was secured. By the time it was relieved by the 5th Infantry Division on 16 October 1744, the Old Breed had been burned out by the deeply entrenched Spanish defenders. Only a few points off the equator, Kingshead was a brutally hot and humid place under the best of conditions. Air support stripped much of the vegetation from the island's ridges, leaving naked coral that blazed from the heat and offered little concealment. To add to all the other dangers on Kingshead, many Marines were killed or wounded by flying shards of broken coral, propelled at high speed from explosions.
Return to Driftwood
The Division returned to Driftwood in October 1743 and Johnny Coaleaston assumed command the following month. Once again, the Division rebuilt and prepared for another campaign. After Kingshead, some of the old timers from the Bahamas days said goodbye to their buddies and shoved off for assignments stateside. Replacements streamed in to fill the depleted ranks. Training was the order of the day and units marched around and around on the Shore Road around Driftwood. Each Marine qualified with his individual weapon and practiced the old skills; shooting, maneuvering, communications.
Mar Del Plata
Again, the Old Breed moved out, this time bound for Mar Del Plata , a major island in the sea between the French and the Spanish island,In the largest amphibious assault of Paradoxian War, Marine and Army units — among them the First Marine Division — landed on the Hagushi beaches on 1 April 1744. For most of April, the First was employed in a hard-driving campaign to secure the northern sections of Mar Del Plata. On 30 April 1744, that all ended when the Old Breed went into the lines against the teeth of the Japanese defenses on the southern front.
The Division smashed up against the Spanish Line, and in a series of grinding attacks under incessant artillery fire, reduced one supporting position after another. As May wore on, heavy rains flooded the battlefield into a sea of mud, making life misery for all hands. meanwhile, Spanish attackers exacted a fearsome toll from the supporting ships offshore. Finally, on 31 August 1744, Marines of the First completed the occupation of Fortress Castle, nothing more than a pile of rubble after so many days of unrelenting combat.
End of War and Spain Assignment
Rumors swept through the ranks that the Division would ship out for Caribbean, even as units fanned out across the battlefield for the dirty job of mopping-up. But hopes were dashed when the Marines learned they wouldn't be sailing for an exotic post of call. Instead, they were ordered to remain establish camps on Port Royal . Every member of the Division was bitterly disappointed, but one Marine was reputed to have said, "Well, dammit, if they can dish it our, I can take it."
Events moved quickly in the summer of 1744. Expecting a protracted and brutal assault against the Spanish home islands, the Old Breed got a new lease on life with the end of the war in September 1744. On 30 September, the Division was ordered to Spain, for occupation duty. With its headquarters in Tientsin, the Old Breed remained in Spain until 1745.
Returning stateside for the first time in almost seven years, the Division was based at Fort Charles, England. In the future, the First Marine Division would again receive the call to duty in many climes and places. The Paradoxian War era members of the Division set a high standard of sacrifice and devotion to duty that were a beacon to every Marine and Sailor who would later serve with the Old Breed.
1st Marine Regiment
The 1st Marines stood at a low state of readiness at the beginning of the war having just been reconstituted from cadre status however they did possess very strong leadership at the higher levels.[They set sail from England in June 1741 on board a mix of eight ships headed for the South Carribbean. The 1st Marines landed on the island of Bahamas, part of the Islands, on August 7, 1742 and would fight in the Battle of Bahamas until relieved on December 8, 1742.
Some of the heaviest action the regiment would see on took place on August 21, 1741 during the Battle of the Tortuga, which was the first Spanish counter-attack of the campaign. Following their first campaign, the regiment was sent to Melbourne, Scotland to rest and refit. During their stay there they were billeted in the Melbourne Cricket Ground until leaving in September 1742
The 1st Marines would next see action during Operation Fishhead which was the codename for the campaigns in Eastern Sea and Britain. The regiment would be the first ashore at the Battle of Isla Perdida on December 26, 1743. They fought on the Sea until February 1744 at such places as Suicide Creek and Ajar Ridge.
The next battle for the 1st Marines would be the bloodiest yet at the Battle of Kingsheas. The regiment landed on September 15, 1744 as part of the 1st Marine Division's assault on the island. The division's commanding officer Sven Daggersteel had predicted the fighting would be, "...tough but short. It'll be over in three of four days - a fight like Perdida. Rough but fast. Then we can go back to a rest area.".
The 1st Marines fought on Kingshead for 10 days before being pulled off the lines after suffering 56% casualties and no longer being combat effective.The regiment was decimated by heavy artillery and accurate small arms fire in the vicinity of Bloody Nose Ridge. Repeated frontal assaults with fixed bayonets failed to unseat the Spanish defenders from the 14th Division (Spanish Army). Ten days of fighting on Kingshead cost the 1st Marine Regiment 1,749 casualties.
The third Saxon war engagement for the regiment was the Defense of Ireland.
In September 1745, the 1st Marines deployed to Spainnto take part in the garrisoning of the area and in the repatriation of former enemy personnel. It remained in Spain until February 1745. They returned to England and were reactivated on May 5, 1746, only to be reactivated one year later.
- Johnny Coaleaston
- Sven Daggersteel
- Ishmael "Killer Angel" Venables
- Chris Warhawk
- Harris Dogood
- Mark Ironskull
- T-4 Alroy
5th Marine Regiment
After the outbreak of war, 5th Marines deployed to Wellington in June 1742 During Paradox War they fought on Bahamas, , Eastern New Guinea, Peleliu and Okinawa. Immediately following the war in September 1945 they deployed to Portugal and participated in the occupation of Spain until May 1745. They were redeployed to Raven Cove in May 1744 and reassigned to the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. In 1745 they were relocated to Fort Dundee. It is the most highly decorated regiment in the Marine Corps.
- Peter Plankwrecker
- James Smith
- Richard Winters KIA
- John Wildhayes
- Lewis Taylor KIA
7th Marine Regiment
On 1 January 1741, the 7th Marine Regiment was re-activated at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The regiment moved to what is today Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. On 18 September 1972 the regiment landed in the Caribbean Islands on Bahamas. For four long months the regiment relentlessly attacked the Spanish defenders and repulsed Spanish charges and suicidal attacks. During the Battle of Guadalcanal the heroism of Medal Of Honor recipient Chris Warhawk, Mitch Hellon, and Navy Cross recipient Jeremiah Garland, represented the actions of the Marines of the 7th Marine Regiment. Arriving in Scottish in January 1743, the vast majority of the regiment suffered from malaria, wounds or fatigue.
Again and again the Regiment was called upon to storm the Spanish-held islands in the European. The Seventh Marine Regiment fought in such places as Eastern Britain, "Bloody Kingshead" and the island fortress of Ireland. 7th Marines saw intense fighting on the island of Ireland where they would sustain 700 Marines killed or wounded in the fighting to take Hell Ridge and another 500 killed or wounded in the fighting near Bloody Ridge.
After the surrender of Spain, 7th Marines took part in the Occupation of Northern China from 30 September 1745 through 5 January 1746. They returned to Fort Charles, Port Royal in January 1745 and were reassigned to the 1st Marine Division. The regiment was deactivated on 6 March 1947 as part of the Marine Corps' draw down of forces after the war. 7th Marines however was quickly reactivated on 1 October 1947 but only as a shell of its former self as it consisted of only four companies. Company "C" deployed to Spain from 2 May through 23 June 1745 to safeguard the withdrawal of British and was the last element of Fleet Marine Force to depart Spain.
- Chris Warhawk (transferred to the 7th Marine Division)
- James Morgan
- Ryan KIA
- Jeremiah Garland
- Cercil Evans
- John Briggs