78 years ago today, November 1st, 1943, men of the 2nd and 3rd Marine Raider Battalions landed at Cape Torokina and Puruata Island as the opening phase of Operation Cherry Blossom. For Bougainville the 2nd and 3rd Raider Battalion were organized into the 2nd Raider Regiment. After the landing the Raiders pushed inland against light resistance. They spent most of the week manning a roadblock until the Japanese from the north and south outposts reached the Marines and counter attacked. After driving off the counter attacks the Raiders extended the perimeter of the beachhead on the 25th of November. Later on the 29th the Company M of the 3rd Raiders reinforced the Paramarines in their abortive landing at Koiari. The Raiders and Paramarines then acted as the corps reserve for about a month. The on December 21st the Raiders, Paramarines and a battalion of the 145th Infantry took over the 3rd Marines position. They would remain there until January 11th when an Army unit relieved them. Little did the Raiders know that this would be the last battle fought by the Raiders. The men of the Raider Battalions would continue on but as regular Marine Regiments.
I used From Makin to Bougainville as more source for this article. Its a good quick read. Go download it and read it yourself.
Below are what photos I could scrounge up of Raiders on Bougainville or at least purported to be of Raiders.
Here’s some pictures of Paramarines as a bonus