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The situation was critical. What was expected to be a straightforward amphibious landing operation on Bougainville Island in late 1943 had turned into a lethal trap for the Marines conducting the invasion.
A heavily fortified and camouflaged enemy artillery gun was raining fire over the landing crafts desperately trying to reach the beachheads. The Japanese artillery crew had already destroyed four landing boats and severely damaged 10 others, inflicting numerous casualties on the Allied forces.
To make matters worse, the artillery post was strategically positioned so that no ship could approach the islands without coming well within the range of the powerful Type 94 75-millimeter mountain gun.
The operation was at risk of collapsing at any moment, but it was then, at the darkest hour, that US Marine Sergeant Robert Allen Owens did the unthinkable.
Owens assembled four volunteers and proceeded to charge toward the artillery post in a daring assault. Shots rang across Cape Torokina, and the Marines on the beach held their breath as the world seemed to stop. The fate of Operation Cherry Blossom now hung on the actions of Owens and his brave men…
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