Race for Manila begins

situation map

situation map

By the beginning of February, 1945, the US Navy reported: since 19 June 1944, the Japanese have been losing 50 shipping vessels per week.  The US B-29’s, after bombing Singapore harbour, demolished the enemy shipping vessels there.  The US Air Force had begun to bomb Japan’s homeland as well.  Japan felt that if they beef-up their forces in the Philippines and were to drive the Allies off the islands, the United States would be forced to ease up on their bombardments.  Enemy replacements and war materiel began to pour onto Luzon.

3 February, 1945 is considered the starting date for the battle for Manila.  The Japanese are actually trapped in the city between the 11th Airborne Division moving up from the south and XIV Corps from the north.  This battle will go on all through the month with some of the most ferocious fighting of the war.

While advancing, the 11th A/B encountered heavy barrages from machine guns, mortars, artillery and grenades streaming from tunnels and caves above the highway.  After the enemy was eradicated, the command post dug in on the side of the road.  In the middle of the night, they were attacked.  Headquarters Company used flame throwers and rifle fire to fend them off.

My father would wrinkle his nose at the mere sight of a flame thrower on tv.  He said, “Once you smell burning flesh, it stays with you.  There’s nothing worse.  Everytime I see one of those things flare up, even in a movie, I can smell the fuel and flesh all over again.

flamethrower

flamethrower

The 11th A/B continued on to Tagatay Ridge where they would come upon more of the enemy. Colonel Soule directed the artillery of the 674th and the 675th while the final assault was made by the infantry. The troopers went uphill through the Mount Cariliao-Mount Batulao defile. This was Shorty Ridge; the eastern area that needed to be free of Japanese before the 511th made their jump. (The regiment had to be capable of meeting up with the rest of the division within twenty-four hours of their landing.) The forward Command Group of the Headquarters Company went through a mile of enemy territory to destroy the resistance on the ridge and make that first contact.

A mere two hours later, the Command Group followed along the fire-swept road and set up the division command post on the ridge. The Reconnaissance Group, right behind them, did not rest, but continued on toward Manila. The Command Group then folded in behind and set up another command post while under heavy fire. It was here that the plans for attacking Manila and Nichols Field were developed.

General Swing now had a supply trail stretching 70 miles and he began to fine tune the missions of some of the units. Colonel Hildebrand and the 187th were sent to Nasugubu and patrol the main supply route. Hildebrand was also put charge of thousands of guerrilla fighters, not an easy job in itself. All in all, him and his regiment had been given a very large task. They were staring into the jaws of the noted Genko Line. (which will be explained soon.)

Luzon

Luzon

4-11 February 1945, US President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Churchill and Russia’s Joseph Stalin met at Yalta in the Crimea for a conference. It was decided that when Germany is defeated, Russia will declare war on Japan. It was clear to all that Stalin was already putting in a claim for territory (the spoils of war) after the Allied victory.

(Click photos to enlarge )

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on December 19, 2012, in Letters home, SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. Pierre Lagacé

    missing images

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    • Unless W.P. comes up with a fantastic resolution – it looks like I’ll have to start all over – in THAT case – IT WON’T BE WITH WORD PRESS.

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  2. I have a longstanding interested in WWII. Done some posts and book reviews about it. This blog is for me!

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  3. There is a documentary called The Last Days of WWII currently running which runs the detailed scenario in which you are writing. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is an excellent documentary. I’m looking forward to reading your father’s account of the Manila invasion.

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  4. Thanks for visiting my blog. The Pacific war holds fascination for me as well.

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  5. I believe I have a full after battle report in my digital archives somewhere about the battle for Luzon if you are interested.

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  6. G’day there. Thanks for your very interesting site and thank you for liking “Never too late”. God bless you

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  7. You write this post as if you yourself were there. Have you had an opportunity to visit any of these places?

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    • Wish I had, I think it would add some depth and description to the articles, but lest I can not afford it. I suppose it comes from a lifetime of interest in the subject.

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  8. Reblogged this on harbin77 and commented:
    This is great reading and a history lesson

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  9. I have enjoyed reading about this war. I am what they call a baby boomer for I wasent boarn till 46. I wikk never say I know waht all the men went through, I was in the Viet Nam war and only saw the fighting from my ship but I did loose some friends over there.
    Thanks again for your service

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  10. This “up close and personal” side of the War in the Pacific is fascinating. Thank you for sharing your father’s story.

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  11. Thanks for this history lesson of a little known fact about WWII. I feel people should read all your posts like I did yesterday.

    I will write a short post on Lest We Forget to direct my readers to your blog.

    Pierre

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  1. Pingback: Why Veterans Seldom Talk About the War? | Lest We Forget

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