Fast and furious
Colonel Hildebrand, commander of the 187th, had been given control of the guerrilla units which totaled approximately 5,000 and when they were not arguing amongst themselves, ended up being credited with 2,300 enemy kills. The 11th’s own Reconnaissance Platoon, made from members of the Headquarters Company, headed toward Tagatay Ridge to meet up with the 511th, still preparing for their jump on Mindoro. (By the time the 11th A/B reaches Manila, the Recon Platoon will have spent more time behind enemy lines than in front of them.) The 511th made their jump in three waves, due to the lack of C-47s.
In this short time, they had landed on Luzon, unloaded their equipment, established a port and an airstrip, advanced nineteen miles and penetrated the enemy’s main line of resistance (MLR). On 4 February, General MacArthur said in a communique that Manila was free and in our hands, but as was his nature, he was a bit hasty in his reports. The Sixth and Eighth Armies had a lot of work ahead of them.
The 19th Infantry relieved the 2nd battalion of the 187th at Nasugbu and they proceeded up Highway 17. (their chattering monkey mascot made the journey with them). After hearing small gun fire during the night, Col. Tipton yelled out, “You trigger happy bastards stop that goddamn shooting.” The enemy began yelling back and a battle started as they charged. (the monkey mascot continued his chattering)
The 188th and the 1st of the 187th continued to advance toward the western edge of Tagatay Ridge despite the stubbornly defended Cariliao-Batulao defile. They were confronted with heavy artillery, machine gun and small arms fire as they rounded the steep bend. The southern ridge, the highest area of Tagatay Ridge would hereafter be known as “Shorty Ridge,” named after Colonel “Shorty” Soule. The Japanese artillery was extremely accurate and the 11th would soon find out the answer. Before the G.I.s even landed on Luzon, the enemy had put white crosses in the trees and had pre-adjusted their artillery to them. The soldiers were not the only ones pinned down. With them was “the spearhead tipped with brass.” Generals Eichelberger, Swing, Pierson and Farrell were in the group. Col. Coe was killed, Col. Wilson and Capt. Lyman of the 187th were wounded.
More than 300 enemy soldiers were killed on Shorty Ridge, an important area of defense for the Japanese that included reinforced caves and tunnels. The 511th was in the process of jumping.
Personal note – Be sure to stop in and see my guest post at greatestgenerationlessons.wordpress.com this coming Monday, the 7th. Judy and I will await your honest comments. We appreciate the feedback so that both blogs will continue to improve.
Posted on January 3, 2013, in SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged 11th airborne, Airborne, Army, family history, History, Luzon, Military, Military History, Pacific War, paratroopers, Philippines, Shorty Ridge, Tagatay Ridge, veterans, WWII. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.