Tagatay Ridge, Luzon

Manila Hotel Annex, Dec. 1945
G. Mountz collection

Manila Hotel Annex, Dec. 1945
G. Mountz collection

By 1300 hours on 3 February 1945, General Swing had most of his division back together and he made the Manila Hotel Annex his CP (Command Post). The beautiful hotel seen in the picture above (10 months later) had been looted and ransacked long before the Americans got there, but it would suit their purposes. Frank Smith, a reporter for the Chicago Times reported that Gen. Eichelberger stated at the Annex, “The 11th Airborne Division is the fightingest goddamn troops I ever saw.”

Highway 17 would now begin to turn into a two lane concrete road. This seemed like a good sign for beating Gen. Krueger to Manila, but the 11th was short on trucks and the fuel to move them. Gasoline arrived on the 4th, delivered by ten C-47s. Forward scouts reported that the road was fairly safe as far as Imus and the 511th regiment moved out.

The 188th and the 1st of the 187th finished clearing out Shorty Ridge of the enemy and then they too moved toward Manila. It was here that Swing altered the missions of some of his units. General Hildebrand of the 187th was told to secure the main supply route (MSR) and was given control of the thousands of guerrillas of Batangas and Cavite provinces. Controlling and organizing the guerrillas was a difficult operation as they would remain loyal to whoever ran what section of which province. Coordinating their missions and tracking them and getting them supplies was extremely tedious in comparison to an Army unit. The guerrilla reports were not always reliable either. Eichelberger, in one, was told that Manila was burning to the ground. The general looked out his window and could see for himself that there was one small trail of smoke. Active patrols of the 187th, though shorthanded, drove the Japanese farther back into the mountains as they continued to move to an area south of the capital city.

On the 4th, the calvary, under Brig. Gen. Chase, arrived to release the 510 prisoners of Santo Tomas and Bilibid prison. Also on this date, General MacArthur released 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 Army coming down from the north and the Eighth Army (which was actually the 11th A/B) approaching from the south, had much work to do ahead of them. The 187th set their sights on the airfields and the areas where the Japanese manned the AA (anti-aircraft – also known as ack-ack) guns.

the old Bilibid Prison 1945

the old Bilibid Prison 1945

U.S. POWs behind Santo Tomas

U.S. POWs behind Santo Tomas

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 January 9, 2013, in SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. What a great blog. I’ve been working on a book about the Angels for a couple of years now.


  2. Your descriptions are so detailed that I can almost see the troop movements before my eyes. Thank you for bringing clarity to the War in the Pacific.


  3. About the Mosquito pilot…

    My blog about him and his squadron has 111 posts up to now. Started in April 2010.


    People find it and then share also what they know. It has not stopped since the first post…


    Talk about some journey into the past.

    This is what will happen with your blog about your father’s war years.

    Trust me on this Gail.


  4. Translation of my post…


    Mosquilo pilots were not running in the streets in 1945, even less in the streets of Bromptonville.

    Bromptonville will soon be something of the past since it was incorporated with the town of Sherbrooke.

    I am sadden when towns lose their identity and then their history.

    I knew nothing about this little town in the Eastern Townships before I meet in this man whose youth hero was a Mosquito pilot.

    This hero was Flight Lieutenant Eugène Gagnon DFC, son of Pierre Gagnon and Georgiana Garneau.

    He will live forever in the memory of the people thanks to this blog.


  5. Than you for continuing to explain how and when the division split up or changed. I am not of a military background and have found myself getting lost in conversations when people start talking with numbers. I am slowly catching on and your posts are clearing up conversations from earlier years with other people.


  6. This says it all…

    “The 11th Airborne Division is the fightingest goddamn troops I ever saw.”


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