Manila – Lake Taal – Laguna de Bay
The importance of Manila can not be stressed enough. The natural harbour has served as a strategically situated port for commerce and trade for centuries. Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay are connected by the Pasig River, where I believe we left off in the last post
As the 11th airborne was switched back to the Sixth Army, General Swing received orders to destroy all forces in Southern Luzon, specifically at Macolod and Lipa, along with clearing Route 19. The division had not received many replacements so they were even smaller in size than before; the 158th Regimental Combat Team was attached to partially compensate. The Manila-Batangas highway ran north to south and was essential to secure the port of Batangas for future landings. On top of all this, Swing was ordered to destroy enemy forces in Ternate. (Southern shore of Manila Bay) None of his men had the privilege of being in reserve, but the general had the utmost confidence in his men to succeed. His plan – Put the 187th on the right, going through the neck between Lake Taal and Laguna de Bay. The 158th on two other routes and the 1st of the 188th to Ternate.
22 February 1945, the Cairns Post reported that the 11th Airborne had been seen south-east of Laguna de Bay and surrounded an enemy unit at Mabato Point and compressed them into an area of 1200×800 yards. From there, they traveled through Alabang to Muntinupa where the Japanese were attempting to evacuate their troops. The 11th was relaying back reports of finding natives hacked to death by bayonet or burned alive by the enemy.
The 187th, with the675th Glider Field Artillery Battalion attached bivouacked near Mount Sungay and sent out daily patrols to the east. G-2 (Intelligence) knew the Japanese Fuji Force was out there and needed to picture the enemy locations. While the troopers fought ground battles, the engineers were carving out the mountain. The sheer cliff was almost vertical, but the roads being built was imperative.
Assistance with this article came from Rakkasans by Gen. E.M. Flanagan; the VFW; 2eyeswatching.com (pix only); The Angels: History of the 11th Airborne Division by Gen. Flanagan; Pacific War On-line encyclopedia & WW2 Database – all I wish to thank for their diligence in recording history.
Current news – The Purple Hearts Reunited organization will return Cpl. George Hemphill’s medal, which he had sent home during WWII for safe keeping and never saw again. A man in Fla. had somehow purchased the award in 2000 and it wound up in Vermont with yet another man. Hemphill, now 90, was hit with shrapnel Sept. 11, 1944 from an enemy sniper.
Also – From today’s wars – Gabe, the mine sniffing War Dog has returned here to South Fla. after 13 months of service in Iraq. Gabe,a golden lab retriever who was originally a stray rescue, received a medal for his 210 combat missions. In all – 40 awards and coins for his service. He and his handler, Sgt. 1st Class Charles Shuck will now spend a year doing public appearances.
Posted on January 21, 2013, in SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged 11th airborne, Airborne, Army, family history, Gen. Swing, History, Luzon, Military, Military History, Pacific War, paratroopers, Philippines, veterans, WWII. Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.