Lipa, P.I. & the ETO
1 May 1945, the recon platoon found a company-sized unit of the enemy in the 187th’s zone of responsibility. The 2d battalion, along with 81mm mortars and LMGs (light machine guns) spread out to attack the enemy on three sides. F Company had a kill count of 92 Japanese versus one man of theirs missing the following day. From 3 May on, the fighting was considerable. 10 May, with the situation easing, the division left the area to be patrolled by Filipino guerrillas and was once again united and prepared to set up their base camp amongst the ruins of Lipa.
During the month of May, a new T O & E (Table of Organization and Equipment) was put into effect as replacements finally arrived. A battalion was added to each glider regiment. The 188th Infantry and the 674th Field Artillery became parachute units. The 472d Field Artillery Battalion was added to Division Artillery and the 187th became a Para-Glider Infantry Regiment. For the first time since their creation, the 11th A/B totalled 12,000 men.
7 May 1945, the war in Europe was over, the famous V-E Day, and the men of the 11th Airborne were very happy for their counterparts in the ETO, but they knew the Japanese would remain solid and faithful in their convictions. The fighting in the Pacific would continue, it was a matter of honor. My father, Smitty, had told me of the hatred the G.I.s felt for the enemy and granted, he wasn’t overjoyed at the prospect of getting shot at, but he said he had to have respect for their patriotism and tenacity. (Yamato damashii – Japanese spirit and Bushido – the way of the warrior.) Now, the troopers began to wonder if they would receive ample reinforcements. Rumors began to fly. (Actually, 6 May 1945, 8:41 p.m. Eastern War Time, in Reims, France after 5 years, 8 months and 6 days, the Third Reich ended.)
10 May, the 11th A/B Division regrouped outside Lipa. If a soldier was not at an outpost or out on patrol, he was helping to build a camp in the coconut groves with those all too familiar pyramidal tents. Bamboo and steel matting was used to raise the tents up about a foot since it was about to become rainy season once again. Between two mountains, USO shows and movies began to arrive and a jump school and glider classes were held for the “green” replacements.
11 May, was the first span of 24 hours in a total of 101 days that no one from the 11th Airborne Division had killed one of the enemy. Their average before that had been 93.8 Japanese per day and during that time General Swing was unable to afford even one company to be in reserve. (I believe this in itself deserves a commendation.)
Some stories thrill you with their courage and American ingenuity. The tale of the USS Bunker Hill, her rescue ships and the brilliant resolution that Captain Seitz developed is an ideal example. Unfortunately, on 12 May, the USS Hugh W. Hadley is also hit by a OHKA piloted bomb.
Current News – In Topeka, Kansas there is a new World War II exhibit to open this summer at the Eisenhower Presidential Museum. The 10,000 square foot collection of 78,000 items will be on display through 2016. Their aim is to make the story compelling to young people and to spark their interest in history. It will reflect the movement of U.S. forces during the war and into the surrenders of Germany and Japan. The curator, William Snyder said, “It’s hammering home how different things were, just getting people to realize how much slower things were.”
Remember to click on a photo or newsclipping to see the detail or read. V-E Day photo is curtesy of Female Imagination. wordpress.com. USS Bunker Hill photo from the VFW Pictorial account of WW2. We express our thanks.
Posted on February 15, 2013, in SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged ancestry, family history, Gen. Swing, History, Luzon, Military, Military History, Pacific War, Philippines, veterans, WW2, WWII. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.