Eye Witness Account – Leyte

Leyte-Patrol

Leyte patrol

These events took place in November 1944, therefore please do not be offended by any offensive language.

This was written by Pfc Deane Edward Marks, Light Machine-Gun (LMG) Platoon/HQ2/11th Airborne Division.  From “No One Smiled On Leyte,” published in the “Voice of the Angels” newspaper, Matt Underwood, Editor.

“…It was still raining.  We had no idea where we were going.  Someone mentioned Ormoc, wherever that was.  We heard that somewhere ahead, part of the C/511th was surrounded by the Nips.  We didn’t have any idea what the hell was going on.  After a day or two of walking, we arrive where the C/5511 had been.  Now, I see my first dead man, he was a trooper.  Now I realize what was going on.  It was real, real.  Somehow the mud seemed wetter, the rain colder and the stomach emptier.

Type 96 LMG

“…every now and then they would open up with their “woodpecker”. [name given to the Japanese Nambu 6.5mm light machine-gun Model 96] … the only thing you do is drop to the ground and roll over a time or two so when you lifted your head, you would not be in the sights of the shooter … ole Vicbert D. Sharp, LMG Platoon Sgt., starts wiggling up the side of the slope with his M-1.  He stopped, saw a sniper in a tree, then another and with 2 quick shots, using Kentucky windage, he got the both of those Nips.

“One day we climbed up a very large plateau and moved up our LMG.  We didn’t know why – shucks we never knew WHY we did anything.  We just kept putting our feet in the mucky brown footprint in front of us.  About 2 hours after we set up, we looked out into the valley and ‘holy cow!’ here came this C-47 barreling at eye level perhaps a thousand yards to our front … a slew of red and yellow parapacks dropped and troopers started jumping …  We finally figured out that they were the 457th Airborne Artillery also part of the 11th Airborne!

Cameraman on Leyte

“We headed back to our perimeter around a place called Lubi …we looked up to see at least 6 C-47s flying at 6-8 hundred feet overhead.  I found out later that they were Japanese “Tabbys” (a DC-2 built in Japan), loaded with a few hundred Nip paratroopers headed for the airstrips around Burauen … raised hell for a few days and nights and were finally driven off by the HQ Company/11th Airborne.  (Smitty was there.)

“All the time the rain kept falling.  We were all damp and cold.  After dark, one’s eyes got big as saucers.  You couldn’t see 5′ in front of you and your imagination would run rampant.  There were Japanese out there and one consolation was, they were just as wet, muddy and cold as we were.  Sitting in your foxhole at night and waiting to see if they would try to slip through was something else.  You were full of anxiety….”

Click on images to enlarge.

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Current News –50

To Remember – April 25th is ANZAC Day!  To view this blog’s posts on that memorial day – type ANZAC Day in the search box [top right].

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Valor with Honor” will be screened on Vimeo starting May 2017 for Asian Pacific Heritage Month.    “Valor with Honor” not only records the deeds and emotions of the veterans of the 442nd, but highlights the difficult struggle of the brave Nisei both on and off the battlefield.



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Military Humor –

“THIS WASN’T COVERED IN THE MANUAL!”

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Farewell Salutes – 

Richard Allen – Little Rock, AR; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Bullwheel

Clifford Cursons – Wellington, NZ; RNZ Army # 239426, WWII, gunner

Arthur Gordon – Rochester, NY; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Cabot

Gary Hardman – Newcastle, AUS; RA Navy, Vietnam, HMAS’ Ibis & Parramatta

Robert Kabat – Cleveland, OH; US Army, 17th Airborne Division

Michael Mastel – Hague, ND; US Army, WWII, PTO, surgery technician

Walter Roderick – Fall River, MA; US Navy, WWII

Richard Saggau – Denison, IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 101st Airborne Division

George Teale – Vineland, NJ; US Army, WWII

Jack Wilson (106) – Willow Springs, IL; US Army, WWII

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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 April 24, 2017, in First-hand Accounts, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 78 Comments.

  1. That story depicts the stark reality of the terror the writer experienced, how can any Soldier return to normal civilian, life after undergoing those type of experiences is unbelievable.
    Great post gp.
    Will now research Kentucky windage.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. From our perspective today, we have no conception of what these men really went through in those battles …

    Liked by 1 person

    • No we don’t, and we never will. That was a different world. Those people went through a Depression like we’ve never seen, fought to survive after one world war and landed in another. I can only try to keep their memories alive and have them remembered and appreciated.

      Like

  3. “…the only thing you do is drop to the ground and roll over a time or two so when you lifted your head, you would not be in the sights of the shooter… ” My father used that tactic after the war. He survived an assassination attempt when he ran for County Judge. He heard a noise in the bushes when he was coming home one night. His instincts told him to hit the ground. A bullet went over his head.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These first hand accounts are so fascinating, I love them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had a friend that was a Marine on Iwo Jima.
    He used to say he hated his D.I.’s guts until he got in combat.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Was this account related to the famous “Battle of Leyte” led by Gen. MacArthur? Did you know that one of our longest express way from Manila to Baguio (about 300 kilometers) was named MacArthur Highway? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • MacArthur walked ashore in October, this was on a different beach in November; still part of the 6th Army though at this time on Leyte.
      I did not know about MacArthur Highway on Luzon, but I presumed some remembrance of him would still be around in your country; he spent a lot of years there and felt a strong allegiance with the people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • He was a philippine hero who had a word of honor when he said, “I shall return” to free us from the japanese invasion. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • He fought long and hard with the upper “brass” in Washington and the Navy to have his plan be the main method of operation so that he could return. I’m happy to hear he has not been forgotten.
          What is the latest about the P.I. wanting the U.S. off the islands? I’m wondering how that will affect the 11th Airborne’s foundation with Los Banos.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Sitting in WA or at home in a comfy chair is certainly not the real world when our men and women are called upon to serve in war time. You certainly do a good deed by way of this blog in never forgetting the sacrifice so many have made on our behalf.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. “shucks we never knew WHY we did anything” Seemed to be forever the plight of the common soldier in WW II. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Another fine eye witness account. Thanks, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. To crazy man were in war and don’t know why ther are fitting

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great blog. Really enjoyed reading it. Loved the cartoons.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Not knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing can be a bit disconcerting. I guess you have to have a lot of faith in your leaders. I like first-person accounts of combat such as this, as it makes me able to see things more from a human level.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I saw nothing offensive 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Derrick. I’m sure someone would have. I once posted a letter General Swing wrote back home – and believe me, without the disclaimer – I had my head handed to me from the politically correct squad.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. The line: Shucks we never knew WHY we did anything, really saddened me. Sad to be fighting for your life without knowing why. Perhaps I interpreted that incorrectly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No you didn’t Bev. It’s sad not to know why you’re fighting, but luckily they did as they were told, because it probably saved their lives. Many a vet will tell you how they hated their D.I., but also thank him because his lessons taught them survival.

      Like

  15. My Dad who served in New Guinea said the same thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Julia C. Tobey

    Fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Another place to cross off my bucket list!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Another glimpse of how bad things were at Leyte!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This was such an amazing battle, it’s difficult to read about it.

    BTW, I’ve started sending your Military Humor to my Army son. He loves them!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I like these first person accounts. Thanks, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I prefer “street language” to “offensive language” for how men speak/spoke.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It seems nowadays, everything is offensive to somebody!! I really do not know what to say half the time!! Thanks for coming by!

      Liked by 1 person

      • For myself I use the lingo of the time and to hell with the ‘sensitivities’ of snowflakes—if it’s good enough for the warriors who saved their pantywaists, it’s damned well good enough for me.

        A tank cruising at periscope depth? Ye gods …

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Enjoyed reading this a great deal. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. The rain can at times be depressing but couple it with being in a strange land fighting a war and we can’t help thank them for their service.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Pierre Lagacé

    Powerful account!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Not knowing ‘Why?’ is an old complaint of armies since the earliest days of warfare. But they kept going through the rain and the mud, and they got the job done. Brave men.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Where do you find your cartoons?
    Guessing you’re too shy to let your readers know about the interview you gave?
    https://meetthebloggersblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/pacific-paratrooper-by-gp-cox

    Liked by 1 person

  27. “…shucks we never knew WHY we did anything.” I can only imagine that that sentiment made it even harder to be there. I guess, in a larger sense, they knew, but day-to-day, I’m sure many of them wondered.

    Liked by 2 people

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