December on Leyte

11th Airborne member with carabao and herder

In the hills west of Burauen, Gen. Swing ordered Col. Harry Wilson into the hills.   According to Chief Warrant Officer Nelson, “We moved off light, each man carrying his own weapon, with ammo and 2 day’s K rations.  In our wake moved Lt. Eli Berheim’s supply train; its rolling stock a herd of sluggish, patient carabao loaded with heavy weapons, spare ammo and the heavier signal equipment.  Such was the life in the ‘modernized war.'”

Eli Bernheim had more than his share of trouble with the carabao and resupplying the 2nd Battalion/187th Regiment/11th Airborne Division.

“I had the problem of getting adequate ammo resupply to the battalion area through the incredible mud.   Col. Wilson has issued me a substantial amount of pesos.  I bought a number of carabao and a couple of young Filipino herders.  We built some heavy bamboo sleds and dragged the ammo to the battalion area…

“I became somewhat notorious as the chief of the carabao pack train.  There were some humorous incidents.  We didn’t know that males and females had to be separated.  Unfortunately, we had one females who went into heat and the males started fighting and goring, resulting in some severe wounds.

457th Field Artillery Battalion

“The Filipinos kept yelling “creosote, creosote” which we didn’t understand until it became apparent that this was the prescribed treatment for gore wounds.  We had no creosote, but there was the usual supply of the World War II delight – Dubbin, and for once it was useful.

“I won’t go into the details on the horrors of the march through the mountains, I can recall more than one night spent in a hole with water up to my chin or in places where you couldn’t dig a hole and tried to sleep on the mud covered by a poncho.

“Eventually, we could take the carabao no further.  We lost 2 heavy machine-gun cradles when a carabao fell off a ridge.  We finally turned the animals lose and the herders tried to backtrack,  I don’t know what ever happened to them.”

While Lt. Bernheim had his hands full supplying the 2nd/187th, the 1st Battalion had been patrolling deep into the area behind Bito Beach going after and successfully eliminating a number of the Japanese who had survived their transport crashings.  The battalion moved by amtracs to occupy the east end of San Pablo airstrip.

A battery of the 457th/11th Airborne was preparing to make a jump on Manarawat.  Normally 12 C-47’s were required for the firing battery to make the jump, but Colonel Nick Stadherr only had one.  To spare the battery from making a trek across the mountains, the pilot chose an area 500′ x 150′ for the drop zone (DZ).  With cliffs on all sides, the 11th Airborne historian wrote:

“…tremendously proficient jump-mastering by Col. Stadherr, who personally jumped each planeload, landed all equipment and men in 13 plane trips, directly in the center of the field… No injuries were sustained, even though the men jumped from 300′.  From that day on, A Battery provided 360° support to all the infantry fighting in the area.

This information is from, The Angels: A History of the 11th Airborne Division, by Lt.General E.M. Flanagan (Ret.).   Gen. Flanagan was the commander of B Battery/457th Parachute Field Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

Army – Practical Joke.

‘Every war game scenario I’ve run has you picking up the check.’

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ray Aders – Lelcester, NC; US Army, WWII, ETO, Graves Registration

Michael Beard – Sussex, ENG; British Navy, WWII, HMS Vengence, radioman

Lois Dinnadge – NZ; NZWAAC # 809017, WWII

Elroy Hempstead – Brooklyn, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt.

Elmer Kessel – Independence, KY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Jack LaFleur – Island Heights, NJ; US Army, WWII, ETO & Korea

Albin Lozowski – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Adolph ‘Len’ Scott – Dryden, MN; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Belleau Wood. aviation machinist mate

Kenneth Trickett – San Bernadino, CA; US Navy, WWII, USS Price, fire control

Joseph Zasa – Mountain Brook, AL; US Army, WWII, PTO, Corps of Engineers

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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 May 22, 2017, in First-hand Accounts, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 47 Comments.

  1. “I can recall more than one night spent in a hole with water up to my chin or in places where you couldn’t dig a hole and tried to sleep on the mud covered by a poncho.” That sounds miserable!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. WOW! What a couple of great stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Unwritten history is the bad thing about this controlled culture. Chikdren will think war is a video game where no one gets hurt.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I so agree, Koji! I know they found that the video-game-generation turned out to be great bombardiers and riflemen, but other than that, I really don’t like the children actually thinking that their games are the real thing.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Not only is this in education it’s a tug at your heart. Thank you for sharing each week.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve literally just watched a programme about a young man searching through the jungle for unknown animals. I just don’t think we have any conception how dreadful conditions must have been for soldiers in WW2 in theatres such as the Philippines, Burma or any other of the many places with such a hostile environment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t think we can conceive any of it truthfully. The lives those people led and were slammed into unknown terrors to continue fighting for their lives and those of others – they were simply remarkable people of the likes we will never see again.
      I will finish the book “The Airmen and the Headhunters” about Borneo – I find myself incapable of writing a worthy review of all they endured.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. It is unimaginable the Hell these brave men with through on Leyte.
    Mr.Bing helped me learn about Dubbin

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Chuckin’ ’em out from a C47 into such a small pitch with no injuries—says a helluva lot for the jumpmaster and pilots. Bravo zulu all round~!

    (And that cartoon with the paper bag—classic!)

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Thank you for this GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s amazing to learn what ordeals they met. Brave men!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Interesting view of !modern! warfare. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. They were certainly resourceful by using whatever animals or people were available to help. They had to be pretty desperate to consider Dubbin as a healing salve. I thought it was a boot treatment.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Animals of all kinds played a major role during the war, and they suffered along with the men. What is the “Dubbin” they used in place of creosote?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. If you’d asked me, I would have said you couldn’t sleep in water. Now I know better.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Hi GP!
    I hope you’ve had a fulfilling and productive National Military Appreciation Month so far.
    Isn’t it fun doing what you love while serving others?
    How blessed you are to have found your call 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  15. What an account. Hero’s in action.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Lol! Mud is pretty much a constant companion to the infantry! Great story about the carabao! Just another example of GI ingenuity!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. House of Heart

    Another interesting and informative post GP, thank you. Have a great day!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Everything I have ever read about war, from Waterloo, to Vietnam, mud is always mentioned. Mud became one of the natural enemies of soldiering, and the main discomfort, it seems. My uncle who fought in the North African desert during WW2 used to say it was better than when he went to Italy later on. “No mud to speak of.”
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. I’ll remember that about Dubbin. Perhaps we should get some in. It might come in handy should a Dobbin turn nasty. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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