Los Banos (2)

New Bilibid Prison

Heading out from New Bilibid Prison, the group also turned south down Highway 1 and eventually turned off at Mamatid, along the western shore of Laguna de Bay and about five miles above the San Juan River. Here, the entire convoy went into bivouac under a canopy of trees. Major Burgess finally informed the men about the upcoming mission, specifying the role of each company, the engineers, and the two gun crews.

Dry riverbed route to Los Banos

That afternoon the convoy of 54 amphibious tractors of the 672nd Amphibious Tractor Battalion, commanded by Lt. Col. Joseph W. Gibbs, moved out. The amtracs had been sitting at the Manila racetrack for a couple of weeks before making the trek southward through the streets.  After traveling along Highway 1 to Muntinlupa, the convoy turned east and crawled into the waters of Laguna de Bay. Traveling southward until just after dusk, Colonel Gibbs led his amtracs ashore near Mamatid to join Major Burgess’s waiting paratroopers, engineers, and artillerymen.

Finally, in the late afternoon, the reinforced Company B paratroopers moved out of New Bilibid Prison. Before the men left, the plan was revealed to them.  Word had come in from Filipino guerrillas that the Japanese were going to execute all the prisoners on the morning of February 23rd.”

Skau and his recon platoon and about 80 Philippine guerrillas moved over to San Antonio, a small shoreline barrio located about one mile east of the village of Los Baños. Leaving a few recon men behind to mark the beach with white phosphorous grenades, the rest of the band headed inland.  “Traveling overland through rice paddies, taking circuitous routes in order to skirt by the various enemy listening posts and outposts, it took us 10 hours to arrive at our objective [i.e. the internment camp],” wrote Terry Santos, the lead scout of the recon platoon.

Filipino guerrillas depicted in art

“Just as we crested the bank of Boot Creek [on the south side of the prison pen],” wrote Terry Santos, “enemy fire erupted at 3 minutes before 0700. This alerted the Japanese gunners in the pillboxes.”

Terry Santos, lead scout, 11th Recon

Charging the positions, two of the four recon men in Santos’s squad were wounded, and one of the 12 Philippine guerrillas with them was hit before two pillboxes were silenced. “Then suddenly a third, unreported machine gun opened fire on us,” Santos remembered. “We spotted this machine gun on a knoll near a large tree overlooking our exposed position. We kept it under fire until B Company troopers reinforced us.”

Nipa-style barracks for the internees.

Up above, the pilots spotted the intended drop zone, a small field to the west of the compound. “As we crossed the edge of the drop zone,” co-pilot Parker stated, “Major Don Anderson ordered the jump.

Picture by Jerry Sam w/ his secret camera.

The Japanese at Mayondon Point, an outcropping just west of San Antonio, fired upon the noisy, incoming horde of amtracs but scored no hits. As soon as the first wave of LVT-4s hit shore, one of Major Burgess’s paratrooper platoons scrambled out of the vehicles and set up a defensive perimeter around the beach. At the same time, the two 75mm pack howitzers were offloaded and went into action, firing at a Japanese position on a hill to the west. The empty amtracs and those in the succeeding waves then started down the road to Los Baños, 21/2 miles away.

To be continued…

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Merrill Bibens – Springfield, VT; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Ward Choate – Timber Pines, FL; US Coast Guard, WWII

courtesy of Cora Metz poster designs.wordpress.cm/, US Army

Marvin Edwards – Jacksonville, FL; OSS, ETO

Louis ‘Honey’ Guidroz – Westwego, LA; US Army, WWII

Malcolm Hayles – Monroeville, AL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 79th Fighter Squadron, pilot

Allen Koster – Rocky River, OH; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Korea, Annapolis grad., destroyer escorts & Intrepid

Frank Mann – Juneau, AK; US Army, WWII, Lt.Colonel

Charles Pappas – Worthington, MN; US Army, WWII, PTO

Marvin Reynolds – Shell Rock, IA; US Army, WWII

Elsie Thomson – Perth, AUS; AW Army Service, 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 February 21, 2018, in First-hand Accounts, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 66 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on Rosalinda R Morgan and commented:
    Rescue at Los Banos continues . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Quite an operation. Thank you for sharing it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome. Do you know Terry Santos was mugged in 2006 and he sure never forgot his skills and left the mugger with multiple broken ribs and cracked kneecaps? The cop could not believe he did that to a much younger man who ended in the hospital.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I did not know that – Good for him!! [That old saying, you have to watch out for the quiet ones!!]

          Liked by 1 person

          • I vaguely remember the news then but then I read it on “Rescue at Los Banos” and that sure recalled my memory. Here is the whole excerpts. You can leave it here or save it for future posts. Your call.

            In 2006, Terry Santos, then eighty-five years old, was leaving a restaurant in broad daylight when he was jumped by a mugger. As he had learned to do more than sixty years earlier, Santos reacted swiftly to neutralize the threat, bringing up his wooden cane hard between the legs of the mugger, who yelped in pain and went down. Santos then “went to work on him” with the curved end of the cane to make sure he wouldn’t get back up. A lady walking her dog across the street called the police.
            When paramedics arrived, the only person who required a ride to the hospital was the much younger mugger, who had multiple broken ribs and cracked kneecaps. A police officer looked at the elderly man wearing the “World War II Veteran: I served with Pride” baseball cap.
            “You did that?” she asked.
            “No,” Santos said, “my cane did.”
            Asked if he wanted to file a complaint against the man being taken away by ambulance, Santos declined. “He’s suffered enough.”

            Liked by 1 person

  2. This has to have been made into a movie somewhere in the past gp, those Amtracs definitely played a major role in that great rescue, with an execution date hanging over the prisoners head, timing was certainly a priority, looking forward to the sequel.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A stunning feat of tactics. The stuff that inspires movies.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am at the edge of my seat on this one!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post GP! I am itching to find out what happens in part 3!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is quite a tale. I was surprised to see the term “pillbox” here, as I’d assumed they were mostly on the other side of the war. It made me curious about them, and I found this article that you might enjoy. Someone else did some GP Cox-level research, there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Japanese were quite adept in building pillboxes, as you’ll see when the division goes further into Luzon. Always happy to see people doing research on their own, curiosity breeds intelligence.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Man, GP. This is a thriller.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for taking the time to read my posts, too GP :)) Today would be my Dad’s 97th birthday . . . he passed away in 1970, when I was just 16. He was 48 (just shy of his 49th birthday) and it was 48 years ago that he passed. Here are a couple posts honoring my Dad, who served in the war playing his sax and clarinet in the Army Band, stationed in Santa Ana, California, making musical scores for films in the war effort. Dawn

    https://journalofdawn.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/you-can-do-anything/
    https://journalofdawn.wordpress.com/20150325family-of-flying/

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You may be the first person I’ve read who can make a history lesson this much fun to read. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. As the mother of an LT (albeit in the Navy rather than Marines), I got a chuckle out of your comic!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Looking forward to Part. 3. Why do I keep on thinking Terry Santos was in the Cabanatuan mission too? I know he is an Alamo Scout. I have to locate my two books on Cabanatuan to confirm it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Spanning goed in verhaal gehouden

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am also anxious to see how this unfolds. I may have missed something somewhere—what is a pillbox?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I always learn something new every time I read your posts.
    Thank-you for sharing these stories

    Like

  15. I’m remaining on pens and needles, even though I know this ends well. Love the storytelling.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. You really brought this to life, GP. Kudos. Such a compelling telling. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Me too with the looking forward!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Exciting stuff indeed, GP. Looking forward to part 3!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you very much.

    Like

  1. Pingback: Los Banos (2)Give Me Liberty | Give Me Liberty

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