Back on Luzon

Mount Macolod, Luzon

Back on Luzon in the Philippine islands, we return to the US Army still fighting Yamashita’s formidable soldiers…

When General Swing, Commander of the 11th Airborne Division, moved into the stripped-down Manila Hotel Annex, General Krueger began to visit him every other day. His competitive nature tried to get Swing to back-off from pushing into Manila first by saying, “don’t stick your neck out,” but Swing replied, “It’s been sticking out a mile since we landed.”

Mount Macolod was not some minor hill to be taken, this was a major battle for the 11th Airborne. It stands almost 3,107 feet, nearly vertical. On two sides, after a 1,200 foot drop, it has three ridges descending gradually. The north to south nose was known as Brownie Ridge, the east as Bashore and the third, a heavily wooded area that connected Mt. Macolod with Bukel Hill.

Brownie Ridge was the most heavily fortified section encompassing those infamous caves and tunnels previously built by enslaved Filipinos. G-2 (Intelligence), informed the soldiers that they would be up against the Japanese 17th Infantry Regiment and the 115th Fishing Battalion (Suicide Boat Unit), under the command of Colonel Masatoshi Fujishige (Fuji Force).

Mount Macolod

For the attack, the 187th, the 760th & 756th Field Artillery Battalions, the 472nd, the 675th Glider Field Artillery Battalion, the 44th Tank Battalion and Company B of the 127th Airborne Engineers were used. (To help avoid what could become very confusing here, I will concentrate on the 187th.) They were equipped with 155mm howitzers, 105mm howitzers, sawed-off 105mm howitzers, Sherman tanks, chemical mortars and flame-throwers. Air attacks were brought in to assist. An entire squadron of P-47s made numerous runs with bombs and then proceeded to strafe the enemy sectors.

F and G Companies of the 187th began house-to-house fighting, but were met by massive machine-gun fire. The enemy was dug in too far underground. Napalm strikes were brought in which enabled the 1st of the 187th to go around to the north of Dita and the 2nd held its position near the town. This was 27 March 1945.

Both units made a frontal assault into the Macolod area the following day. The flamethrowers were used on the enemy bunkers and E and G Companies made it to the top of the crest. Their M-1 fire took out snipers and more advancement was made, but the Japanese returned with mortar fire and a withdrawal was necessary. The enemy came at them throughout the night and following morning with banzai attacks. This was a fierce and bloody battle, especially for men who have never been sent into reserve for rest.

The small islands that XI Corps had to secure were Caballo, a mile south of Corregidor; Carabao, hugging the Ternate shore; and El Fraile, about midway between the other two. The Japanese on those islands posed no threat to Allied shipping–their ordnance was too light–but, like other bypassed Japanese garrisons, they had to be taken sometime. Although the islands had little or no military significance, the operations to secure them offer interesting examples of military ingenuity and unorthodox tactics.

Some of the 11th A/B troopers were put into a new light. There were no airdrops and no amphibious landings. They used native outrigger canoes to land themselves on Saipang Island where the enemy was using machine-gun fire on the troopers. It was mandatory that machinery to be eliminated. Therefore, at dawn, the canoes moved out. The paratroopers behaved like natives, but fought like soldiers and the small island outpost was cleared of Japanese.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Daniel Kahikina Akaka – Hoolulu, HI; US Army, WWII, ETO, 442nd Regiment, Purple Heart / Senator & Representative

Franck Bauer – FRA; WWII, ETO, underground radio broadcaster, WWII 

Warren Baum – Miami, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, aircraft mechanic

Arthur Eberly Jr. – Charleston, WV; US Army, Korea

Norman Goldstein – Brooklyn, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Carel Jan van Oss – Netherlands; RAF/Dutch Air Force & resistance, WWII

George Lawley – Bessemer, AL; US Army, WWII

Sherwood Maxwell – Henderson, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, A Co./675 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Norman Silvira – Union City, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Medical Co./187th/11th Airborne Division

Ted Young – Poole, UK; Royal Engineers, WWII, ETO

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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 12, 2018, in SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 62 Comments.

  1.    I am trying to promote the peace-love award just like the other award we have here on wordpress. You have been selected for this award. I will be happy if you appreciation is showed on the comment box with the link provided below. Again, you follow the criterias for the best 5 nominees of yours also.
    https://patrickrealstories.wordpress.com/2018/04/08/normination-link-for-my-first-50-persons-bloggers-for-the-peace-love-writer-awardfirst-promo/

    #PATRICKSTORIES
    Peace ✌and Love ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • I thank you, Patrick for the nomination. I am # 53. My blog does not accept awards, as I feel none of the content is about me, but that of the grand troops of WWII who fought for the freedoms we enjoy (and many abuse) today. But, I don’t mind telling you that my earliest recollection is either 3 or 4 years old picking out which records my parents wanted to hear on my turntable by remembering the color of the label (because I couldn’t read yet). I try to remain in the background on my site, like a narrator in a documentary and read and research daily.
      So for reasons explained, I will be declining the offer.
      I hope this in no way will affect a future relationship between us.

      Like

  2. Once again words fail me when thinking of what these men did.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. thank you for never
    forgetting to care
    about those sacrifices 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. GP – I always read the Farewell Salutes. I appreciate very much that you take the time and trouble to research and post this. It is one of the key things that make this a very special blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Invasion by outrigger – that’s a new one. These guys were nothing but ingenious.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. In the farewell Salutes, undoubtedly two very extraordinary men, Franck Bauer & Carel Jan van Oss, who obviously risked torture and an horrible death daily, at the hands of the Gestapo, as members of the Underground in Europe.
    An experience that is truly unimaginable

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Mount Macolod looks absolutely formidable.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Canoes vs. machine guns- ugh. You sure know how to leave these accounts at a cliff-hanger! I hope they got some training with the boats before they were sent out?

    Liked by 2 people

  9. GP, here is someone for your farewell salute – Clarence Michalis. See my post on LI past & present. I searched your blog for USS Hall but nothing came up. You can delete this comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The outrigger canoes were an interesting gambit, G. You certainly wouldn’t want to come under fire in one, it seems to me! –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Chemical mortars, napalm and flame-throwers, I bet they are all banned now. But what on earth could the Allies have used against the Japanese? We would still be fighting them now if we hadn’t had recourse to the real horrors of war.

    Liked by 1 person

    • True, John. Being politically correct in war makes the ground troops fight with one hand behind their backs. It may sound heartless, but, but it’s the truth. You can’t be concerned with individual rights when people are trying to kill you.

      Like

  12. Thank you, GP. I was fascinated by the canoe story.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You couldn’t make this stuff up!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. We are ingenious warriors, aren’t we? Good article, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think that generation survived mainly by using their heads and coined: ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’ The more I learn about them – the more amazed I am!

      Like

  15. Great post, as usual, GP. Remembering the past is the key to preserving the future. Too bad more of this isn’t taught in American history classes.

    Liked by 2 people

    • As much as I’ve been hearing about our educational systems, especially college level, it being taught less and less. I wish I knew why – it must conflict with someone’s agenda I suppose.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Er werd gevochten tot het bittere einde.Hoeveel doden zijn er toen weer niet gevallen en het blijft maar doorgaan ook in 2018.We hebben dus niets uit het verleden geleerd.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Juist, Mary Lou, helaas maar waar. Mensen hebben gevochten sinds Kaïn Abel doodde. We zijn er trots op ‘beschaafd’ te zijn, goed opgeleid, zich bewust van onze problemen en regeringen, maar alles wat we doen is tirade en gewelddadig worden. Ik wou dat ik het antwoord wist.

      Like

  17. My parents told me one of those enslaved Filipinos who built those infamous caves at Mt. Makulot (the locals call it that) escaped and said the Japanese killed those workers after they were done so they could not divulge about the caves. The caves were intricately engineered and I understand the battles there were really fierce. The area was a dense jungle.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Sobering stories that help remind me of the strength in our past and the hope for our future. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  19. More hectic and bitter fighting, so close to the end. Bravery on both sides there, undoubtedly.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

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