End of March 1945 for the 11th Airborne Division

 

Luzon, 1945

22 March – The 187th Reg., the 674th and 675th Field Artillery units had completed their move from Tanauan to Cuenca, Luzon; taking over positions left by the 158th.

23 March – the Japanese stormed A Company’e outpost on San Jose Hill.    The outpost forced the enemy back but had lost Captain Hanna who had not remained in the safety zone with the rest of his unit.  The artillery forward observer was able to  call in artillery fire on the enemy locations and the following morning.

Col. Pearson dispatched G and F Companies to clean out the area.  Tanks battered down houses and the engineers deactivated land mines, but NW of the village, the enemy fired from concealed caves and stopped the attack.

117th Engineering Batt. searching for mines

24 March – the Japanese reentered the village of Dita during the night.  Four battalions of artillery and a squadron of P-47’s made several strikes and the F and G Companies followed up with house-to-house fighting through the streets.  The intensity of the Japanese machine-gun and mortar fire halted the attack.

27 March – following a mortar barrage from the 85th Chemical Battalion and airstrikes using napalm, the 1st Battalion dug in at Bukel Hill and the 2nd Battalion held position near Dita.  Thus began the bloodiest and toughest battle for the 187th to date. (The 187th still exists today.)

Banzai

28 March – in a perimeter south of the Dita schoolhouse, G Company had repulsed another banzai attack.  At 0500 hours, about 50 Japanese soldiers had attacked F Company and its guerrillas.

B-24s and fighter-bombers of the 5th Air Force hit Balete Pass tracts and ridges, installations at Santa Fe, and ground support targets N of Laguna de Bay and in Cavite and Batangas Provinces and B-25s and A-20s attack troop concentrations at Baguio and Ilagan. Bombers hit the Cebu City area and pound airfields on Negros.  B-24s bomb Likanan Airfield. The 39th Troop Carrier Squadron, 317th Troop Carrier Group, moves from Leyte to Clark Field, Luzon with C-47s.

In spite of the shelling and air strikes, the enemy had been able to continue nightly banzai attacks.

Luzon, WWII

The 187th Regiment historian reported: “the Nips took a much heavier toll of the attached guerrillas who had the old-fashioned idea that tropical nights were made for sleeping.”  [11 were killed and 10 others wounded).

On Luzon, fighters from the 5th Air Force attack targets in the Cagayan Valley and north of Laguna de Bay, blasting bridges and gun positions over wide stretches.  B-25s, A-20s, and fighter-bombers hit Cebu targets, several of the strikes being flown in support of ground forces.

By 1 April 1945, the 187th had encircled the landward sides of Mount Macalod – it had not been easy.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Armstrong – Tyler, TX; US Army WWII

Franklin Bissett – Morgantown, WV; US Army, Korea, 187th/11th Airborne Division

One of the cemeteries at Tarawa.

Anthony Cooper – Jamaica, NY; US Army, WWII, 1st Inf/British 8th Army / Korea, 101st Airborne (Ret. 23 y.)

Elroy Dragsten – Bookings, SD; US Navy, WWII, 2nd Lt.

Lyle Gray Regina, SK, CAN; RC Army, WWII, ETO

Richard Hall – Portland, ME; US Army, WWII, ETO, 36th Division

Jeffrey McDougall – W.AUS; RA Air Force # 82473

Edgel Oldroyd – Springville, UT; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Tossie Parker – Tuscaloosa, AL; US Army, WWII

Albert Yamolovich – MA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Cpl., Arisan maru (POW ship), KIA

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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 23, 2018, in SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 54 Comments.

  1. Hi GP, I needed to hit the refollow button, I missed some of your posts, your blog disappeared from my notification….WP …..Grrr. Great texts and photo’s as always! HH

    Liked by 1 person

  2. GP,
    Thank you for posting by the dates. My father was a replacement in F Co. during this time.
    The few times he would try to talk about this period of time the blood would drain from his face; in 2005 talked about how he empathized with the Marines, in An Bar province, doing the same house to house combat.
    He had a the utmost respect of the P.I. Scouts he fought with, talked highly of them, and was glad they were on the US side.
    Wes

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can understand your father’s reaction. My father lost his best friend to a makapili who booby trapped the man’s cot. My father related to the men in Vietnam and used to sit watching the news quietly shaking his head.
      After a detour, we’ll be back to the 11th A/B Div. to pick up April. You say your father was F Company, was that in the 187th?

      Like

  3. It’s really not possible to understand what it was like without having been there, but your writing gives a good account of what happened.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Life after work and commented:
    Thank you for reminding us of the debt we owe to those who have defended our country.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I am reminded of just how tough the fighting was, G. The door to door stuff has to be horrible. Also, I had had thoughts similar to Linda’s about the napalm earlier. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I think that I was really glad I could meet you by chance on this blog.
    Due to my comment, you may have complained from someone.
    I may have disturbed the direction in which your blog was originally aimed.
    It was participation from the middle, but in retrospect,
    I might be “Japanese soldier” and you were “American soldier”.
    I feel like I was fighting all the time.
    But you were always sincere.
    After the battle, you won a big “Faith(trust)” from me.

    Someday, I will be able to say “I’m honored to meet you.”

    Thank you,Salute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nasuko,
      I am honored by your comment. I hope you feel free to ask me most anything about this site and I will try to answer or find someone who can. You have made sincere contributions to this site and for that I am very grateful. In our schools, what little history that is taught, WWII is mainly about Europe and I wish to help correct that. Areas such as Alaska, Indonesia, Africa, the Middle East and the pacific (except for major USMC battles) are barely mentioned. I hope people see just how horrific war is and will take every step imaginable to stop it in our live time. I know this is a dream – but it is MY dream.
      It would be most utmost pleasure to one day meet you too.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You must have mentioned it before, but in this post, the use of napalm really struck me. Someone, I thought that was a more modern weapon — that it didn’t come into use until the Vietnam war. Obviously, that isn’t so. Just reading that word makes the entire description even more chilling. We just don’t realize how horrid things were for them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know what you mean, Linda. I felt the same way when I first heard it. As the veterans say themselves, ‘you can’t realize what it was like unless you’ve been through it.’

      Like

  8. You are definately a source or sources, so I don’t have to wikipidia, I’m a military history buff,the young men who went to those places, and having been in the Spanish Legion, I actually feel like a stupid lttle girl, I had other word to say, I write little comments here and there, to many people, but always enjoy or better said learn, from your blog.
    Thank you sir

    Liked by 2 people

    • I take that as quite a compliment, Charly, especially coming from one who has been through something similar! I don’t comment as often as I should on your site, but I barely have time to read through everyone’s posts each day and I’m not all that quick on the draw as far as something neat to say and my typing is even slower!!

      Like

  9. So close to VE Day, the guys in the far east were still taking such a pounding. Small wonder they thought themselves forgotten by the world.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The ETO was given so much more in the way of man-power and materiel, it is a smaller theater and compact (one unit could assist another) – I’m actually surprised it took so long to defeat Germany.
      Have a great day, Pete. Give Ollie a treat for me!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This post really communicates the savagery sacrifice of war.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Glad to read this info. I have not read any of these events in any books. They mostly focused on major battles yet this part of the conflict is still significant in pushing to the next phase. They seemed to be all over Luzon and the Visayas too. Those nightly banzai attacks must be frightening!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Most of this info is from the works of General E. M. Flanagan. I am proud to say I have been privileged to speak to him twice on the phone and have a note from him. An extremely nice gentleman!

      Liked by 4 people

      • I don’t have any book by Gen. E.M. Flanagan and I don’t recall reading any of his works except on this site. Good for you to be able to talk to him. That must have been awesome. I envy you. Looking forward to some exciting things coming up in April.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. What hellish days and nights. Thanks, GP

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The photo of the cemetery at Tarawa is particularly bleak.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Still enjoying the blog and calling out names of the men who gave their lives helps to make me feel important and proud.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m very happy to know that. They do deserve to recognized and you saying their names aloud is like calling out to muster. Thank you!! I know they’re hearing you.

      Like

  15. As always, excellent read. I am going to reblog this article for you Sir.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Getting very close to V-E day—I am curious to learn how/whether that had any effect on the war in the Pacific. Did it boost Allied morale? Lower Japanese morale? Make the fighting more intense? Less intense? Or no effect at all? (Sorry—I know I am getting ahead of you here. Just thinking out loud.)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hilarious “booby” trap and “mines”🤣😆🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I agree about the sleeping comment. How true.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. When I read this post, I was struck by the notion of how hard it must have been to sleep, while trying to remain alert to nightly attacks.

    Liked by 1 person

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