187th/11th Airborne Division – Luzon, April 1945

This excerpt is from “The 11th Airborne Brick” by: Marvin Miller

[Filipino scouts had just killed 2 Makapili ( enemy sympathizers), and parts of the 187th/11th Airborne were near.]

The men in the company walked right by the bodies of the two slain men, the captain refused to even look in that direction as if he didn’t have the slightest idea of what just went on.  He would never tell a soul of what happened there that day.

A hard, driving rain began to fall on what Wayne thought was a Tuesday and 3 days later, it was still raining.  He kept his little New Testament Bible and his latest letter from Roxie dry by using a rubber bag he had taken off a dead enemy soldier.

Luzon, 1945

On that Saturday, the sun was shining brightly as they prepared to continue their trek through the muddy jungle trail.  They moved out within the hour and had made a couple of miles by noon.  The heat was stifling and the humidity made it unbearable.  It was difficult to breathe.

In an instant, a land mine and some snipers took the Filipino scouts out.  Shots were being fired from all directions as the troops found themselves in the crossfire of an ambush that had been carefully planned by the Japanese.  The rest of the company hit the ground in the thick vegetation for cover.

As usual, Fikes was shouting out orders to his men on how to fight the enemy, but the gunfire was too loud for him to be heard.  Besides, nobody ever listened to him anyway and he knew that in situations like this, it was every man for himself.  It was simply kill or be killed.  He grabbed a hand grenade, pulled the pin and quickly lopped it into the direction where he heard a Jap machine-gun.

The grenade exploded bu the machine-gun fire continued.  He tried again and missed.  When he jumped up the third time, the machine-gunner was waiting for him….

Plante got to his knees and then stood up shooting his flamethrower into one direction and then another.  He dove for cover after the third blast, waited a minute or two and then did it again.  He repeated this process over and over again for what seemed to be hours…

soldiers in the tall grass of Luzon

Wayne and Branson were firing their weapons too at every chance they had.  In fact, they had fired so many times that Wayne’s BAR malfunctioned.  He left his position close by his best buddies and crawled through the tall grass in search of another weapon.  He found an M1 just a few yards away where Pfc Hanson was laying dead.

The firefight seemed to be lasting for an eternity…  Both sides were running low on ammunition.  The Japanese were so low that they were now ready for  the second phase of their attack, the banzai charge.  They stood up, those without ammunition used the bayonets on their rifles or used their sabers.

Philippines, 1945

There were 53 in the banzai charge.  Over half were shot dead before they reached the Americans, but what few did reach the soldiers were either killed in hand-to-hand combat or shot.  It was over in less than a minute.

Branson was field promoted that day and took over Fikes’ platoon.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – SNAFU in “Outpost”

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Kenneth Anderson – Red Wing, MN; US Army, Korea

James Blevins – Ash County, NC; US Army, WWII, ETO, mechanic

Daniel Diana – Brooklyn, NY; US Navy, Lt.Comdr.

David Garcia – St. Louis, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, (MLB Mgr.)

Michael Healy – Chicago, IL; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, 4th Rangers w/ 187th RCT / US Army Special Forces, MGeneral (Ret. 36 y.)

Gorge Keagy – Ft. Lauderdale, FL; US Coast Guard, gunner’s mate, USCG cutter Vigilant

Thomas Nix – Boulder, CO; US Navy, WWII, USS Lexington

Frank Osmer – Hudson, NH; US navy, WWII, gunner’s mate, USS Astoria

Virgil Smith – Haines City, FL; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Chuck Stevens Jr. – Van Houten, NM; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, (MLB 1st baseman)

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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 June 4, 2018, in First-hand Accounts, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 63 Comments.

  1. Make that “187th GIR” not “18th”! (my eyes rather suck) ~ Sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yikes – that’s the unit I have been following here in the 11th Airborne posts. I can give you a list of books (if you like) that would fill you in on a lot of their action.

      Liked by 1 person

      • A book list would be great, thank you! I’m compiling info to make several books as gifts to my siblings, and other fam members who are interested (there aren’t many :/)

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’ll get right on it. I’m thrilled to find another child of the 11th Airborne!!

          Like

        • You’ll find the 511th Regiment mentioned quite a lot. They were added after the 187th & 188th were formed but still felt that they were better than everyone else, even caused Gen. Swing a headache or two. So here’s some to get started with…..
          “Rakkasans” (the 187th from WWII to Desert Storm); “The Angels” and “Los Banos Raid” – all by: General E.M. Flanagan
          “11th Airborne Brick” by:Marvin Miller (a 187th member
          “Rescue at Los Banos” by: Bruce Henderson

          Then don’t forget, as a child of the 11th A/B, you can become an Associate Member of the 11th Airborne Association. You will receive your I.D. card and quarterly 11th A/B newspaper, “The Voice of the Angels”

          Don’t be a stranger and feel free to add anything your father did mention here and ask any questions you like!

          Like

          • Thank you, GP! When we attended our son’s graduation at Ft Campbell KY (SOAR Green Platoon), I had a pic of me taken in front of the Rakkasan Tori Gate. I know it was after my dad’s time in the War, but was still rather cool. Also, the copy of his ‘recuperating’ telegram says ‘SF’ and I always assumed he was in a hospital there, but actually it was the (APO) “118th General Hospital”–which was in Australia! He never said a word…figures 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • The 187th were called the Rakkasans when they entered Japan, because it meant “Umbrella men,” so your father is included in that. Stop in any time and let me know these details about your father’s movements. 187th/11th A/B – 1st Airborne Division – 1st into Japan!!

              Liked by 1 person

            • Almost forgot to tell you, you might want to look into the 5th Air Force too. They were the guys who helped train the 11th and usually carried them around the Pacific.

              Like

  2. Hi GP,
    I’ve been reading your blog with interest. My dad was PVT Charles E. Mulford, 18th GIR, F Co and was in the Philippines Jan-March 1945; possible earlier, in Dec ’44. He would say very little about his war experiences–obviously they impacted him deeply–so over the years, I’ve been trying to piece together what he may have been part of (I was 18 when he died of a heart attack in 1973 & no one else is alive to fill me in) I did request a replacement Purple Heart medal from the archives as the first was destroyed in a fire, and a copy of his service record which is nearly illegible. He was only 5’8″ and 145 lbs when he was drafted–a real shrimp! All he would tell me was that he still had shrapnel in his foot and back, and that ‘very few of us came out alive,’ and that they were ‘taking a hill/mountain.’ I don’t know if it was Bukel Hill, or another one on or near Mt Macolod. I wonder if your dad & mine served together, though? Crazy to think of it!
    Btw…thank you for checking out the ‘About Me’ page on my own blog. I plan to rework or recreate it to be more relevant, and perhaps even more lucrative (one can always hope).

    Regards ~ Barb (Mulford) Dyess aka Bree Davison

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will do my utmost to try and locate as much as I can on your father’s unit and get back to you. This may take a while, but don’t think I’ve forgotten.

      Like

  3. BTW, I’m waiting for your D-Day post so I can spread it around. You always do such an amazing job on these.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A graphic and exciting account. I thought basic training told one never to stand up in the same spot more than twice.
    In that one picture they have the palm leaf surrounded. Did it surrender?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. FYEO

    Hello GP, Another fantastic post, thank you!

    I know this is out of the blue but I immediately thought of your expertise and knowledge when I viewed this video today, related to WWII and the new book written by Diana West (American Betrayal) I thought I would ask for your thoughts on the subjects discussed. I think you’ll find this to be a doubly interesting subject, involving WWII history as well as current contemporary realities. If you can find the time I would truly appreciate your input. Thanks my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ooopps forgot to add the link sorry. Video Here: – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5RLR77bpr4

      Like

      • I caught some major points in Ms. West’s discussion and see she has obviously come across some of the research I have as well – and I agree with her. I can visualize that there may well be some people that shrug her off as as disillusioned or a nut case, but she is worth listening to. Some argue with me that FDR in no way wanted war and wouldn’t do anything to keep us in the war – but, we see what happened. People should listen and understand how easily they can be led. The Russians consider us children, We do not have a police force that can take control because of our own laws tie their hands ; how our laws protect the guilty and how easily the laws can be circumvented. I could go on, but you see where I’m going with this.

        Liked by 1 person

    • At the moment, I’m a little bit behind, but I will get back to you on it – I’ve saved the link.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That ‘Pickled Fish Eyes’ cartoon should be compulsory viewing for all ranks …

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Made me nervous just to read it, G. It seemed to capture the reality of war. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Battlefields is Hell.
    Do-or-Die.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Interesting. Thanks, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Those Fijian Scouts and the New Guinea Fuzzy Wuzzies were the unsung heroes of the fight against the Japanese

    Liked by 3 people

  11. De dapperheid van de soldaten wordt gauw vergeten .Stel je maar eens voor dat je aan al die gruwel zou bloot gesteld worden

    Liked by 2 people

  12. An excellent account. The Japanese seem to move ever closer to being a group of zombies from a TV horror series. Quite extraordinary behaviour!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Partially due to the Allied attacks on their supply convoys and partially Japan’s lack of them, the enemy soldiers were getting less and becoming even more desperate, but they carry on for 4 more months.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Another great story of bravery in action. What a cover that tall grass would have given, but no protection at all. Amazing men!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Gripping story. Perhaps a lesson learned too late is to always change your location after tossing a hand grenade.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Loved the “Private Snafu”!!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  16. What a gruesome example of the horrors of war!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. April is terribly hot and humid in Luzon. With the weather not on your side and the enemy closing in, it must be terrifying to say the least. But they fought bravely. Salute to all of them. Great post GP.

    Liked by 3 people

    • If they weren’t complaining about the torrential rains, it was the sweat from the heat. Thanks, Rose.

      Liked by 2 people

      • There are two kinds of weather there. Dry from Dec. to May and Wet from June to November. Best time is December when it is cooler. Mom said it’s cold at 70 degrees. Hilarious.

        Liked by 2 people

        • And I love it when it gets down to 70 around here!! I liked the weather here when I was younger, but the older I get the harder it is to put up with. Yesterday was 92 with a heat index of 105. And to think that still doesn’t hit what these men endured – in uniforms and carrying equipment!!

          Liked by 2 people

          • It’s a little cooler here than there but I still don’t like July and August weather. Much too hot for me lately. It was high 70s here yesterday. Perfect with a little breeze. I can’t imagine carrying those gears in their uniforms in that hot, humid place!

            Liked by 1 person

  18. A real testament to the random nature and intensity of combat and close action fire-fights. Even those who survived had to face the knowledge that it would all happen over and over again. A powerful personal memoir indeed.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. I was breathless reading it, must have been utter chaos, terrifying, yet they swung into action.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. As a person born in 1997 I can’t imagine the bravery needed by these people. Always an inspiration

    Liked by 3 people

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