June to July on Luzon 1945

“Mopping-up”

General MacArthur relieved the headquarters of Sixth Army and I Corps of further operational responsibility on Luzon in order that the two could begin preparations for the invasion of Japan. The headquarters of Eighth Army and of XIV Corps assumed responsibility for the further conduct of operations throughout Luzon, where the only Japanese force still capable of effective, well-organized resistance was the Shobu Group.

For Sixth Army and I Corps, the meeting of the 37th Division and 11th Airborne Division units south of Aparri on 26 June had marked the strategic end of the campaign in northern Luzon. This conclusion attained considerable logic. The juncture had divided the Shobu Group’s remaining forces and had occurred while Yamashita was desperately trying to withdraw all available units into his last-stand area.

Moreover, Sixth Army estimated upon relinquishing control to Eighth Army that no more than 23,000 Japanese were left alive in northern Luzon and that these troops were disorganized and incapable of effective defensive operations. The 6th Army further estimated that only 12,000 of the 23,000 Japanese were located in the Cordillera Central between Routes 4 and 11, the rest in the Sierra Madre east of the Cagayan Valley.

XIV Corps would have under its control the USAFIP(NL), now a seasoned and reasonably well-armed force of 21,000 men supported by two U.S. Army field artillery battalions. Also under XIV Corps was the experienced Buena Vista Regiment, equivalent in size to a U.S. Army infantry regiment less supporting arms and services. All in all, it appeared that XIV Corps would become involved only in relatively easy mopping-up and patrolling operations.

The 6th Army had greatly underestimated the Japanese strength left in northern Luzon, and the 8th Army’s estimates, made upon its assumption of command, were but little closer to fact. Actually, at the end of June, close to 65,000 Japanese remained alive in northern Luzon, 13,000 of them in the Sierra Madre and 52,000 in the last-stand area between Routes 4 and 11.

Caring for injured Filipinos

Although organization, control, and morale were deteriorating, and although most of the troops were ill armed and poorly supplied, the Japanese in the last-stand area were still capable of effective resistance when the occasion demanded. The task confronting the U.S. Army and guerrilla units in northern Luzon was of far greater magnitude than any headquarters estimated at the end of June.  XIV Corps plan for operations against the remainder of the Shobu Group differed only in detail from those I Corps had previously employed.  Reduced to their simplest terms, both sets of plans called for the exertion of unremitting pressure against the Shobu Group wherever Shobu Group troops were to be found.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Donald Anderson – Mackay, ID; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. C/187th/11th Airborne Division

Francis Beecher – Norristown, PA; US Air Force, radioman

Greater love hath no man

Roy Custer Jr. – Miami, FL; US Air Force, Korea

Joseph Ferraro – Queens, NY; US Navy, WWII

Vincent Johnson – Minneapolis, MN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO

Al Kuschner – Great Neck, NY; US Navy, WWII

Carlo Lattinelli – Brooklyn, NY; US Army, Korea

Charles Merritt – San Diego, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, radioman, USS Panamint

Allan Redmond – Chicago, IL; US Merchant Marines, WWII, engineer

James Thayer – Carlton, OR; US Army, WWII, ETO, General, Bronze Star, Silver Star

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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 October 5, 2018, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 83 Comments.

  1. Thanks for your like of my post, ” You Must Be Born Again!;” you are very kind.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I looked at the first picture for a long time; what a window into the battle, though a small one

    Like

  3. Always interesting, especially making me aware of sights and sounds and sadness that my father experienced when he served. He really didn’t share much about it. Thanks,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Please know it was your father’s way of protecting you from these horrific times, and I’m glad I started this blog and helped you to know your father better.

      Like

  4. I learn so much about WWII from reading these posts. They make me realize how little I knew about this time period.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Understandable, they pretty much scanned over the war in school, didn’t they? I did a major report on MacArthur in elementary school and the teacher came to me to find out where I got the info – I told her my father’s scrapbook had the newspaper clippings and letters! HA, got one over on that teach, didn’t I?!! 🙂

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  5. I learn so much about WWII from reading these posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I guess the big guys should have remembered the old maxim: ‘Never underestimate your enemy.’ but it’s hard to tell big guys anything; they know it all – until they are proved wrong, but why is it that it’s always the ordinary little folk who pay the price and suffer the highest casualties? I find your anecdotes a compulsive read.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Vechten in de jungle doet je alle oriëntatie verliezen en moet men dan verwonderd zijn dat ook schattingen over hoeveel manschappen de vijand telde had helemaa niet klopten

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elke soldaat had een kompas, maar de jungle moet dingen verwarrend maken. Het ongelukkige oordeel van veel vijandelijke troepen werd gedaan door wat guerrillastrijders hen vertelden.
      Bedankt voor het langskomen, Mary Lou !!

      Like

  8. My husband says his Uncle was in the signal corps on Luzon during this period, a very sad time.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. There’s a world of difference between an estimate and an informed estimate, and the information available in those days was both harder to get and more limited in scope. Of course, the preconceptions of people interpreting the data come into play, too.Take hurricane landfall forecasting, for example. We have data galore, and computer programs to interpret it, but it still depends on the skill and experience of human forecasters to make sense of it all — and they can be remarkably wrong!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I can only imagine the sense of despair and demoralization of US and Filipino troops when they realized how far off were the estimates of enemy troop strength. After fighting so hard for so long and clutching at the faint hope that the war was nearing its end and victory was near, they find the slog was no nearer to ending than it was months ago.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Wow! 😮
    And the addition of the photos always brings the stories to life and adds a depth of emotion that we should experience as we read.
    (((HUGS))))

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Famous last words it will be a mop up operation

    Liked by 3 people

  13. what happened for you in the last week?

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Hey, bro, it’s me. I am finally back writing. I was writing at wounded warrior to ironman. I am finally now working hard on my book. Good to see still grinding

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Being that area had thick jungle everywhere, it would be impossible to estimate how many Japanese were hiding around the Cordilleras and Sierra Madres. Also before the war, some vegetable plantations up on the mountains were run by Japanese. Even my father suspected they were there as spies. They might have hidden some of those enemies or they knew where to hide them. BTW, it’s working now.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. 65,000 Japanese troops? No problem!!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Amazing difference in the estimates 25,000 vs 65,000. Thanks, GP

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Just goes to show that you can never rely on ‘estimates’, GP!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. It sometimes seems there are only two types of commanders, those who overestimate the enemy and fail to act and those who underestimate the enemy and cause their own troops unnecessary losses.

    Liked by 2 people

    • There were many good ones, but they had to work within the specs given to them. Many had their own scouts and relied on that intel over and above what HQ told them. Gen. Eichelberger and Swing were two that immediately come to mind.

      Like

  20. How did they miss the mark by so much in their estimates? I wonder what their methodology was for doing those estimates.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I believe that I had read before about the perils of underestimating the strength of the enemy. I am eager to find out what happened in the ‘mopping up’ operation on your next post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • What goes on in the Philippines, so politely put as “mopping up” is pretty much the same fighting as before. The Japanese were not giving up, no matter how tired and hungry they were.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. GP, those photos… they make an already great post downright profound. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. 65,000 troops – that’s a significant force to “mop up”

    Liked by 2 people

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