North Luzon – July 1945

Kiangan Valley

XIV Corps plans for operations against the remainder of the Shobu Group differed only in detail from those I Corps had previously employed.37 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.

East of the Cagayan River the 37th Division, and for a time a regiment of the 6th Division, hampered by supply problems and torrential rains, patrolled vigorously, forcing Japanese troops ever farther into the Sierra Madre. From 1 July through 15 August the 37th Division and attached units killed about 1,000 Japanese east of the Cagayan, itself losing approximately 50 men killed and 125 wounded.

On the northwest and west, opposition was stronger and better organized. Here the 15th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), finally secured the Sabangan junction of Routes 4 and 11 on 9 July, and on the next day the 11th Infantry occupied Bontoc. The 19th Division’s defenses in the Lepanto Mines-Mankayan area began to fall apart before attacks of the 66th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), on 10 July; Mankayan fell on the 20th.

The 66th Infantry secured the junction of Routes 11 and 393 at KP 90 on 25 July, making contact the same day with troops of the 15th Infantry coming down Route 11 from Sabangan. The 19th Division now began withdrawing into the upper Agno Valley to block the northern, western, and southern approaches to Toccucan, at the western end of Yamashita’s last-stand area in the Asin Valley.

The 15th and 121st Regiments, USAFIP(NL), immediately began attacks toward Toccucan, but found the 19th Division remnants still capable of effective resistance. By 15 August the USAFIP(NL)’s leading units were four miles short of Toccucan on the northwest and a mile and a half short on the west.

Meanwhile, the 66th Infantry , USAFIP(NL), had struck south from KP 90 along Route 11 to make contact with troops of the 32d Division, coming north from KP 21. The clearing of Route 11 north from Baguio had become a matter of pressing urgency because the heavy summer rains were making it nearly impossible to supply the USAFIP(NL) either by airdrop or over tortuous Route 4 from the west coast. Mixed forces of the 58th IMB and the 19th Division held along Route 11, their principal defenses located in the vicinity of Gambang, about five miles south of KP 90. Here, on 29 July, the 66th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), and the 127th Infantry, 32nd Division, finally made contact.

The two regiments next swung eastward into the Agno Valley near Buguias and initiated a drive south along the valley to gain contact with the 126th Infantry, 32nd Division, coming north up the valley from Ambuclao and Bokod. Starting off on 1 August, the 126th Infantry found few signs of the 23rd Division, which had melted away eastward into the inhospitable Cordillera Central.

On the east side of the Shobu Group’s last-stand area, while the 6th Division was making its strongest effort an attack toward Kiangan, elements of the division struck north up Route 4 and reached Banaue on 20 July. Meanwhile, troops of the 11th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), had started south along Route 4 from Bontoc and on 21 July made contact with the 1st Infantry, 6th Division, at Polis Pass, five miles north of Banaue. This contact, coupled with that between USAFIP(NL) and 32d Division units on Route 11 eight days later, marked the complete encirclement of the Shobu Group last-stand area.

The 1st Infantry, 6th Division, and the 11th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), turned east from Banaue along Route 389, on which about 2,500 Japanese of the 103d Division and the 4th Air Division had concentrated in mid-July. The 11th Infantry ultimately made its main effort from the north and east, and, with the 1st Infantry in support, cleared Route 389 by 9 August. The Japanese forced off Route 389 hid in mountains north of that road and east of Route 4 until the end of the war.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Dan Alion – Rock Hill, SC; US Navy, WWII, radio-morse code operator

Gerard Bradley – Richmond, VA; US Navy / USMC, Korea

George Danscak – Munhall, PA; US Coast Guard, WWII

Marion Greene – Atlanta, GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-24 Gunner, 466th Bomb Group

Charles Kaitlin – Boca Raton, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Darrence Lewis – Hazel Park, MI; US Army, WWII, Commander, 738th Tank Battalion

Maika – NETH & USA; US Army, Sgt., 6 Afghanistan tours, 75th Ranger Reg./2nd Batt., Canine Explosive Detection Unit, KIA

Robert McDevitt Jr. – Dayton, OH; USMC, Vietnam

George Parmenter – Great Falls, MT; US Army, WWII, Co. I/163/41st Division

Walter Tokarski – Baltimore, MD; US Navy, 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 December 10, 2018, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 60 Comments.

  1. Thought I’d take the opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas, GP! Thank you for all you do for our veterans, throughout the year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your blog provides a great service GP – always a pleasure to read your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks again for publishing all these records of events. It’s vital that these are recorded.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    REMEMBERING A TERRIBLE TIME AND THE BUDDIES WHO SACRIFICED THAT OTHERS COULD WIN THE BATTLE AND COME HOME!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The path-clearing had to be a herculean effort, GP. Thanks for reminding of that part. It helps bring us into the everyday of the situation. You find so many wonderful old images too.
    Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. G.P. thank you for another great post. I know my comment is a little late but I had to comment anyway. I hope we all took a moment to thank those who make the daily freedoms we take for granted possible.

    It’s too easy for us to sometimes take the little things for granted and how they were paid for with the blood, sweat, and tears of our brave men and woman in the armed forces. If it weren’t for them I hate to think what my life and the life of my children would be like. It sure wouldn’t be anything like it is today.

    I love reading your blog for two main reasons. First, obviously, the posts are so well written and being a professional writer myself I can really appreciate that fact. The second and most important reason is that your posts never cease to keep me grounded to reality and ensure I stay humble.

    I personally thank you for keeping this blog going with the wonderful, thoughtful and entertaining content you add every day. As always my thanks also go out to Smitty who you honor with every post you add. Thank You.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “Hello Rolling Stone.” Enjoyed that bit of humor, G.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’ll bet they all wanted to ring Rolling Stone

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Reading the phrase “mopping up” and looking at the dates, I do wonder why the existence of the atomic bomb and the imminent arrival of the Soviet hordes did not have an influence on events. Perhaps that’s hindsight, though!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Their were more reasons to drop the A-bomb than to end the war and the generals had no wish for the Soviets to enter in. They knew the Russians only wanted to declare war on Japan soon enough to be able to invade Manchuria, they also continued to fight after the Japanese had surrendered.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Beyond my admiration for the planning and execution of these battles and ‘mopping up operations,’ I’ve found my “mental map” of the Pacific beginning to fill in. It always makes me smile to hear someone talk about Africa as though it’s monolithic, but I’ve been guilty of the same thing when it comes to Asia, the Pacific Islands, and so on. I’m reminded of the song, “Over There.” For many people, where our men have been has been no more specific than that, so it’s good that you and others are continuing to add the details to our very vague notions!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I appreciate you saying that, Linda. Our history lessons in school only barely cover what our forebears endured for us. I hope more than our group here greatly appreciate their efforts and sacrifices!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Reblogged this on Subli and commented:
    The war was coming full circle. It started in Baguio and now they were back fighting close to Baguio near the end of the war.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Your Dad’s motto really rings true for me. Your interesting and often heartbreaking articles are about such an important time period. Luzon yet again new for me.. You honor our country and Veterans with your work. Best holidays to you. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. The small details of the fighting to liberate the Philippines are really enlightening. Even though I had read something about the overall campaign previously, this detailed account put the gritty fighting into perspective. Thanks, GP.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Love the cartoons. If only getting sent home was as easy as saying something dumb about civilians…..

    Liked by 2 people

  15. So difficult in that geography and in those conditions, the feat might be missed if the terrain wasn’t understood. Amazing clearance rate given the odds.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Once again you have demonstrated the complexity of the final Luzon campaign. Well done, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I’m getting goosebumps when I read about Lepanto Mines and then became emotional when I saw Mankayan. Dad lived in that town for years before the war. I have to reread this post later because I can’t stop crying. Dad must be watching over me now.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I’d never heard of Luzon and googled it, I wasn’t sure till I did that whereabouts in the World the Philippines was to be honest, but now I know it is north of Australia and South East of China learning something new every day 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  19. It amazes me how meticulous and precise these successful maneuvers were. Communication and luck must have been exceptional.

    Liked by 3 people

    • They tried to plan things out, but I’m sure you’ve heard about “Murphy’s Law” – if anything can go wrong, it will. So yes, I imagine in many cases it was better to be lucky than good.

      Liked by 3 people

  20. Clearly, this war did not end until the last day. While the farewell salutes are always sad to read, it’s particularly sad to see someone with service in Afghanistan listed.

    Liked by 4 people

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