11th Airborne lands on Luzon

American Eighth Army soldiers debark from LCI(L)s [Landing Craft Infantry, Large] in Luzon. “File number: 259015.

Navy lands Eighth Army on West coast of Luzon–Troops of the U.S. 8th Army under command of Lieutenant General Robert L. Eichelberger, pour off Navy LCI’s (landing craft infantry) and wade ashore between San Narciso and San Antonio on the west coast of Luzon on January 29, 1945, in a brilliant move calculated to cut off Bataan Peninsula and to capture the naval base at Olongapo. Tactical surprise was achieved to such a dress that not a man, ship or plane was lost in the landing.” 29 January 1945.

Long before the American invasion began, General Yamashita divided his Luzon forces into three groups, each centered around a remote geographical region. The largest of these groups and under the direct command of Yamashita was Shobu Group, located in northern Luzon with about 152,000 troops.

Divisions of enemy troops on Luzon

A much smaller force, Kembu Group, with approximately 30,000 troops, occupied the Clark Air Field complex as well as the Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor. The third major force, Shimbu Group, consisted of some 80,000 soldiers occupying the southern sections of Luzon, an area that included the island’s long Bicol Peninsula as well as the mountains immediately east of Manila. Most Shimbu units were in the latter area and controlled the vital reservoirs that provided most of the capital area’s water supply.

On 31 January, X-ray Day, two regiments of the 11th Airborne Division, under the command of Maj. Gen. Joseph M. Swing, landed unopposed. The paratroopers seized a nearby bridge before the surprised Japanese defenders had a chance to demolish it, and then the paratroopers turned toward Manila.

LST landing Jan. 1945

Originally the 11th Airborne Division, one of Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger’s Eighth Army units, had been slated to contain Japanese troops throughout southwestern Luzon. But acting on MacArthur’s orders, Eichelberger pushed the division north.

Once they were on land, they started down Highway 17 toward Tagatay.  That journey consisted of approximately 30 miles of valleys, flat terrain of rice and cane fields, mountains and careful traversing along the crests of ridges.

The distance between Tagatay and Manila was about 37 miles, taking them passed Nichols Field before reaching Manila proper.  This was the main supply area for the Japanese troops and the city’s port was a crucial stop-off for the enemy on other islands.

Reference: “Rakkasans” & “The Angels: The History of the 11th Airborne” by: Gen. E.M. Flanagan Jr.; YouTube.com; U.S. Army; Hyperwar.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Richard Adan – San Antonio, TX; US Army, Colonel (Ret.)

Oliver K. Burger – San Pedro, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Petty Officer 1st Class # 2952575, USS Oklahoma, KIA, (Pearl Harbor)

Bob Cardenas (102) – San Diego, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-29 pilot, BGeneral (Ret. 34 y.)

Over the horizon

Paul D. Church – Millington, MD; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-24 Navigator, 2nd Lt.

Jerry N. Hoblit –  Conroe, TX; US Air Force, Vietnam, 3 Silver Stars, 3 DFC’s, Air Force Cross, West Point grad., Colonel (Ret. 28 y.)

Bernard Junge  – Holgate, OH; US Navy, submarine service, USS Odax

Casimir P. Lobacz – Kenosha, WI; US Army, WWII, ETO, SSgt.# 36228207, Co E/11/5th Infantry Division, Bronze Star KIA (Fort Driant, FRA)

Newell F. Mills Jr. – Pinellas City, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, P-51D pilot #0-827247, 354 FS/355 FG, DFC, KIA (Bremen, GER)

Henry Muller (104) – Philadelphia, PA; US Army Air Corps, PTO, G-2 11th Airborne Division Intelligence / US Army, Vietnam, 101st Airborne, BGeneral, Bronze Star, Silver Star, Purple Heart

William White (106) – Long Beach, CA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Major, Purple Heart / Korea (Ret. 30 y.)

Michael Zezulak Sr. – Lombard, IL; US Army, medic, 82nd Airborne Division

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13 March – K-9 VETERANS DAY

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About GP

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GP is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on March 14, 2022, in SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 105 Comments.

  1. I thank you for all your posts. They tell about dreadful events in just the right tone.

    Like

  2. Thanks for the history lesson, GP. I agree, those old photos and footage are invaluable.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The number of troops on those islands is overwhelming for me to think about

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hard to imagine the bravery of those paratroopers to be landing in the midst of all those Japanese troops. General Swing must have been a great confidence builder.

    Liked by 2 people

    • He knew he had them trained to the hilt and he had the utmost confidence in them. The area was as cleared of Japanese, as much as possible before their landing as well.
      Thank you for your interest, Dolly.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for your like of my post, “Daniel Prophecy – Chapter 9;” you are very kind.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. One of the things I love about your posts is how helpful they are at filling the gaps in my geographical knowledge. I keep bumping up against place names that I’ve heard, but couldn’t place on a map. Beyond that, it’s always interesting to see how the land and weather play a role in military failures and successes. As for those fellows getting off the landing craft, I couldn’t help wondering who’s better outfitted: them, or the wade fishermen I sometimes see up to their chests in the surf.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Each pic you displayed connects with reality in Life😊👍🏻

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I should say debark.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. That is a photo I have never seen, the troops disembarking from the ship.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Grateful for this unit in WW2

    Liked by 2 people

  11. That humor: When I think of our courageous soldiers, I imagine how terrified I would be that my eyeballs could be heard moving during a stealth manoeuver.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Vermoed dat het zo’n succes werd en geen man of toestel verloren ging tijdens de landing ,vast wat te maken had met de zeer goede voorbereidingen.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I love it. What a great day!

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Hope you are well GP.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Can today’s military planners do as well? I somehow doubt it….yet good planning is essential to an effective outcome – and to morale.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Today things are so different – with satellite images, everyone having access to so much and putting in their two cents, being politically correct – the list is endless. It could never be the same as WWII in that respect.
      Thanks, Helen, always a pleasure to see you.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. More hard fighting to come. Well done to those brave airbone troops.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. It is hard to comprehend the enormity of the effort and sacrifice involved. I’d hoped the world was past these matters.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Super retelling, GP. It is amazing that the Japanese were so surprised.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Looks like you deliberately cut it short so we can find out next week what the other shoe dropped on (or stepped in). Like the K-9 shout out. Your beautiful picture, Over the Horizon, reminds me of a novel I read about the USS Midway’s adventures as the Navy’s Foreign Legion when it became based in Yokosuka, Japan. Written by a pilot who served on the Midway so I think many of the stories in the novel are true. https://www.amazon.com/Over-Horizon-Luke-Ridenhour/dp/1718971354

    Liked by 2 people

    • I cut things short many times because I don’t want the readers to ‘glaze over’ on a 1,000-word article and then still expect them to read the comics, Farewell Salutes and any news I have.
      I’m sure many of the Midway stories in that book are true or it would just be a novel.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. It must be the night my parents remembered while at their hiding place at a small hill in their town. They could hear shootings and see fireworks from Mt. Makulot, where some Japanese troops were holed up. They were shooting in all directions, and some landed nearby in our town’s cemetery and at the elementary school.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. That sounds like it was an amazing operation!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Egad!! Amazing that I made the 91st “Like” slot! My timing may be improving. Always pleasurable or very informative and insightful reading material here, and the comic and respectful ending top off great posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. A lot of good info in this post, GP, but I have to admit, the K9 Veterans Day is my favorite.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. That was really good work. Let hope for now, the USA will not enter the war in Ukraine. Best wishes, GP! xx Michael

    Liked by 2 people

    • I keep holding my breath, Michael. Biden keeps trying to act like a big shot and I’m afraid he just my antagonize the situation. The Ukraine has enough to deal with without he making things worse!
      Take care and stay safe!!!

      Like

  25. I agree with swabby429. Landing unopposed must have been great for them, even if they did get their feet wet.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. That was a brilliant operation indeed

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Why do I feel like the other shoe is about to drop? When I read about them getting out of the landing craft and wading ashore, I thought about how uncomfortable I am when my feet get wet. Sheesh, I need to think about these guys the next time that happens.

    Cheers to the K9 Veterans!

    Have a great week, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. “Surprised Japanese defenders”, “landed unopposed”, “not a man, ship or plane was lost” …..not words you often encounter in accounts of the WW2 Japanese. I don’t know the history of this campaign but surely, the Japs will “buck their ideas up” soon, to use a rather strange English expression.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. This is an amazing testament to efficiency and surprise.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. Thank you, Ned.

    Like

  31. Thank you very much!

    Like

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