Entering Luzon | 31 January 1945

Notice arrow for the 11th A/B at the bottom. Click to enlarge.

I have to continue here on January 31, 1945, as this is where the actions of Smitty and the 11th Airborne Division become quite confusing. While the 221st medical is attached to the 187th, the 187th itself is split and send in alternate directions. Up until now, the division has been maintained fairly well in secret from the Japanese, but it is here that Gen. Eichelberger not only wants to allow the enemy knowledge of their existence, he wants to (in his words) pull a “monumental bluff” and splash the landing across the newspapers.

The men hit the beach with only their necessities on their backs; their personal items would not be seen for two months. The Eichelberger/Swing strategy began at dawn with the convoy’s arrival at the shore. 0700 hours – eighteen A-20’s and nine P-38s strafed the beaches.
0715 hours – the navy began to shell the landing area with rockets from the LCIs and shells from the destroyers.
0815 – cease fire, beach party lands
0822 – no opposition from enemy reported; first wave of 8 LCVPs lands, men head toward Nasugbu only 1500 yards away.
0945 – the 188th was through Wawa, Nasugbu and the airstrip.
1030 – the 187th begins landing and immediately joined up with the others to head up to Tagatay Ridge. One unit of the 187th remains to defend Nasugbu, one battery of the 674th assists. The 102d AAA AW Battalion and the 152d AA-AT Battalion set up antiaircraft defense on the beach.
1300 – the beach was clear – Eichelberger and Swing head down Highway 17

“We were very fortunate in capturing a bunch of bridges on Highway 17 before the Japs had a chance to blow them up.  I saw a number of big packages of explosives which they never set off.” __ Gen. Eichelberger

Palico Bridge

1400 – Gen. Swing notified Admiral Fechteler that all the men were ashore and he would resume command. Little did the 11th know that for a few brief hours, they were under the command of a naval admiral!
1430 – all key elements were 8 miles from the beach and at the Palico Bridge. It was saved just as a squad of Japanese were about to blow the steel and wood structure.
1600 – the 188th set up a CP in the Palico barracks.
All companies continued to moved forward. Artillery, rifle and machine gun fire erupted shortly afterward.

Japanese artillery, Nasugbu, Luzon

The monumental bluff was created by: a flying boatload of correspondents that blasted the news that the “Eighth Army had landed on Luzon,” and Eichelberger ordered Swing to have the 187th and 188th move as quickly as possible, fire as much artillery and weapons and create as much dust as possible. All vehicles raced down the dirt roads, guns blazing and air strikes thrown in made the division appear to not only be of immense size, but that they also had an armored unit with them.

They would now be coming up on the infamous Genko Line; a stretch of blockhouses and pillboxes that contained guns from Japanese warships, 20mm, 6 inch, etc. The enemy had dug massive octopus traps called takotsubo. All this needed to be destroyed before liberation of Manila and elimination of the 20,000 soldiers waiting for them within the city limits. For this action, the 11th would be granted the Presidential Unit Citation.

The 187th went down the steep southern slope of Tagatay and progressed to the north shore of Lake Taal where they were ordered to take Tanauan. The 127th Engineers carved out a road on the vertical cliffs for them.

#################################################################################

Military Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

################################################################################

Farewell Salutes – 

Vaughan Albrecht – Grant City, MI, US Women’s Army Air Corps

Wilfred Anderson (104) – N. Vancouver, CAN; British Columbia Dragoons, WWII

Pearl F. Barrow – Wichita, KS; US Army, WWII, ETO, Pvt. # 37731632, Co F/12/4th Infantry Division, Bromze Star, KIA (Hürtgen, GER)

Gerald Blevins (100) – Pueblo West, CO; US Army, WWII, ETO

Lillian Campbell – Roseville, MI; US Navy WAVE, WWII

Frank DeVita – Brooklyn, NY; US Coast Guard, WWII, ETO, USS Samuel Chase (APA-26)

Hampton Folse Jr. – Raceland, LA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS Laffey (DD-724)

Albert S. Frost – Tauranga, NZ; RNZ Army # 442456, WWII

Donald Guay – Hartford, CT; US Army, medic, 101st Airborne Division

Joseph Talarchek – Wilkes-Barre, PA; US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, SSgt.

Leroy W. “Swede” Svendsen Jr. – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, aerial gunner / US Air Force, Korea & Vietnam, fighter pilot / Pentagon, MGeneral (Ret. 34 y.)

##################################################################################

##################################################################################################################################################

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 28, 2022, in First-hand Accounts, SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 118 Comments.

  1. Bluf in oorlogen is veel vaker gebeurd dan we denken.. Ik ben in ziekenhuis geweest en daardoor hol ik wat achter de feiten aan sorry.Bedankt voor de goede verklaringen.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wat vervelend om te horen dat je in het ziekenhuis ligt! Ik hoop echt dat ze je snel kunnen helpen – Moeder Natuur heeft mensen zoals jij nodig!!
      Verontschuldig u alstublieft niet, u eert mij met uw aanwezigheid wanneer u ons bezoekt.
      Zorg goed voor jezelf – dat is je belangrijkste prioriteit!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh and by the way
    I met a man named Paul Lucas last month and had the chance to interview him
    While we were talking I mentioned your blog and Smitty / 😉
    Anyhow / here is the link to the interview if you have a chance to check it out
    https://priorhouse.blog/2022/04/03/paul-lucas-mariners-museum-priorhouse-interview-april-2022-post-three/

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The octopus traps must have been tough to dismantle
    Enjoyed this post !

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like reading the obits It all gives one a sobering feeling. We need your continual booster shots to appreciating our lives. Cheers to you! ❤️‍

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve always found history on war to be interesting and didn’t know this tiny tidbit. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That was some bluff, and a successful one!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, I love the bluff!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. As the Japanese got confused too, it were a great plan! 🙂 Thanks for sharing, GP! Enjoy a great weekend! xx Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  9. This took a few slow readings. Trying to follow the action, I became a little confused, and I suppose that’s exactly what the leadership of our forces was trying to accomplish for the Japanese. I’d say that “monumental bluff” worked well — and for once the journalists were helpful!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Exactly right, Linda. I had trouble at times following the movements, when you have one regiment in one direction and companies splitting up, specialty ops going off, etc. I’ll try to make things easier next time, but you got it right, in this case the Japanese got confused too. Thanks.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Stories like this always keep me on the edge of my seat. Thanks for what you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. How clearly you mention each and every event in history GP. That’s really fascinating.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Thanks for telling the bluff story, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Thank goodness we have people like you to preserve our history, especially today, when so many others wish to destroy it! God bless you, Paratrooper! ❤🇺🇲🤍🇺🇲💙🇺🇲

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, don’t get me started on those people who wish to erase history! Every country has history they wish never happened, but happen it did.
      By not remembering history, the Woke have caused banned books, infringement on Freedom of Speech and controlled media. What does that remind you of?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It reminds me of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, the former Soviet Union, and Communist China, and Cuba.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oy! “Woke” is one of them terms that always refer to Liberals (or Libtards?) who, in fact, write most of the books about everything that you can find piled up in bookstores and libraries. If you want to see banned books, take a look at Texas where any mention, say, of controversial subjects are dragged off of school book shelves. Or are you saying that the “Woke” are actually banning histories of the 11th AB Div in WWII? The slavery issue, labor relations issues, discrimination issues, gender issues, American Indian issues, corporate corruption issues, etc. are what your so-called “Woke” are always writing popular and award winning books that discuss history that “some” (?) call commie socialist inspired. Or FAKE NEWS! Who do we hear that from, even today? You do a good job of telling your fathers history. Why get yourself started on “those people who wish to erase history.”?

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I wonder if WW2 was the last war where fooling the enemy was a major part of the conflict. In Europe the British were very fond of dummy airfields with plastic inflatable Spitfires and elsewhere there were even inflatable tanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly. I would have to look into some of the others like Vietnam and Korea. Did they do any bluffing in the Falklands?

      Like

      • Mac’s amphibious invasion at Inchon was an operation no one, including the Koreans and the US high command thought could actually work. Of course, after that career triumph, Mac went on to simply ignore that fact that the Chinese had entered the war and then thought that attacking China with nukes was a good idea. Pulling rank on Truman wasn’t such a good idea, either.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Some of the troops ended up in the other direction which most likely confused the Japanese. Those are the ones who rescued my townspeople, then crossed the bridge in Cuenca before it was blown up by the Japanese. They then joined the other troops. Great maneuver!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Thank you for sharing these posts, GP. These brave men should never be forgotten. 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  17. An excellent strategy that seemed to go exactly as planned. Can’t always count on that during a war.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I don’t know why I am always surprised to realize how much the army depended on engineers

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Seeing that timeline for the day was fascinating.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. What about my old outfit in that campaign-511th PIF? From my foxhoe in front of the church I saw Gen. Swing trying unsuccesfuly to cross the bridge at Pasig River in a jeep in the dark of night. Enemy fired just as he got onto the bridge. I believe his driver was killed. Swing yelled out, “Why didn’t someone tell me this was the front?” I huddled deeper into my foxhole. No time to vounteer. Was I more scared of the enemy or the general?

    Liked by 4 people

    • I can’t say, but Swing was often at the front. If you enlarge the map, you can see where the 511th was. Thanks for bringing us that story, it’s a great addition. Did you happen to send this story to the Association newspaper? I seem to have heard that story before somewhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Another big bluff happened on D-Day when the allied forces through fake messages on the airwaves made the Germans believe that the landing would take place at Calais and not at Normandy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, Indeed. Operation Mincemeat had a suitcase attached to a dead body with phony plans from Ike about the Italy landing. Back then, without cell phones and internet, it was easier to keep a secret and pull these bluffs.

      Liked by 2 people

  22. Pierre Lagacé

    Preserving the past is the best way to remember all these unsung heroes GP.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. My daddy got a bronze medal for the battle at Luzon. Thank you for continuing to write about these heroes.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Thanks for sharing this fascinating story, GP. I love how the plan worked. Although they still had a tough road ahead, they got far coming up from that beach.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. It certainly worked…had the bridges been blown they would have been bogged down.
    The next bit sounds pretty frightful….

    Liked by 3 people

  26. That bluff was quite a feat to pull off! Logistics!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  27. The bluff worked! January 1945. Still so many months to go before the end of the war in the East, and so much still to do.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Best bluff since Patton convinced the Germans that the Allies were landing in Calais rather than Normandy. Love the ‘toons, GP.

    Liked by 3 people

    • They seemed to do a lot of bluffing in this war. It helped to compensate for a lack of supplies and men – Hey – whatever works, right?!

      Liked by 2 people

    • It wasnt Patton that convinced the Germans. After he had slapped a GI for “cowardice” at a medical unit who was suffering battle fatigue and was relieved of command by Ike, he was put in command of a totally fake battle unit stationed opposite Calais. The Germans, who couldn’t believe that the Americans would fire their best general “just for slapping a GI”, were convinced that his fake “unit” would lead the invasion at Calais. Patton himself was pissed that he was going to miss The Big Show. So it was Ike that convinced the Germans, not Patton. Patton would have to wait for his high-speed rush across France for his moment of glory.

      Liked by 2 people

  29. It is always nice when a plan comes together as it did in this case.

    Liked by 5 people

  30. when used properly these moves are powerful and so effective

    Liked by 4 people

  31. This was surely a well-executed, monumental operation. They even used the news media as a tool. Well done!

    Liked by 4 people

  32. I couldn’t help but compare this bluff to a bunt used in baseball. Such moves cannot be used regularly, but strategically practiced, they’re brilliant.

    Liked by 4 people

  33. Thank you, Ned.

    Like

  1. Pingback: Entering Luzon | 31 January 1945 – Nelsapy

  2. Pingback: Entering Luzon | 31 January 1945 — Pacific Paratrooper | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: