Luzon | February 1945 (3)

PAYING HOMAGE TO THOSE WHO WENT BEFORE
Soldiers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team Rakkasans, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) stand in formation to honor the 187th Infantry Regiment during an Activation Ceremony Feb. 20 at Fort Campbell, Ky. The ceremony celebrated the regiment’s 70th Anniversary since its activation in 1943 by honoring its long and valorous combat history and all of the fallen Rakkasans, whose names are inscribed on the pylons that stand in front of them. (U.S. Army photo taken by Sgt. Alan Graziano, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)

General Swing now had a supply trail stretching 70 miles and he began to fine tune the missions of some of the units. Colonel Hildebrand and the 187th were sent to Nasugubu and patrol the main supply route. Hildebrand was also put charge of thousands of guerrilla fighters, not an easy job in itself. All in all, he and his regiment had been given a very large task. They were staring into the jaws of the noted Genko Line.

The plan on 15 February for the 2d battalion of the 187th and the 188th was plain and simple: push forward and keep going – then meet up with the 511th at the Carabao Gate and still keep pushing. First they cleared the 6 foot high railroad tracks, then a dry riverbed and started to go up the barren rise. All this time there was no enemy resistance and not one sound whatsoever. The Leyte veterans knew something was wrong, they could feel their skin crawl and suddenly they discovered the ruse.

Banzai charge

The Japanese soldiers and their machine guns had been buried in the riverbed and were now behind the G.I.s. A hoard of the enemy came at them screaming despite the gunfire, BARs (browning Automatic Rifles) and hand weapons that killed and wounded them as they charged. But, they continued to come in waves and reached the 1st platoon.

The second platoon caught up to them and destroyed some of the Japanese machine guns. In the total chaos, the enemy ran to their pillboxes to regroup. When two more companies arrived on the scene, the Japanese outfit was trapped. A strange explosion underground knocked some of the troopers to the ground. The enemy, rather than surrender, had blown their hideout thinking they would kill the G.I.s above them, but it was not a sufficient charge to accomplish this. They had only murdered themselves.

The 674th and 675th Glider Field Artillery Battalions had been firing endlessly with the aid of the cooks, clerk, drivers and gun men and took shifts. Banzai attacks were common on these positions, so perimeters had to be kept firm. Gen. Swing’s plan was to keep squeezing the enemy into a tight group and then block their escape routes.

Japanese suicide crash boat

At one point, Gen. Eichelberger went back to the USS Spencer, but a peaceful night sleep was not to be. “There were a number of attacks by explosive-laden Japanese suicide crash boats. Just after daylight, a little worn, I went on deck and watched a curious cat-an-dog encounter between an American destroyer and a suicide boat. The destroyer was trying to sink the Japanese craft with 5” guns and pursued it.

“Whenever the enemy wheeled and made a direct run at the destroyer, the ship zigzagged and took to its heels…. It seemed like a crazy version of you-chase-me and I’ll-chase-you… After about 50 rounds of firing, a shell from the destroyer found its target. The boat did not sink – it disintegrated.”

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE,

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

Military Humor –

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

Farewell Salutes – 

Addison E. Baker – Chicago, IL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, pilot, Lt. Colonel # )-280827, HQ Sq/93rd Bomber Group, Silver Star, Medal of Honor, KIA (Ploesti, ROM)

Joseph E. Bernot – Washington D.C.; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Battery A/457 Artillery/11th Airborne Division

Veteran’s Memorial, by: Dan Antion

Boyd Guttery – Atlanta, GA; US Army, Japanese Occupation

William Harn – Faribault, MN; US Merchant Marine, WWII, WWII

William C. Kitchen – Sandy, OR; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO,  511 Signal/11th Airborne Division

Joseph Loriaux – Kansas City, KS; US Army, WWII, ETO, Lt., Tank unit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Etta Moore (101) – St. Louis, MO; Civilian, WWII, Aircraft construction

Agnes “Pat” Paist – Allentown, PA; US Army WAC, PTO, nurse, Bronze Star

Thomas Pessel – Hopewell, NJ; USMC, WWII

Katherine Robinson (100) – Essex Fells, NJ; US Navy WAVE, WWII

George Sage – Shell Lake, CAN; RC Air Force, WWII

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

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 May 2, 2022, in SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 94 Comments.

  1. Those Japanese suicide boats must have felt like mosquitos against the big Destroyer. I did not believe it. But, it happened. So strange and useless.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your stories of the 11 Airborne piqued my curiosity this morning about my uncle who served in the 101st Airborne (Korean War) after reading your caption in the first photo. His division photo always hung at my grandmother’s and I wish I’d asked more questions now. Glad for the few I did ask. Always enjoy your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I am very glad that my posts instilled curiosity in you. It would be difficult for me to have all the movements of the Pacific here, so I always hope the readers might go do research on their own. If you find a fact or instance that might be of interest o the readers, please bring them here.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Such an important story. Thank goodness the 187th is still remembered ceremoniously today.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Americaoncoffee

    A nice tribute of realities.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Japanese were formidable foes even though they lacked the firepower the Americans could bring to bear.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your posts are always inspiring, GP.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello GP, this is Charly Priest but with a different account. As always a very interesting history, and if you were wondering why I went MIA of the wordpress community I just published my first post with this new account.
    I was missing the wordpress community and although that I now have very few access to a computer is good to be back and reading all you people.
    Take care.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Those Japanese soldiers had to be brainwashed to be so eager to blow themselves up in so many situations to kill an American soldier. It takes a certain mind set to do that.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Wat een vreselijke strijd daar in de rivierbedding

    Liked by 2 people

  10. “Potato, potato”! 🤣

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The attack from the riverbed must be frightening but then just hearing the Banzai charge will scare the living daylight out off you. I don’t remember reading about the suicide boats before.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. “There were a number of attacks by explosive-laden Japanese suicide crash boats. Just after daylight, a little worn, I went on deck and watched a curious cat-an-dog encounter between an American destroyer and a suicide boat.”

    That must have been quite a sight!

    Liked by 3 people

  13. The Japanese must have been very scary opponents with all their craziness. Nobody else in WW2 seems to have come up with anything like them, with their suicide boats and banzai charges. And being buried in a dried up riverbed is hardly the stuff of soldiers who are 100% sane!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Oh, they were sane, but bushido tradition, their definition of honor and fear of their superiors put them in very awkward positions.

      Like

  14. I cannot imagine the tension during this operation. Thanks, GP/

    Liked by 3 people

  15. The Japanese had 6,000 ‘Shinyo’ suicide boats. I can never understand the mentality of constructing such things with the deliberate intention of killing the men assigned to operate them. Surely those many thousands of sacrificed airmen and sailors could have been put to better use in conventional combat?
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. To be caught in an ambush like that would be alarming. Good that they held it together until help arrived. Well done, GP.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Oh yes, we have to honor them who gone before, and think on all who are now around the world fighting for our freedom. Thanks, GP! Enjoy a great week! xx Michael

    Liked by 3 people

  18. What an incredible ruse for the Japanese soldier to bury themselves in the dry river bed! Fortunately, it was not successful.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Good history, as usual. A supply chain of 70 miles–how does one protect that? Brings to mind the Russians in Ukraine.

    Liked by 4 people

  20. I think this is the first time I noticed mention of ‘kamakazi boats.’ As for that hideout that was self-destroyed, it’s a good reminder that details make a difference. Before you hit the ‘blow it up’ button, be sure you know what you’re doing!

    Liked by 4 people

  21. Suicide boats! This is the first time I’ve heard about those.

    Liked by 4 people

  22. What a trap the Japanese laid….you not only had to outfight them, you had to out think them too.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. It had to be hard to think like the enemy in those situations. Good that our boys were as tough as they were.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Sherman got it right, “War is hell!” I’m glad the Japanese overestimated who they could blow up. Fun cartoons.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. One word about those Japanese fighters comes to mind: “desperation”.

    Liked by 5 people

  26. That attack from the riverbed must have been terrifying

    Liked by 5 people

  27. ❤️ to them all

    Liked by 4 people

  1. Pingback: Luzon | February 1945 (3) – Pradeep pradeeppatwa501@gmail.com

  2. Pingback: Luzon | February 1945 (3) – World's Thought

  3. Pingback: Luzon | February 1945 (3) – VEE’S ARENA

  4. Pingback: Luzon | February 1945 (3) – Nelsapy

  5. Pingback: Luzon | February 1945 (3) | 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: