Mount Macolod, LUZON

Mt. Macolod, Luzon

US Army still fighting Yamashita’s formidable soldiers…

When General Swing, Commander of the 11th Airborne Division, moved into the stripped-down Manila Hotel Annex, General Krueger began to visit him every other day. His competitive nature tried to get Swing to back-off from pushing into Manila first by saying, “don’t stick your neck out,” but Swing replied, “It’s been sticking out a mile since we landed.”

Mount Macolod was not some minor hill to be taken, this was a major battle for the 11th Airborne. It stands almost 3,107 feet, nearly vertical. On two sides, after a 1,200 foot drop, it has three ridges descending gradually. The north to south nose was known as Brownie Ridge, the east as Bashore and the third, a heavily wooded area that connected Mt. Macolod with Bukel Hill.

Brownie Ridge was the most heavily fortified section encompassing those infamous caves and tunnels previously built by enslaved Filipinos. G-2 (Intelligence), informed the soldiers that they would be up against the Japanese 17th Infantry Regiment and the 115th Fishing Battalion (Suicide Boat Unit), under the command of Colonel Masatoshi Fujishige (Fuji Force).

Mount Macolod, Luzon

For the attack, the 187th, the 760th & 756th Field Artillery Battalions, the 472nd, the 675th Glider Field Artillery Battalion, the 44th Tank Battalion and Company B of the 127th Airborne Engineers were used. (To help avoid what could become very confusing here, I will concentrate on the 187th.) They were equipped with 155mm howitzers, 105mm howitzers, sawed-off 105mm howitzers, Sherman tanks, chemical mortars and flame-throwers. Air attacks were brought in to assist. An entire squadron of P-47s made numerous runs with bombs and then proceeded to strafe the enemy sectors.

F and G Companies of the 187th began house-to-house fighting, but were met by massive machine-gun fire. The enemy was dug in too far underground. Napalm strikes were brought in which enabled the 1st of the 187th to go around to the north of Dita and the 2nd held its position near the town. This was 27 March 1945.

Both units made a frontal assault into the Macolod area the following day. The flamethrowers were used on the enemy bunkers and E and G Companies made it to the top of the crest. Their M-1 fire took out snipers and more advancement was made, but the Japanese returned with mortar fire and a withdrawal was necessary. The enemy came at them throughout the night and following morning with banzai attacks. This was a fierce and bloody battle, especially for men who have never been sent into reserve for rest.

machine-gun pillbox, Hill 843

The small islands that XI Corps had to secure were Caballo, a mile south of Corregidor; Carabao, hugging the Ternate shore; and El Fraile, about midway between the other two. The Japanese on those islands posed no threat to Allied shipping–their ordnance was too light–but, like other bypassed Japanese garrisons, they had to be taken sometime. Although the islands had little or no military significance, the operations to secure them offer interesting examples of military ingenuity and unorthodox tactics.

Some of the 11th A/B troopers were put into a new light. There were no airdrops and no amphibious landings. They used native outrigger canoes to land themselves on Saipang Island where the enemy was using machine-gun fire on the troopers. It was mandatory that machinery to be eliminated. Therefore, at dawn, the canoes moved out. The paratroopers behaved like natives, but fought like soldiers and the small island outpost was cleared of Japanese.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert M. Adams – Elk Grove, CA; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

James D. Chandler – Jenkins, KY; US Army, Vietnam, West Point graduate ’54, Colonel (Ret. 22 y.)

Courtesy of Dan Antion

Larry Duncan – Wilmington, NC; USMC, WWII, PTO

Alexander MacDonell – Victoria, CAN; Royal Canadian Artillery, WWII, RC Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, Lt. Col. (Ret.)

John McKeon Jr. – Philadelphia, PA; US Navy, Commander

Floyd A. Miner – Lowell, MA; US Army, Korea, 187th RCT

William C. Phelps Jr. – Winslow, AZ; US Air Force, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Senior MSgt.

Omni Putikka – Grand Rapids, MI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

Dwight S. Ramsay – Fordyce, AR; US Army

Francis Vinci – Middletown, CT; Cadet Nurses Corps, WWII

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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 June 20, 2022, in SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 87 Comments.

  1. Bellissimo articolo
    Se vuoi segui anche il mio blog che sono nuovo

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like there were two determined forces that didn’t want to give up. Interesting how they adjusted their attack. Amazing group of men!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Brilliant! It takes a great commander to think outside of the box and adapt unorthodox rules of engagement with the enemy. Every commander should have to take a mandatory Swing-101 course.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. That must have been one heck of a fight With all that armour thrown at them. It just goes to show the determination of the Japanese!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Horrific and heroic as ever

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s difficult to see a proper solution to situations like this. I suppose Mount Macolod could not have been sealed off like a besieged medieval city and the Japanese soldiers all left to starve. The Allie did this with one or two of the French channel ports, where the Germans refused to surrender.
    On a less serious note, the caption of the two soldiers in the B/W cartoon is marvellous !

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, John. The Pacific, as you’ve noted, was a whole different war. Americans were not at all accustomed to the terrain, heat and diseases – nor the culture of their opponents.
      I always like hearing a smile on the Humor!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Zo’n zware gevechten niet te geloven dat er toch soldaten zijn die het overleefd hebben. Ze zullen daar nog al angst gehad hebben en zelfs vaak de moed verloren hebben. Hoe sterk kunnen mensen toch zijn. Respect .vor al die soldaten die niet opgaven.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Daar lijkt het wel op, Mary Lou. De 11th Airborne had veel geluk dat ze General Swing als commandant hadden. Hij had hun rug te allen tijde.

      Like

  8. gary friedman

    WHY ARE YOUR POSTS BEING RECEIVED AS DISTORTED? MUST BE REDUCED TO 33% BEFORE THEY FIT THE PAGE, THEN THEY ARE UNREADABLE.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Another fascinating post GP. I wonder about the troops view of the people and cultures they experienced. The GIs had a serious job to do but hopefully also had some time to appreciate the exotic settings and friendly people they encountered.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. My favorite line of this piece is “The paratroopers behaved like natives, but fought like soldiers.” From what I’ve learned, that’s close to the essence of guerilla warfare. I enjoyed Rose’s comments, too. I’ve begun always reading what she has to say, as well as your posts. There are a lot of interesting details that only someone rooted in the culture and the place can know.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Heroic and horrendous battle.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. A great description of the scene, and honestly i get fear just by reading it. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Whatever I think about the Japanese military, ( and that is not mostly good, believe me) their fighting tenacity was a sight to see. But when you are happy to literally commit suicide in battle, that is surely to be expected?
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Well done, GP. A riveting description of the scene.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Mt. Maculot has intricate caves and tunnels that the Japanese and Filipinos built. After they were finished, the Filipino men were killed, so the information won’t get out. Some Filipino women tend the field for food. One woman was able to escape and told the tale. Rumors have it that Yamashita buried his treasure there. It was never found, although the elder Maros said he found it. It was a cover-up for his ill-gotten wealth. The area has changed quite a lot since the war. Further south on the lake near Mt. Maculot, where Dad used to own property, some part of the jungle is less dense, but the pathway is very steep that only young people can navigate it.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. So much about the Pacific part of WWII is amazing. Thanks for this summary, GP.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Intense battle with fierce resistance. I’m in awe.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Sometimes GP, I suppose thinking “outside the box” was/is on occasion the determining factor in who wins a battle not only in other areas of life, but in war as well. (On a lighter note, I had a boss who resembles Sarge in that Beetle Bailey comic!)

    Liked by 2 people

  19. That battle sounds just horrendous. What a contrast with the photo of the mountain, which looks so peaceful and serene.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Good narration, GP. I love these lines. Therefore, at dawn, the canoes moved out. The paratroopers behaved like natives, but fought like soldiers and the small island outpost was cleared of Japanese. Such ingenuity!

    Liked by 3 people

  21. I have no idea how any of those soldiers ever maintained their sanity. And I have a continuing thread running through my brain that questions how I would have acted.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I know Dad always said that anyone who said he was NOT afraid was either a liar or downright insane. War is never wanted by someone who has to be in it at the front.

      Liked by 2 people

  22. The fighting you describe sounds terrifying, GP. I can’t imagine any part of it, and yet I know men who fought there and they often spoke of friends who didn’t come home. How I wish we could avoid these scenarios in the present and future.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. I was born and raised in the Philippines before I migrated to Canada. Great article. I was wondering about the famed Yamashita gold/treasure if it really existed and as to where it was stashed away. The late Pres. Marcos was rumored to have found it but never proven. His son now is the new president but I doubt that he would know. Just a thought.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. what an amazing feat to have used what they could and improvise for the win

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Awesome Post as always GP. 👍

    Came across this article while cross-referencing some of the Unit Actions: https://www.batangashistory.date/2018/06/maculot.html

    My next Summer book is The Angels: A History of the 11th Airborne Division, 1943-1946.

    Liked by 3 people

  1. Pingback: Mount Macolod, LUZON – Nelsapy

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