Mount Malepunyo

Mt. Malepunyo, Japanese defenses CLICK ON TO ENLARGE.

The next operation was Malepunyo. The exhausted men of the 187th were sent to Tiaong to relieve the 188th and allow them to join up the 511th regiment and the 8th Cavalry while they (the 187th) would remain to cut off any Japanese fleeing the high ground. The 187th laid ambushes for 10 miles and confirmed some 400 enemy killed or captured. During three simultaneous banzai attacks coming across the bridges, the 187th were told by a prisoner that they had nearly caught Gen. Fujishige.

Swing received orders to “go it alone, capture Mount Malepunyo and destroy all the Japanese thereon.” This was an area of thirty square miles of hills with a mangled rain forest and bamboo thickets. It had no roadways and was surrounded by wet slopes intermingled with sharp ridges. At one ridge, the troopers spotted fifty to sixty Japanese about 300 feet below them bathing in a stream as if they were oblivious to a war shattering the world around them. The men of the 11th A/B were certain that there was nothing luckier than to literally catch the enemy with his pants down!

But the Japanese were far from done. Holding higher ground, they slowed down the advance of American forces with snipers and machine gun fire. In one particular incident in what was called Hill 2610, men of the 511th were surprised to receive gunfire from carefully hidden apertures in the underground Japanese command post. The Japanese had to be flushed out using flamethrowers. The Americans were not without casualties. Wrote Flanagan:
“Before being mowed down, they (the Japanese) pulled one last trick which cost us casualties. Several of the Nips, as they ran out of the caves, threw large demolition charges into the air, where they burst, wounding and killing our men as well as themselves.”

Gen. Masatoshi Fujshige

After one fray, a patrol of the 187th found a Japanese diary attesting to the starving conditions the enemy were facing. The book read that they were without any communication to or from their headquarters. They were praying for help from Manila and hoped they would die bravely in their fight with the Americans. (Any papers found on the enemy were immediately handed over to a Nisei G.I. for translation).

General Fjishige gave an interview on 27 May 1946 at the Luzon POW Camp No. 1. He said, in reference to the plans for Macolod, that he took one month of planning and organizing the defense himself. He had their positions so well camouflaged that they could not be detected by land or air and were stocked with some of the best troops he had. The general stated that whoever attacked Macolod deserved the highest U.S. Army honors.

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Military Humor –

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ross Avellone – Lake County, OH; US Army Air Corps, WWII

Frank Blair – Sioux City, IA; US Navy, WWII, USS Blackhawk

Felix Bonacci (103) – brn: ITA; US Army, WWII, ETO, Interpreter

Guinevere Doyle Collier – Evansville, IN; US Army, 59th WAC unit

Melvin Frankel – Bethlehem, PA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS New Mexico

Branford Freeman – Artesia, MS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 506/101st Airborne Division, mortarman

Gerald Grimes – Canton, OH; US Army, WWII

Clyde Hope – Amigo, WV; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 1st Lt., B-24 bombardier

Phyllis Brown Jones (100) – Flint, MI; Civilian, WWII, “Rosie” for the Hudson Motor Company

William J. Kerby (101) – Twin Pines, MI; US Army, WWII, ETO, 2 Purple Hearts

Barclay McFadden – Memphis, TN; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Larry Storch – NYC, NY; US Navy, WWII, sub tender USS Proteus  /  beloved actor-comedian

Ronald Taylor – Sandy, UT; UA Army, HQ Co/ 187th RCT

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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 July 11, 2022, in SMITTY, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 94 Comments.

  1. May not be able to relate to some of the action in the posts, but the action in the cartoons is amazing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So, Courageous🙌🏻 and catch the enemy with his pants down 😂

    This is so overwhelming to read.🙌🏻

    Like

  3. Who doesn’t love Beetle Bailey!!!! Your posts are so informative but your Military Humor cracks me up GP! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  4. So intense, GP, and there’s a certain tragedy about it that’s hard to describe. I can’t imagine. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It was very gracious of the Japanese general to acknowledge the bravery of his enemy.
    Love the military humor!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. A war can be a long going thing. When i remember right, was this the first usage of flamethrowers? Thanks for sharing another important piece of war history. Only this we one can understand how horrible war activities are. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Army and Marines were using them on other islands as well. Flamethrowers are an old weapon developed back in the 7th Century and also used in WWI.
      Thank you for your curiosity!

      Like

  7. It sounds incredibly intense, something that those of us who have never experienced can not even imagine.
    I was reading the comments GP and the one about the 100 year old veteran crying at his disappointment of current affairs is heartbreaking.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I enjoyed this article very much, GP. Thanks

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Might just be me, but I think it strange that so many Japanese soldiers were happy to kill themselves on suicide missions throwing demolition charges, yet their general survived to give an interview in 1946. Seems that the high command thought the troops were expendable, but it was okay for them to surrender.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. With all my years of reading topo maps, G, one look at that made me think, Damn, that’s a lot of high ground to take. It must have been a nightmare for the commander and his troops. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

  11. It is a wonder that anyone on either side came out of this alive.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. The miracle is, they died to save us. I wonder how disapointed they might be now with our country.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I just saw an article by a 100-year old veteran who cried because, “this is not the world they fought and died for.” How sad is that?

      Like

  13. Een oorlog waar ze elkaar op een gruwelijke manier bekampten waar heel wat doden te betreuren vielen
    langs beide kanten

    Liked by 2 people

    • Helemaal waar. Mensen denken dat ze door de eeuwen heen vooruit zijn gegaan, maar als ze nog steeds oorlogen hebben, denk ik daar anders over.

      Like

  14. War must be a nightmare 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Exhausted would have been a correct description of these men. Hard to imagine how they continued. Someone in every war keeps a diary. Glad a few of them have been saved,

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Excellent post and a great read. Completely agree that war is horrible.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I found myself pondering General Swing’s feelings when he received the message that he and his men were to go it alone. Obviously, he was competent and knowledgeable, but that still must have seemed like a tall order at that point in the war, with exhaustion as a constant companion.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I do wish Swing had left a diary like some of the other leaders. It would have been great to know how he felt about a lot of things. But, then again, I also wish I had asked my father more questions too.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. This post makes it very clear that war is hell, regardless of which side you’re on (those flamethrowers in particular).

    Liked by 3 people

  19. The interview with Gen Fujshige pretty much said it all. Thanks, GP.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. American soldiers must have been rather upset when they saw all the contour lines on the map of Mount Malepunyo.
    General Fujshige seems unusually chivalrous in his compliments about the Americans who attacked Macolod. Perhaps some of the Japanese commanders were not quite as bad as the rest!

    Liked by 3 people

  21. I agree with General Fjishige’s statement about the 11thA/B.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. wow, what an amazing look at another perspective

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Such interesting detail. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  24. The Japanese doctrine of “death before surrender” cost both sides heavily. I was amazed that American troops actually caught Japanese troops with their pants down.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Sounds as if the Japanese had prepared really well and effectively….the throwing of those demolition charges can’t have endeared the survivors to their captors. Their general was right about those defeating them deserving honours.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. I was reading Beetle Bailey while donating blood this morning and shared it with the nurse. We both agree it applies here too. Love the Japanese general’s compliment to our troops

    Liked by 4 people

  27. These stories are so sad to read. So close to the end of the war, but people on both sides dying because one side is conditioned not to give up.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. The outlier Japanese were certainly tenatious. It would be interesting to read the Japanese diary to find out more details.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Thank you, Ned.

    Like

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