Lipa, Luzon | May 1945

Lipa, after bombardment

1 May 1945, the recon platoon found a company-sized unit of the enemy in the 187th’s zone of responsibility. The 2d battalion, along with 81mm mortars and LMGs (light machine guns) spread out to attack the enemy on three sides. F Company had a kill count of 92 Japanese versus one man of theirs missing the following day. From 3 May on, the fighting was considerable. 10 May, with the situation easing, the division left the area to be patrolled by Filipino guerrillas and was once again united and prepared to set up their base camp amongst the ruins of Lipa.

During the month of May, a new T O & E (Table of Organization and Equipment) was put into effect as replacements finally arrived. A battalion was added to each glider regiment. The 188th Infantry and the 674th Field Artillery became parachute units. The 472d Field Artillery Battalion was added to Division Artillery and the 187th became a Para-Glider Infantry Regiment. For the first time since their creation, the 11th A/B totaled 12,000 men.

VE-Day

7 May 1945, the war in Europe was over, the famous V-E Day, and the men of the 11th Airborne were very happy for their counterparts in the ETO, but they knew the Japanese would remain solid and faithful in their convictions. The fighting in the Pacific would continue, it was a matter of honor to the enemy.

My father, Smitty, had told me of the hatred the G.I.s felt for the enemy and granted, he wasn’t overjoyed at the prospect of getting shot at, but he said he had to have respect for their patriotism and tenacity. (Yamato damashii – Japanese spirit and Bushido – the way of the warrior.) Now, the troopers began to wonder if they would receive ample reinforcements. Rumors began to fly. (Actually, 6 May 1945, 8:41 p.m. Eastern War Time, in Reims, France after 5 years, 8 months and 6 days, the Third Reich ended.)

10 May, the 11th A/B Division regrouped outside Lipa. If a soldier was not at an outpost or out on patrol, he was helping to build a camp in the coconut groves with those all too familiar pyramidal tents. Bamboo and steel matting was used to raise the tents up about a foot since it was about to become rainy season once again. Between two mountains, USO shows and movies began to arrive and a jump school and glider classes were held for the “green” replacements.

11 May, was the first span of 24 hours in a total of 101 days that no one from the 11th Airborne Division had killed one of the enemy. Their average before that had been 93.8 Japanese per day and during that time General Swing was unable to afford even one company to be in reserve. (I believe this in itself deserves a commendation.)

Legionary U.S. ship, Bunker Hill, thought to be unsinkable, unfortunately succumbed to Japanese kamikazes.

USS Bunker Hill, May 1945

Article on USS Bunker Hill attack.

CLICK ON PICTURES AND STORY TO ENLARGE.

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Military Humor – 

“EVEN IF SHE IS A BOOBY TRAP, CAN YOU THINK OF A BETTER WAY TO GO?”

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Farewell Salutes –

Helen Bailey – Dixonville, AL; Civilian, WWII, Hagler Field, radio operator

Darren Collins – Broken Arrow, OK; US Navy, Information Systems Technician 2nd Class, USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70)

Robert Davis – Nelsonville, OH, US Navy, WWII, USS Gardiners Bay

Catherine Howarth – Middletown, NY; Civilian, WWII, Civil Air Patrol

Leo LaFauce – Springfield, IL; US Army, WWII

Over the horizon

Theodore Mertz (100) – Vallejo, CA; US Navy, WWII

Gwendolyn Ross – Westlock, CAN; Civilian, WWII, military Aircraft maintenance

William O. Wood – Tallahassee, FL; US Army, WWII, ETO, SSgt., 328 BS/93 BG/8th Air Force, B-24 gunner, KIA (Ploiesti, ROM), To be buried 8/1/2022

Christopher Young – Irving, TX; US Army, Desert Shield & Desert Storm, Medic,  528th Special Operations Battalion (Airborne)

Jerome Zeugschmidt – Bronx, NY; US Navy, WWII,

Robert Zimmerman – West New York, NJ; US Army, WWII, ETO

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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 18, 2022, in WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 99 Comments.

  1. That ‘booby trap’ bears a striking resemblance to Gina Elise! Well, I’d take my chances with that trap too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whichever side a soldier is on, there is little that can compare with his selflessness and willingness to commit and die for a cause, which he did not even have a hand in creating. These snippets are insightful. As the generation with some personal memory of the World War passes on, it is important to keep the lessons alive.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Incredible post. Thank you.

    Like

  4. It would have been difficult for the Japanese to ‘give up the fight’. Would have been a good feeling for the 11th Airborn to have a day without killing any Japanese.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “11 May, was the first span of 24 hours in a total of 101 days that no one from the 11th Airborne Division had killed one of the enemy.” That this was a reported fact, G, speaks volumes. –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have read it in a number of accounts, it must have seemed awfully strange that it has been mentioned so often. The most convincing account came from General Flanagan.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Again, respect for one’s enemy seems to be a thing of the past, sadly.
    I like the tempting booby trap.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wij zijn bevrijdt in mei 1945.Spijtig dat jullie 3 maanden langer moesten wachten.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dat is heel aardig van je om je zo te voelen. Het was echter onvermijdelijk. De Stille Oceaan was een grotere oorlog, meer verspreid, met uitdagingen die veel groter waren dan die van Europa, maar de legers kregen minder mannen en voorraden om mee te vechten. Bovendien konden de Japanners het idee van verliezen niet doorgronden. Ze waren in 2000 jaar niet veroverd.

      Like

  8. I remember VE Day as if yesterday. My mother was in the kitchen, standing by the silent radio. “They said to stand by, but nothing is happening..’ A minute later the announcement of termination of hostilities in Europe was read. She cried.

    That evening, the Daily News was tossed on our front porch, as usual, folded into a square. I opened it up and read the headline: “SO SORRY. WAR NOT OVER YET.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • I do imagine that would be hard thing to forget!!
      I suppose your Mom had already lost a number of people she’d know to that war.
      Thank you for bringing that memory to us, JG.

      Like

  9. A great timeline, GP. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Well done, GP. Wishing you an easy coast down the other side of this midweek hump. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. It’s tough to acknowledge that we took 3 more long months to end the war. I wish our anniversary to end the war was in May instead of August, so that millions of precious lives were saved. Thank you for sharing great info!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. The excitement of the V-E day must’ve sent mixed emotions to those in the Pacific Theater since they were still facing the ferocious attacks from the Japanese. I can understand the hatred from some of the GIs. Lipa was a lovely city too before the Japanese bombed it. There was a military base there at some point. That’s probably why the Japs bombed it.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I see others have commented on the conflicted feelings the men must have had once they learned of VE Day. Recommitting to their task would have taken some extra energy and focus, although the arrival of reinforcements surely must have helped.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I imagine being shot at might have encouraged most to recommit, but they were kept busy enough to not have much time to think about the ETO.
      Thank you for your opinion, Linda. I always appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. It says much about Smitty that he could maintain that balanced view

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Gwen M. Plano

    Thank you, GP, for sharing this. My parents talked of VE-Day. You’ve made it real.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Fine post, GP. After the war ended in Europe, a good many men were sent to fight the Japanese.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Luckily the cruiser and destroyer were there to help

    Liked by 3 people

  18. I’m sure that a lot of people were amused by the length of time that the Third Reich lasted. Hitler had boasted many times that he was building a “thousand yer Reich” so 5 years, 8 months 6 days was a great disappointment to him. Just before the end, though, he did make the point that, according to the rules of evolution, the German people had lost the war and been found wanting, so they deserved to disappear completely. Talk about ingratitude!
    They were so close to beating the Russians and if they’d done that, arguably, they might well have won.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Once the war was over in Europe, it must have been doubly hard to have to keep fighting against the Japanese. Soldiers were celebrating in Europe, as others were still dying in the Far East.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

    • So true, Pete. As far as they knew, the invasion of Japan was yet to come and that would have made D-Day look like a picnic at the beach.

      Like

  20. It must have been particularly tough to know that the war in Europe had ended, but the war in the Pacific hadn’t.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Thanks for another engaging retelling of the fight for the Philippines, GP. That story of the Bunker Hill was amazing as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Gosh. Amazing! You sure do a good job, GP. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Do you believe the rumor that there is Japanese treasure buried under Luzon?

    Liked by 2 people

  24. After VE Day, it must have taken a lot of courage and dedication for the Japanese and the Americans to keep fighting so fiercely knowing that the war was close to ending.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. GP, I remember seeing something about the Bunker Hill years ago. That was an absolutely tragedy, but what an effort to keep that ship intact enough to get back to the mainland, and even return to various forms of service thereafter.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. A lot to like about this post, but the picture with the excitement of VE Day–that made my day.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Time to draw breath…before starting all over again…..
    Mentioning the hatred felt for the Japanese together with the repect for their tenacity reminded me how father and his comrades seemed to have no hatred for their German opposition…it seemed to be an attitude of ‘they’re doing their job just like us’.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That was exactly how Smitty felt, especially after coming up on a Japanese cemetery on New Guinea. It sure put things into perspective for him. Dad felt more hatred for the makipili (Filipino siding with the Japanese) who killed his buddy.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Although history has informed us of the uttimate victorious outcome, it is not a spoiler for your story. The anticipation is palpable.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Swabby. You are far more understanding than my better half. Every Monday morning, after a post is published, I’m asked, “Well. are we still winning the war?”

      Liked by 2 people

  29. That Booby trap cartoons are hilarious. Did the Japanese really use likenesses of pinup girls to set booby trap?. (In that bathing suit, the name is way too appropriate.) I wondered how Smitty managed to lighten up his letters home, in his usual manner during this period.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. The end was near, but those troops were still in a lot of danger. I understand Smitty’s views on the enemy. But a healthy respect for the enemy probably helped our soldiers stay alive.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. I really do enjoy reading your accounts of history, most that I knew nothing about before

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Thank you for keeping our past alive. God bless you 😔

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Thank you, Ned.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Thank you, Nelsapy.

    Like

  1. Pingback: Lipa, Luzon | May 1945 – Nelsapy

  2. Pingback: Lipa, Luzon | May 1945 | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

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