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New Year’s Day 1942

Carl Mydans, "Life" mag. photographer

Carl Mydans, “Life” mag. photographer

While the people of Japan celebrated New Year’s Day in their usual fashion, debts were paid, people thronged to the Meiji Shrine to throw coins at midnight and for good luck, red daruma dolls were purchased, all this was topped off with the news of military success against the Allies.  But all this gaiety did not please the military.  They were aware of just how arduous the war was going to be and strict discipline must be maintained.  General Muto said:  “The first step is to replace Shigenori Togo as Foreign Minister.” [similar to the US Secretary of State] –  (Togo had been opposed to the military aggression.  He had to go.)

Japanese visiting Yasukuni Jinja during the New Year's period.

Japanese visiting Yasukuni Jinja during the New Year’s period.

The Japanese in the Philippine Islands celebrated differently.  They closed in on Manila from two directions.  The southern troops were slowed about 40 miles out due to the amount of bridges that had been dynamited, but they were receiving very little opposition.  General Homma, only 17 miles away, halted his troops to prepare themselves in tight and clean formations to parade into the city.  MGeneral Koichi Abe, in the north, led his 48th Division into Manila in front of sullen Filipinos.

Luzon trenches; taken by: Carl Mydans

Luzon trenches; taken by: Carl Mydans

Carl Mydans, a photographer for Life magazine, and his wife Shelley, watched the influx of Japanese from their Bayview Hotel window as the invaders looted warehouses and homes.  They saw 3 companies of soldiers and sailors form ragged lines on the lawn of High Commissioner Francis Sayre’s residence.  Three cannons boomed as the American flag lowered and a sailor stepped on it.  He then put the Rising Sun in its place on the pole.  A band played the Japanese national anthem, Kimigayo.

Route to Manila

Route to Manila

The Emperor’s reign will last
For a thousand and then 8 thousand generations
Until pebbles become mighty rocks
Covered in moss.

A cable arrived from Carl’s employer: “ANOTHER FIRST-PERSON EYEWITNESS STORY BUT THIS WEEK WE PREFER AMERICANS ON THE OFFENSIVE.”  Mrs. Mydans sent the reply: “BITTERLY REGRET YOUR REQUEST UNAVAILABLE HERE.”

Click on images to enlarge.

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Political Humor – seuss-4

Dr_Seuss_World_War_II_Political_Cartoon_5

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Anderson – Warwick, RI; US Navy, Korea

Ingeborg Buonomo – Lecanto, FL; WAC, WWWIIroseglitterdivider_thumb

Norman Helfrich – Rabbit Lake, CAN; RC Army, WWII, ETO

Jery Kaas – Anthem, AZ; US Navy, WWII, USS Carolina

Lee Patrick – Niles, IN; US Navy, WWII, USS Cacapon

Brian Henry Senn – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force # G83335, Flight Lt.

Tommy Shaw – Huntsville, AL; US Air Force, Korea, control tower operator

John Swett – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW

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War Trials – WWII – part one

Gen. Yamshita at defense table

Gen. Yamshita at defense table

Just as the Japanese surrenders occurred in different places and on different dates, so were the trials. The regulations used differed and the criminal charges varied. Preparations for the war crimes started early in mid-1942 due to the heinous reports coming out of China during the Japanese invasion in 1937. The home front recollections of these proceedings might differ from the facts stated here because of the media slant at the time and sensationalism. Often, the stories were even inaccurate, such as in Time magazine, the writer ranted about Yamashita’s brutality during the Bataan Death March. The truth of the matter was – Yamashita was in Manchuria at the time. All in all, 5,600 Japanese were prosecuted during 2,200 trials. More than 4,400 men and women were convicted and about 1,000 were executed and approximately the same number of acquittals. Soviet trials are not included here as these were held merely as propaganda show pieces. The defendants mostly pleaded guilty, made a public apology and said something wonderful about communism and the “People’s Paradise” of Russia.

correspondents

correspondents

General Tomoyuki Yamashita’s case was the most famous of the American trials and was presided over by a military commission of 5 American general officers (none of which had any legal training) and held in the ballroom of the U.S. high commissioner’s residence. The charge was “responsibility for the death and murders tolerated – knowingly or not.” The general’s defense council, Col. Harry Clark, argued that no one would even suggest that the Commanding General of an American occupational force would become a criminal every time an American soldier committed a crime – but, Yamashita was just so accused.

Yamashita testifies

Yamashita testifies

MacArthur let it be known that Truman wanted the proceedings to be completed at the earliest possible date. It became obvious that the verdict was predetermined; even one correspondent at the scene reported, “In the opinion of probably every correspondent covering the trial, the military commission came into the courtroom the first day with the decision already in its collective pocket.” Many observers felt that Yamashita was not being accorded due process as MacArthur and the commission refused to provide copies of the transcript. Proof that the general had known of the atrocities was never given, but after closing arguments, it was announced that the verdict would be given in two days. Significantly, the guilty verdict was given on 7 December 1945. The general was hanged in Manila, Philippines on 23 February 1946 because the men he commanded had committed evil acts during the war.

Yamashita's military commission

Yamashita’s military commission

Yamashita hearing the verdict of guilty

Yamashita hearing the verdict of guilty

Hundreds of others were also prosecuted in the American trials, including Lt. General Matsaharu Homma, the man who actually did order the Bataan Death March and the bombing of the undefended “open city” of Manila. His headquarters had been 500 yards from the road the prisoners had marched and died on and he had admitted having driven down that road of blood many times. He was sentenced to hang.  His wife appealed to MacArthur to spare him – which he refused, but did execute Homma by the less disgraceful method of firing squad.

Gen. Homma with his lawyers

Gen. Homma with his lawyers

During these trials in the Philippines, 215 Japanese faced criminal charges and 20 were declared innocent and 92 were given the death sentence. In one case, Philippine President Manuel Roxas appealed to China’s Chiang Kai-shek to spare the life of one Japanese officer who had saved his life and that of several other Filipinos. The request was granted.

Manila Hotel Annex, Dec. 1945 during trials G. Mountz collection

Manila Hotel Annex, Dec. 1945 during trials
G. Mountz collection

American tribunals were held in Shanghai for those accused of executing American airmen under the “Enemy Airmen’s Act” due to the Doolittle raid on Japan in April 1942, when many prisoners were murdered as an act of revenge for that mission of bombing Japan early in the war.

Abe Koso under guard

Abe Koso under guard

The U.S. Navy tried the Japanese accused of crimes on the islands. Three were held on Kwajalein, in the Marshall Islands and 44 were put on trial on Guam. These were closely held in conjunction with British, Australian and Indonesian officials. Abe Koso, became the naval commander at Kwajalein and ordered the beheading of nine Marine Raiders that were left behind after the Makin Raid. Koso defended his acts by claiming the Marines were U.S. spies. The tribunal rejected his claim and 19 June 1947, he was hanged.

There were 19 cases brought up for medical experiments at Truk. (Most people have only heard of these abominable acts from the Nazis.) Another was held for the slaughter of 98 Pan American airline employees on Wake Island in 1943. And ten others were sentenced to death; 18 were convicted of murdering civilians in the Palaus.

Courtroom gallery of spectators, Manila, P.I.

Courtroom gallery of spectators, Manila, P.I.

Click on images to enlarge.
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Farewell Salutes –

Sherman Wagenseller – San Diego, CA; Petty Officer 3d Class, U.S. Navy, WWII

Dr. Sidney Franklin – Philadelphia, PA & Los Lunas, NM; U.S. Army Medical Corps, 3d Army, WWII ETO

Fred T. Epson – Chicago, Ill. & Boynton Bch., FL; Illinois National Guard, WWII, ferried aircraft for the military

Joseph Phillips Morton – Long Beach, CA; Eighth Army Air Corps, 44th Bomb Group, bombardier, WWII

Harold Westmoreland – Dallas, TX; U.S. Navy, Korea

Itsuo Zoriki – Los Angeles, CA; 442d Antitank Company, WWII

Herbert Shapiro – Old Bethpage, NY & Lake Worth, FL; U.S. Navy, WWII

Jack Thomas – W. Palm Beach, FL; U.S. Merchant Marines, WWII

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Resources: history.net; WWII magazine; Wikipedia; George Mountz Collection of photos at genealogycenter.ifo/military; dastardlybastards.com

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March/April 1945

Kamikaze near-miss

Kamikaze near-miss


During March, Japan’s city of Osaka and Kobe were devastated and enemy resistance collapsed on Iwo Jima. The U.S. began its bombardment of Okinawa and kamikaze aircraft became a persistent threat to the Navy.

“Operation Iceberg” (Okinawa) began in 1 April with the U.S. Tenth Army (6th Marine Division and 1st Marine Division) making their landings. Their objective was to advance west and then north on the island. The U.S. Army XXIV Corps (7th Infantry Div. and 96th Infantry) was ordered to clear the southern region. The units encounter very little resistance at their initial targets, but 130,000 Japanese soldiers were prepared for battle in the interior area and rougher region of the island.
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General Masatoshi Fujishige

General Masatoshi Fujishige


18 April, Col. Pearson brought in tanks and 155mm howitzers to coordinate with the 187th and their fighting would continue for two more days. The 11th Airborne had pushed the Japanese back to Malepunyo. On the 19th, any cave found near the 1st battalion was sealed. Those hideouts discovered near Cuenca Ravine had gasoline drums rolled into them and were ignited by grenades. This not only killed a number of enemy soldiers, but also eliminated the vegetation that would normally provide cover and possible infiltration routes by the enemy. When the battle for Macolod was over on the 20th, the regiment had 13 casualties and 11 wounded.

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.

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!

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).
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Indian Parachute Regiment insignia

Indian Parachute Regiment insignia

Between December 1944 and the end of April 1945, the British and Indian troops liberated Burma. The Japanese Army evacuated Rangoon on 29 April 1945. I should have included the campaigns of these men here as well, my apologies.
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All throughout April, the U.S. Marines land on the smaller islands surrounding Okinawa.

On 17 April, President Truman extended the lend-lease act, thereby giving a grand total of $39 billion for Europe’s war effort. The U.S. only received $5.5 billion in return.

29 April, Mussolini and his mistress Signorina Petracci were executed and hung by their heels in front of a filling station nd Italy surrenders. (I have a photo of this, but feel it is not suitable for all viewers.)
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Remember – click onto any photo to enlarge.

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Ode to the Los Banos Raid/MOSSCOMES

Manila headlines

Manila headlines

I wrote this many, many years ago when I first heard the story about the raid and the release of 2,122 internees. I have been hesitant to include this in my father’s story, but since you have all been so patient with me in the past, I thought I’d give it a shot. I am told that the rhythm is hard to find and my answer is: I told you I wasn’t a professional. Soooo, here it goes …

MOSSCOMES
Ode to the Los Banos Raid, 23 February 1945

Men in mass, 8,000 “thieves,” 11th Airborne Division,
Objective: clear the jungle more dense than anyone could envision.
Secure in themselves after New Guinea and Leyte,
Safety in their brotherhood, their trooper fraternity.

Commanded by ingenious General Joseph May Swing,
Offensive – plan to destroy the enemy string.
Maneuvering 16 days to break the Genko Line,
Economically fought terrors too fierce to define.

Simply, 11th take back Luzon – tho each man is spent,
Make it thru the Tiger Division to the “Pearl of the Orient.”
Over 25 miles behind enemy lines, Los Banos is trapped,
Swing, with his smarts, a great scheme he had mapped.

Straving and dying, internees prayed to be free,
Civilians living the Hell of Sadaaki Konishi.
Over 70% suffered dysentery, malaria or beriberi,
Meals were rice or rodents or bugs – which were plenty.

Eager guerrillas in the brush did their part,
Sgt. Fulton, their contact had bravery and heart.
Makapili – native spies abound in Japanese favor,
Overtly slew, even their own, but the 11th did not waver.

Secretly, Peter Miles did flee and intel went to Swing,
Sketched the prison layout and completed the sting.
Covertly the officers jumped into action,
Only nine “Gooney Birds” used for the troopers faction.

Men in sticks, 15 per plane jump at 400 feet,
Eyes to the horizon, green smoke shows their beat.
Some think of their homes, others the mission,
Make deals with their God, whose death his decision.

On land and sea, 54 amtraks do proceed,
Semaphore flags forward “wigwag” boys wave the “alligators” to lead.
Soule Task Force on land, fight and fend off the enemy,
Completing the land, sea and air strategy.

Overjoyed, but confused come the weak and the maimed,
Mission successful, “Thieves” now “Angels” were named.
Echelon back dated orders, to scoff up the credit [but]
Stealth, surprise, daring and speed – the 11th earned all the merit.
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If you followed this post this far, I tip my hat to you. Thank you for bearing with me.

U.S. Army Air Forces recruiting poster

U.S. Army Air Forces recruiting poster

MOSSCOMES – principles of war

patch (125x125) (125x125)
In the previous post, I described the rescue of the 2,122 internees held captive in Los Banos camp on Luzon, P.I. and stated that the operation followed the nine principles of war. In all military academies, this concept is taught and many of the students use the acronym MOSSCOMES to remember each one.

One POW, on the way back to the Allied lines spotted an Air Force Wing flying overhead. He looked up and said, “Hundreds of planes arrived just like they (FDR) promised in 1942 – but, oh my God, they are so late!” Thankfully, by the powers that be, Gen. Swing used his youthful training to plot their escape. This mission is still discussed in some military schools todays.

M – Mass – concentrate overwhelming combat power at the decisive place and time. This way, even smaller forces can achieve the desired results.
O – Offensive – To seize, retain and exploit the initiative. Take the offensive position and keep going.
S – Surprise – Strike the enemy at a time, at a place or in a manner for which he is unprepared. Surprise can come in the form of rate of speed, the size of the force, the direction by which the attack is made or deception.
S – Simplicity – Prepare clear, uncomplicated plans and use clear, concise orders to ensure understanding.
C – Command – Unity of command for every objective ensures unity of effort under one responsible commander.
O – Objective – This is the ultimate purpose of war; the destruction of the enemy’s ability to fight.
M – Maneuver – Movement of your forces in relation to the enemy so that you retain the upper hand. To place the enemy in a position of disadvantage.
E – Economy of force – Use most of your power for the main objective, then use a minimum force for the secondary efforts. NO part of the force should be left without a purpose.
S – Security – Having a solid security, you reduce the chances of hostile acts and surprise. You want nothing to distract your force from it’s initial purpose.

Wartime poster, Loss Banos

Wartime poster, Loss Banos


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More current news – The town just north of me here in So. Fla. once again finds time to honor our veterans. The Ascension Lutheran Church will honor the “Four Chaplains.” The clergymen of different faiths whose transport ship, theDorchester was torpedoed 3 February 1943 gave their life jackets away to servicemen and went down with the ship together. A commemorative bench is being placed in Veterans Memorial Park in their honor.

A quote from late author, Michael Crichton – “If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.”

Los Banos Raid

Los Banos camp, university building

Los Banos camp, university building

23 February 1945 demonstrated the result of teamwork between General Swing and his troops, the Filipino guerrillas and the intelligence supplied by an escapee of the interment camp of Los Baños, Peter Miles. The man’s photographic memory gave a detailed layout of the prison and the exact sites of the guards and armaments. Mr. Miles had memorized the strict regimental daily routines of the Japanese and the specific times when the guards changed shifts and had their exercise periods, which would put them a safe distance away from their weapons.

By this time, Everett “Smitty” Smith was an NCO and when I’d asked him many years ago if he was part of the Los Banos Raid, he said, “No, I was occupied somewhere else.” As best as I can find in my research, he was busy with the rest of the 187th near the 457th parachute FA Battalion that was commanded by Captain Flanagan. (The captain would later become Lt. General E.M. Flanagan, author of many WWII historical books.) Although Smitty wasn’t at this dramatic feat of the 11th Airborne Division, it deserves any and all the attention it gets. It is an operation that anyone associated with the division remains proud of to this day.

Maryknoll sisters before interment 1942

Maryknoll sisters before interment 1942

href=”https://pacificparatrooper.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/losbanos_07.jpg”>11th set fire to the barracks before leaving 11th set fire to the barracks before leaving[/caption]

Amtracs approaching Los Banos (bottom left of pix)

Amtracs approching Los Banos (bottom left of pix)

[

caption id=”attachment_588″ align=”alignright” width=”300″]Ringler's jungle route Ringler’s jungle route[/caption]Los Banos camp was originally the University of the Philippines Agricultural School. It was situated forty miles southeast of Manila and on this date in history was 26 miles behind enemy lines. This operation needed a multi-pronged attack using each principle of war to the maximum. (The 9 principles will be explained in the following post. It will help explain this complicated operation) Above photo shows actual path taken to sneak to the camp.)

The guerrillas provided intel and also guided Lt. Skau’s reconnaissance platoon into position under the cover of darkness. The army did help supply them with radios, ammunition and food, but the loosely organized groups also later stole the 11th’s supplies, calling it a justified gift.

First Lt. John Ringler was in charge of those troopers who would drop 900 yards from the camp. They made their jump at approx. 500 feet instead of the usual 700-1,000′ since the drop zone was so small and the men would have less exposure time. They made three V’s-in-trail by the nine Douglas C-47s from the 65th Troop Carrier Squadron, 54th Troop Carrier Group. Some of the men ran across open fields to achieve their assigned positions. Ringler and his company went down a riverbed from the northeast (photo) while others came from the south and southeast.

Internees rescued

Internees rescued

Major Burgess went across Laguna de Bay with the amphibious vehicles as the main attacking force. The noisy amtracs slowly made their progress to shore with hopes the enemy had not heard their arrival. Once on the beach, the 457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion dismounted at San Antonio to defend the area.

Los Banos missionaries reunited w/ their families

Los Banos missionaries reunited w/ their families

On land, Lt. George Skau and his 31-man platoon infiltrated with the Filipino guides and banca crews. (a sailing vessel usually used for fishing and trade) Once the men eliminated the tower sentries and guards, the soldiers attacked and entered the camp. The internees ran into their barracks or ditches when the firing began. One man said that at the start of the war, they were still using WWI materiel, so when they spotted the domed helmets of the troopers, they believed the Germans were there to help the Japanese. When the reality of the situation became apparent to them, the G.I.s had over 2,000 excited and hysterical people to contend with, but many of them were unable to walk. Every moment was crucial as the enemy could arrive at any minute. Sometime during this period, the guerrillas faded back into the jungle.

wounded internee for transport

wounded internee for transport

The 11th Airborne’s G-4 amassed 18 ambulances and 21 trucks to take the 2,122 internees to the New Bilibid Prison, where they would remain for a few weeks before being shipped home to the U.S.. They had been prisoners for three years.

CECIL BARRETT, HERMAN BEABER, LEO STANCLIFF & WILLIE JAMIESON

The 188th had some casualties while confronting the enemy, but not one person was killed during the raid. The story of the Los Banos Raid was downplayed in the newspaper because of the fall of Iwo Jima. Reporter Frank Smith was at the raid, so the story did get out somewhat. (a photo of a headline will be in the following post.)

Internees arrive at Mamatid

Internees arrive at Mamatid

Sister Mary Beata Mackie, after release

Sister Mary Beata Mackie, after release

The Japanese supply warrant officer, Sadaaki Konishi, who actually ran the camp, was able to escape the American raid unharmed. He, along with others of the enemy and the YOIN (Filipinos that were pro-Japanese – makapili) continued to kill and burn the homes of the surrounding population. He was later accused of six counts against the laws of war, tried and found guilty of five charges. Sadaaki Konishi was executed on 17 June 1947.

Japanese wall of defense

Luzon's densely packed mountains and valleys, fields in the distance

Luzon’s densely packed mountains and valleys, fields in the distance

Peleliu-defense-194409
machine gun pillbox

machine gun pillbox

A reminder of what these soldiers were up against …
The stretch of blockhouses and pillboxes and tunnels, known as the Genko Line were filled with every imaginable weapon available from the Japanese arsenal. Along mountains, under fields and connecting the rolling hills lay the traps of heinous sorts silently in wait for any or all of the troopers.

The 1,200 two and three-story blockhouses entrenched with at least 6,000 enemy soldiers that lined the southern edge of Manila. A massive feat of ingenuity.

old tunnel3773790243_87a5d598e4
The size of some of these tunnels amazed me, large enough for a boat or plane and some appear too small for a human to hide.

Japanese tunnel for a kamikaze squadron

Japanese tunnel for a kamikaze squadron

Also wanted to remind the reader that on You Tube – type in – Nasugbu landing 1945; Allied Forces Land In Japan (1945) and 11th Airborne to see quite a number of actual video footage from the war.

Thank you all for your loyalty and responses.

Manila – Pearl of the Orient

When Corregidor fell, 1941

When Corregidor fell, 1941

Manila 12/26/1941

Manila 12/26/1941


The capital region of the Philippines went an invasion from Brunei, then the Spanish landed in the 15th century. It endured several Chinese revolts, a British occupation, a Sepoy mutiny and their own revolution when the Americans showed up.

In 1941 General MacArthur declared Manila an Open City and in 1942 the city fell to Japan.

a camoflaged gun in Manila

a camoflaged gun in Manila

Manila activity map

Manila activity map


Japanese General Yamashita never had any intention of defending the capital city. It was a vast area of highly flammable buildings and far too populated to feed. From his command post, 125 miles north of Manila, he ordered Admiral Iwabuchi to remove all of his troops from the city – he refused to comply. Instead of retreat, he took thousands hostage and all communication between the two men ceased. Japanese Gen. Yokoyama estimated the American strength in Manila to be little more than a regiment and the fighting continued.

18 February 1945, an unusual situation was discovered in Manila when three soldiers were returning to their headquarters in a mansion set on Dewey Boulevard South. A few blocks away, the troopers entered a house only to discover three Japanese men in robes and talking while they drank their tea. Somehow, they had been operating out of that house without realizing that the American HQ and General Swing were so close. It seemed incredible they were not discovered before. The three men were killed trying to escape the building.

The commander of the 188th regiment turned his unit over to Gen. Pearson, now commander of the 187th, and they were incorporated into the Task Force and set out to attack Mabato Point. This zone sat two thousand yards south of Fort McKinley and held the Japanese Southern Forces Abe Battalion on the northwest shore of Laguna de Bay. This position gave the enemy an excellent vantage point of observation and fields that could be set on fire. As with the rest of the Genko Line, this area had been prepared by Japanese and Filipino workers since 1942 and had fortified tunnels. G-2 estimated about 800 of the enemy were hold up on Mabato.

Pearson put the 187th traveling along the railroad tracks and other regiments and battalions to other areas. When each unit was set, mid-morning on this date, Company B of the 187th launched the attack. The 457 Parachute Field Artillery was there to support with their pack 75s. Later that afternoon, air strikes were called in because the enemy was so well defended. When napalm was used, the fires used up so much oxygen that the enemy soldiers in the tunnels began to suffocate.

19 February, the Task Force struck again, but were having difficulty due to Japanese mortar fire. Finally, the mortar observers were located where they hid in the trees and sharp shooters took them out. A Japanese medical officer surrendered and through a Nisei interpreter informed Pearson that there were about 400 more Japanese in the area. A Filipino volunteer went to the enemy with a message of truce, giving one half hour of cease fire time for anyone to surrender. The end result has conflicting stories, but the fighting did continue. The surviving 15 officers of Abe Battalion were marched by their commander to the Point and committed hara-kiri. By 21 February, all resistance on Mabato Point had ended, but the Japanese were far from defeated in the Philippines.

G.I.s going door-to-door in Manila

G.I.s going door-to-door in Manila

G.I.s crossing the Pasig River

G.I.s crossing the Pasig River

Photos and data with the assistence of Rakkasans by Gen. Flanagan; The U.S. Army; Wikipedia & Manila Hub. Thank You.

Fort McKinley/Manila

Paranaque River

Paranaque River

Read the rest of this entry

Nichols Field, Luzon

Operation map

Operation map


an early photo of Nichols Field

an early photo of Nichols Field

While the 511th regiment was held up at the Paranaque River, the 674th regiment moved in to assist them. The evening of 4 February 1945, the smoke and flames inside the city of Manila could easily be seen.

The Japanese Naval Air Service was stationed at Nichols Field where they had antiaircraft weapons that would shoot at the American planes overhead or positioned to aim directly at the troopers on land. The enemy 4th Naval Battalion had secured Fort McKinley and other Japanese units filled in the gaps in between.

On 7 February, the 188th reg. and the 2d battalion of the 187th headed across open terrain toward Nichols Field where they encountered tremendous resistance. It would take four days to create a solid defensive line diagonally across the air field. On this date, a member of the 511th would make contact with a patrol of the 1st Calvary near the Philippines Racing Club, but the Japanese were still defending Nichols Field complex, the center of the Genko Line, as though they were protecting the Emperor himself.

At this time, the 2d of the 187th was attached to the 511th. The CP (Command Post) was in a spanish-style house with a wall surrounding it, and it was receiving 20mm AA fire. One shell went through a window and killed Colonel Haugen (C.O. of the 511th), but Gen. Swing, Col. Tipton and Capt. Barker were unharmed.

By 12 February, enough was enough. Swing sent the 2d of the 187th to attack Nichols Field eastward, while the 188th and the 1st of the 187th drove in from the south. Under continuous fire, they attacked the enemy pillboxes and emplacements. The enemy’s fierce counterattack was repelled and most of the field was in U.S. hands by dusk. They did need to continue fighting throughout the following day.

By the time Valentine’s Day rolled around, the 188th and the 2d of the 187th turned toward Fort McKinley. Gen. Eichelberger felt that the results were “one of the most daring feats of the war” being that there were only seven infantry battalions in the entire division. There was also no rest for the weary, even the truck drivers were running supplies 19 hours a day and Gen. Swing used a cub plane to land and see what was happening at the front lines. Dad always said that it was an everyday occurence to have Swing on the point. And now, the 457th regiment was in position on Tagatay Ridge to provide support for the MSR (Main Supply Route).
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current news – A 16 year old French boy found a WWII duffel bag in his grandfather’s attic and returned it to 92 year old Army veteran, William Kadar in Indiana. Kadar last saw the bag in Nov. 1944 – one week before the Germans captured him.

Also, in a town just a few miles from me, 20 WWII veterans of WWII received France’s Legion of Honor Medal. Anyone who served in France during the war is eligible to apply for this.

Nichols Field on fire

Nichols Field on fire


Remember to click on photos for a larger view.

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