22 April 1945

 


No. 14
211500 April 45
to
221500 April 45

"Infantry: "G" Co., advancing with its objective the high ground (38.3-97.8) was forced to withdraw under heavy machine gun and mortar fire to (938.1-97.8) at 211730I. The enemy lost a known 10 KIA during the action. "H" Co. reported 1 enemy KIA attempting observation of the position. 2d Battalion constituting our forward elements, continued its fire fight until dark and consolidated on the 100 yards gained. Mortar fire fell on "E" and "F" Cos. during the night killing 4 and wounding 3.    "H" Co. repulsed an estimated 60-70 Enemy attacking in three columns 22530I. The enemy left a known 10 KIA before withdrawing. "H" Co. patrols were attempting contacts as the period closed. One U.S. heavy machine gun was found abandoned by the enemy along with 1932 Frankford Arsenal ammunition. Enemy aid men were seen evacuating casualties. One platoon "I" Co. moved to occupy ridge vicinity (38.8-97.3) reaching the objective at 221500I. "G" Co. made a dawn attack (220545) behind artillery and 4.2 chemical mortar barrage and secured two hills to its immediate front. By flanking fire, "D" Co. aided "F" Co. to draw abreast as the period closed.

"RESULTS OF OPERATIONS: Our advance, though small in yardage, gained valuable high ground to our front and flanks. It is believed that "H" Co. engaged and inflicted severe casualties on approximately 25% of the enemy's right sector troops. This estimate is based on G-2 reports of approximately 200 enemy in that vicinity. Known enemy positions under artillery, tank, and air bombardment continually during the period, causing unestimated casualties."

 "5. CASUALTIES:

a. Our Casualties:

    (1) For the period: 12 KIA, 14 WIA

    (2) To date:      53 KIA, 131 WIA

b. Enemy Known Casualties

    (1) For the period: 49 KIA

    (2) To date 143 kia, 0 POW"

   

0540

Arty & 4.2 mortars laid fire for 20 minutes on two hills to the left front of D Co. D co. assaulted erectly after barrage and succeeded in taking high ground objective.

0730

 Casualties for 21 April 45, 7 KIAs, 2 DOWs, 9 WIAs, with E company having the most losses. In addition to Battle casualties, we are having too many hospital cases die to Jaundice & F.U.O.
 


[Note: Jaundice is hepatitis, called "infectious hepatitis." 
"F.U.O." is "fever of undetermined origin." ]
 
0915

Air strike by 8- P-38s, bombed & strafed effectively.

1000

Air strike made on same targets.

1100

E Co preparing assault on enemy positions to their right front.

1130

Air strike again on our front line targets by P-38s.

1500

 Our casualties are heavy again today, our Hq Co LMG Plts attached to line companies are suffering heavy casualties. Gunshot & mortars taking their toll.

1700

Guerrillas quite a problem; nothing but holler for more clothing and food. No sanitation, no discipline, no morale. Moved out on their own will about 1600 this afternoon.

1800

Tanks, 4.2 Mortars & Arty supported our advance today. We had three air strikes today by P-38s, dropped 500 lb bombs and strafed.

   

0530 a short round from "E" Co. mortars landed by the attached machine gun platoon killing Pfcs. Alexander and Hendricks and seriously wounding Sgt. Pittinger and Pvt. Jackson, all attached from Hq.Co.,2d Bn.

The Company History has erroneously spelled Pfc. Raymond L. HENDRICK's name as  Hendricks.  Pfc. Hendrick's enlisted 11.11.42 and his hometown was Scott County, IA.

At 0545 the 3rd platoon with LMG squad attached, under Lt. Watkins, attacked the ridge 200 yds. to the left front with artillery support, attached 50 cal. machine guns, 81mm mortars, 60mm mortars, and small arms fire of both "D" and "E" Cos.    Heavy enemy mortar fire was encountered with no casualties. At 0630 the 1st platoon under Lt. Mara moved to the ridge to the direct front followed by the second platoon under S/Sgt Howard which moved along the ridge to join the 3rd platoon. Sgt. Stowe of the 3rd platoon and Pfc Seims acting as mortar observer were wounded by enemy machine gun fire as the position was being secured. The enemy continued to place mortar fire on the position with no casualties. At 1330 "F" Co. notified "D" Co. that two Japs were in a cave on the forward slope of the ridge occupied by "D" Co. Five men under Pvt. Drews assaulted the cave and killed the enemy. The patrol then moved up the road for reconnaissance. Approximately 50 yds. to the front the patrol received withering rifle fire from concealed positions killing Pvt. Drews and forcing the remaining men to withdraw. With fire support from the entire Co. a volunteer group of five men under Sgts. Minor and Dolan recovered Drews's body. The taking of the two ridges also allowed for the recovery of Lt. David's body."

 

The Company History has erroneously spelled Pvt. Clyde A. DREW's name as Drews. Pvt. Drew's hometown was Carroll County, NH.

   

Mortar's & LMG's gave support to Dog Co. who attacked Hill 458 and seized and occupied it at 0630 Hr. At 0800 hr 1st & 2nd and LMG's and mortar Platt moved forward and went into position on Hill 458 with D Co. one man S.I.A. from booby trap left by D Co when they moved forward. light knee mortar and sniper fire during day. Co Hq and 3rd Platt remaining in position."

 

During the night the enemy pulled an infiltration attack throwing anti-personnel bombs which fatally wounded Pfc. Ralph Bright. During the morning the company successfully attacked & secured part of the ridge which we had failed to take the day before. During this action, T/Sgt Ben Forte was fatally wounded & Pfc Charston & Pvt Allen Klisher were LWA. The third platoon led this attack."

 

Bright and Penton were Corregidor veterans in the 2nd and 3rd platoons respectively. Forte and Klisher were Mindoro replacements, and I do not know their platoon assignments.

After the 3d platoon approached the banana grove late in the afternoon of the 21st radio silence was observed so that the Japs on the ridge would not become aware of their presence. The platoon remained silent during the night. At first dawn they were on the ridge taking the Japs by surprise. Only the Japs on the north end managed to escape, and they fled to an isolated hill about 200 yards to the northeast. Their attack was over before the support could see well enough to pass safely through the mine field. Over on the south side of Tokaido Road "D"  Company had jumped off at dawn and taken their objective.

During the day we drew considerable machine gun and rifle fire along with occasional mortar fire from the hill to our northeast and to our direct front from another ridge which had been fortified. It was not encouraging to see that we had another strong line of enemy defense to assault. Sergeant Forte was killed during the day as the Jap fire increased. This increased fire led us to believe for a while that the Japs were preparing to counterattack. This was a different breed of Japs, though, from the gung-ho banzai type we knew, especially the Jap Marines on Corregidor. Fighting these more docile Japs was much more difficult and perplexing. They dug in deep, in well prepared positions and patiently waited for us to dig them out. Then at the last moment, they would retreat to the next prepared position, forcing us to start all over again. As things were going we (the assault group) were suffering more casualties than the Japs.

We were still in open country, although the fields were now broken into ridges and draws.  We could look back for miles and miles across the land receding toward the sea.  (See Photo) It was easy to see why the Japs knew all our movements. Looking ahead we could see the forested foothills still some distance away. There looming behind them were tall mountains whose tops were hidden by clouds most of the day. The plains below and to the west were mostly old sugar cane fields. The almost constant winds kept the tall grass moving so that it appeared like waves of water, a true "sea of grass'' as the early settlers described the appearance of the plains. Like the great plains of the United states, this grass was about "stirrup high".


Capt. Jim Mullaney
CO "H" Co.

 

 

From my records a better understanding of the happenings on 22 April could be obtained if I start a few days earlier.

April 20, 1945 - Friday.

Moved out of position and proceeded up mountains at 1200 hour.

Met some Filipinos but no Japs. The Filipinos gave us directions but didn't know the Jap strength. Said there were a high number of them - maybe in the hundreds. We crossed Malago. Set up perimeter on high ground. Dug in.

April 21, 1945

0530 Hour.

Mortar fire (knee type) started. Apparently the enemy had watched us dig in last night. Their fire was very accurate and demoralizing. We could hear the shells dropped in the tubes and see a dim outline of them in the early morning darkness as they reached their apogee and began their descent on our positions. a helpless feeling. I estimate this went on for about fifteen minutes.

As the knee mortar shelling lessened the Jap machine guns opened up. All of us new it was their guns because of their higher explosive sound and more rapid fire than ours.

A few M-1s came to life - than BARs - then our machine guns with their deep throat sound opened. Both sides were well trained. No Hollywood trigger squeezing till the belt is empty or the barrel overheats. Short burst were the order of the day for both armies.

Their were screams - shouts- and the usual battle sounds for = maybe - twenty minutes. It was then daylight. The enemy - about 75 of them - began to withdraw. They left with us 10 Jap bodies.

Because we had dug in very well last night the "H" casualties were six wounded.

As the enemy withdrew they crossed a deep ravine and headed up a path about 600 yards from our position. A patrol was sent out but was told to keep them in sight if possible but not to get any closer than a few hundred yards.

"H" set up machine guns in their direction but held fire. The artillery liaison officer was requested to notify his gun crews and spotter pilots.

"H" Company machine guns and 60mm mortars and the seventy fives from our artillery all opened up at a precise moment. After a few minutes firing our patrol moved in. Very few Japs escaped but I can't find in my notes how many were killed.

It was about 7AM when things settled down and the aid men were treating the wounded. I talked to each of them and was making plans for evacuations. PFC Cecil White was conscious and talking but his arm was gone. The stump was about four inches long. He asked me how badly he was hurt. I told him he was seriously wounded and that I would try to get an L19 spotter plane to land and transport him to Bacolod. All the company started cutting grass with their machetes to prepare a landing strip of a few hundred feet. After about an hour the spotter pilot flew over the newly cut strip and radioed he would give it a try.

He sat down within a few feet of the threshold but couldn't stop the roll-out before crashing. He was uninjured but the propeller broke in several pieces.

I dejectedly walked back to Cecil White - not knowing what to tell him.

Cecil White was dead.

The medics told me that in addition to the loss of his arm he also had a "sucking wound" in his chest that was unnoticed earlier.