Dibble was in the 3d platoon and had jumped on Corregidor. Hart was
also in the 3d platoon. He was one of the oldest (in "F" company
service) men who was probably due rotation. He was seriously wounded on
Noemfoor. Now he had another wound classified as serious.
I believe he lived over this serious wound, too. Peters also had
jumped on Corregidor. He was in the
2nd platoon, and I believed survived his serious wound, too. The
histories were written some time later, and usually if the person died,
the history would record him as DOW (died of wounds.)
the bouncing Betties and sending out short security patrols to make sure
no Japs were lurking in nearby bushes, we prepared to support "D"
Company's attack and to follow them up the ridges. Our support would be principally with our 60 mm mortars, the
LMG platoon attached to us, and the 50 caliber HMG attached to us
from "D" Battery, 462d PFA. For some reason that I do not remember
today, the attack was not made early in the morning when we were having
our most success. Probably we had to wait for a resupply of mortar and
artillery ammunition. I do not think the artillery and mortar support
was as complete as the day before, when they supported "F" Company. The
155mm "Long Toms" were not used. I really think the G-2 underestimated
the enemy capabilities, that the positions seized the day before had
broken the last of the fortified entrenchments on Tokaido Road.
We were not
impressed by the 40th G-2. One thing that always upset us was that they
would fire the 155mm day and night, at intervals of course, at forested
areas in the mountains. They would fire a certain number of rounds and
take a percent figure and this was the number of enemy casualties they
recorded. Our figures came from a body count. If we didn't find a dead
body, it didn't count.
"D" Company was to attack along the two ridges we followed and take the
"E" Company was to follow attacking along the north side of the north
ridge guiding on the trail. Their objective was the ridge formed by the
convergence of the two ridges. This short ridge was about perpendicular
to the two converging ridges. It was a very high, razor back ridge which
was about 150 yards long running north-south. It dropped off rapidly at
both ends. The south end merged with a smaller ridge south of the south
ridge we attacked along. This lower ridge continued on east into the
forest. The trail which our engineer company had been converting into a
road for vehicles (Tokaido Road) climbed up on the north end of the
tall, razor back ridge, followed the spine of the ridge south, down to
the lower ridge and followed it into the forest going east. We would
come to know this trail well, since it led to an outpost a mile or so up
in the forest where we would set up an out post.
Company moved through our automatic weapons fire was limited in order
not to fire into the assaulting "D" company troopers. We did have a good
field of fire on the south slope of the south ridge. The 50 caliber HMG
was set up to fire along this slope. We saw a Jap jump up and make a run
for the bottom of the draw. The HMG caught him before he made it to
safety. The burst of the machine gun caught him in full stride and an
arm was clearly seen to fly off ahead of the body before it fell.
We moved out
following "D" Company and soon were passing "D" Company casualties.
Again I "praised" the lieutenant general for his "skill" in
supplying his command. In my opinion "D" Company suffered because of a
reduction in artillery and mortar support. Lt. Jack Mara
was among the first casualties we
encountered. Jack had served briefly as my assistant platoon
leader when he joined the outfit on Leyte, and I thought a lot of him.
He was a good officer. There was a bullet hole on each side of his neck
where a bullet had entered one side and exited the other. Amazingly, the
bullet had passed through without hitting the spinal column or any vital
organ. In fact Jack was unconcerned over this wound. An exploding mortar
round had sprayed his legs with fragments causing multiple penetrations
and considerable pain. I was telling the medic to do something about
Jack's neck, and Jack was telling him to see to his legs.
Fortunately, the wounds were not serious, and Jack was back in a month
soldiers healed quickly.
with "E" Company's help on the north ridge took the objective. "F"
Company moved up on "D" company's right and occupied the north-south
ridge. "D" company shifted over and set up on the lesser ridge on "F"
Company's right flank. "E" Company set up on the north ridge with their
right flank tying to "F" Company's left flank. As said above, the
north-south ridge was a high, narrow ridge with steep sides. The company
dug in along the crest, or rather two platoons did. The mortar platoon
and the other rifle platoon were down in the draw of the junction of the
ridges. One section of the 3d LMG platoon attached to us was dug in on
the crest, too. This platoon served well with us, and I am sorry
that our company history fails to record the casualties they suffered
while attached to us. I can remember several, but not by name.