28 April 1945

 
 


No. 19
271500 April 45
to
281500 April 45

 

The 1st Battalion on the left flank, and the 3rd Battalion on the right flank continued to take some ground in order to keep up with the 2d Battalion and protect their flanks. They also did much patrolling.

2d BN: "D" Co. reported two or three enemy attempted infiltration 280230 but were dispersedd with hand grenades. Two enemy found dead by security patrol at 280600 presumably killed by artillery harassing fire. After artillery and mortar preparation "D" Co. passed through "F" Co. and by assault advanced to (40.5-96.7) encountering knee-mortar and long range rifle fire.

"E" Co. repulsed a 280500 infiltration attempt with hand grenades and no known casualties on either side. "E" Co. secured high ground

 

Our casualties yesterday were 3 WIAs. D& E Co reports attempted enemy infiltration early this A.M.

0700  
1000

Air strike by four Corsairs.

1100

Barrage of arty, mortar and tanks prior to assault by D Co. on ridge to their front. 

1230

E CO. move out on assault encountered heavy sniper & MG fire.

1300

Our casualties are very heavy today due to forward movement by D & E Co.

1430

500lb bomb hung on Corsair making bomb run. Bomb broke loose over our C.P. area falling 50 yds from 3d Bn C.P.

1700

F Co moved forward to aid D Co in holding the ridge. Our Bn received 28 replacements, 19 being assigned to D Co and 9 to Easy Company. Replacements were from Para replacement pool, left the States early part of March. There were several rated among them.     The replacements will just about cover our losses for today.

   
 The S-3 journal does not mention any replacements being directed to "F" Company,  but this was the day that an unfortunate young paratrooper arrived.  Jose Calderon will be fated to spend less than a week with his new company.
   

At 1245 after an artillery preparation the Co. advanced thru "F" Co. to secure a ridge junction 800 yds. to the front. The 2nd platoon under S/Sgt Howard moved up the ridge on the right side of the 1st platoon under Lt. Mara on the ridge to the left and the 3rd platoon under Lt. Watkins slightly to the rear on the right ridge and in the intervening valley. As the 2nd platoon advanced they received intense small arms fire from both flanks. Small arms fire from the 3rd platoon neutralized the enemy fire from the left and 60mm mortar fire silenced the fire on the right. In the advance Pfc. Jackson was killed and Pfc. Benci was wounded in the wrist and leg, both by snipers.

When the 1st platoon was stopped by small arms fire a heavy concentration of enemy mortar fire wounded Lt. Mara in the legs, Pvt. Raines in the hip, Pvt. Verdell in the arms and foot, and Pvt. Jones hit in the leg. The 3rd platoon moved over to the 1st platoon position and incorporated the remainder of the first platoon as a squad under S/Sgt Davis and with the aid of Co. "E" which was attacking on "D" Co. left flank overran the Jap position. The 3rd platoon then continued on along the valley to the ridge junction. Pfc. Sierra and S/Sgt. Van Horn were slightly wounded by enemy hand grenades.

Sgt. Koner of the attached machine guns was wounded in the hand by rifle fire. After the position was secured "E" Co. dug in on the left with "F" Co. in the center and forward and "D" Co. on the right rear. Enemy sniper fire was continued throughout the day. At 1630 "D" Co. received 19 replacements, 9 of which went to the combined 1st and 3rd platoons and 10 of which went to the second. Occasional mortar fire was received during the night but no "D" Co. casualties.

 

Displaced forward app. 900 yds in Co assault. Captured and secured ridge at road junction. Our casualties- Coord. (40.5-96.9) 2 KIA, 6 WIA plus 1 KIA LMG Sect., 4 WIA - plus 1 Filipino litter bearer . An estimated 30 Enemy KIA. Radio Transmitter detected under knoll at above coordinates - 2nd Bn. Demolition Squad-spent afternoon sealing caves, Flame throwers, etc. Demo. Sgt SWA. Some sniper fire received at sundown - during night. 3 Japs dug out of one sealed cave - 1 killed inside perimeter. 1 nip LMG (not a Nambu) captured in afternoon assault."

Other E company history:

"Company assaulted 900 yds. to the front, Sgt. Butch and Pfc Perrault K.I.A. 6 men W.I.A. Estimated 30 Nips killed.
 

Company spent the morning doing local patrolling. Sniper fire killed Pfc. Ace Dibble and seriously wounded Pfc. Woodrow Hart and Johnny Peters.

 
 
 

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.)

After removing 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 ridge junction. "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.

 After "D" 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 or so.

The good soldiers healed quickly.

"D" Company 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.

The "History, 503d RCT, Phase X" states in the 28 April entry made at 2400 hour: "We have had more casualties than the enemy- there are 18000 of them. Progress is extremely slow."

Throughout, the guerrillas presented a problem for us.  Except when they were under the control of a regular officer who could order them to a designated task, they were an ill disciplined group of mouths to feed, and backs to clothe. Later, some of the people "liberated" in Victorias would advise me privately that they had been in as much fear from some of the guerillas bands as they had been of the Japanese.