JULY 1944 


















































23 - 29 JULY 1944


23 July 1944



"Whitson at (88.2-61.8).  Still no change.” 

Joe Whitson’s first platoon is still at Ridge 200 several miles north of Inasi.


"Smitty reports he is surrounded by Nips.  Help needed.  Position is about (87.6-59.5).  Will put out Smoke grenade when Cub flies overhead."


"Smitty wires he will hold out tight till help comes."


"Whitson notified to join Smith.  Be cautious of ambush.  Prisoners being sent to Bn. with guard."


"One Jap killed in garden 100 yards out of Inasi C.P."


"Score—Japs killed 105, Captured 24, our losses 3 killed."


"Password William Powell, from 23/0900hr to 24/0900 hr."

"From "D" Co. Our position (82.0-61.0).  Contacted enemy.  Killed approximately 20 captured 1 M.G., 3 knee mortars.  We have five casualties.  Four killed one wounded.  Out of water for two days,  food low.  Will stand by for instructions.  Jim Meade."


"D" Company ordered to show smoke grenades.  Regiment promises aerial resupply.  They, "D", have only one radio battery."



"Lt. Whitson’s platoon arrived back at Inasi.  Unable to contact Captain Smith’s patrol.  After having withdrawn from enemy bivouac area yesterday, what Lt. Whitson was on lookout for occurred; As his unit reached a coral gully the second scout spotted an ambush.  He and Lt. Whitson immediately opened fire, and hit at least six of an estimated ten.  A fire fight ensued and the Japs started throwing grenades.  After two grenades landed close to Lt. Whitson, he hurdled a coral bank from where the grenades were thrown.  Out of carbine ammo, he butted a Jap to death with his carbine while the Jap tried to detonate another grenade.  Ernest, tommy-gunner, shot two Japs who attacked Lt. Whitson at this point.  When it was over there were nine Japs killed, one escaped.  We had no casualties.  It sounds as if it were all Lt. Whitsen’s, and this story came from his whole platoon, not himself.  As one of them put it, they would follow Lt. Whitsen to Hell and Back. 

This was the first of three actions of the 2nd Bn. that will write glorious pages in the annals of 503d history.  When Lt. Whitson radioed back large jap bivouac area spotted, Captain Smith and Lt. Luscomb left with a platoon to push an attack on the bivouac along with Whitson.  An hour out of Bn area, about 1600 hr., Capt. Smith’s patrol was hit from the rear by a large force.  A fight ensued, and eventually Capt. Smith’s group was surrounded by a superior group, which had at least four wood-peckers, knee mortars, grenades, and what seemed inexhaustible ammo.  As darkness settled, Capt. Smith’s patrol dug in with their hands and helmets.  The Japs would yell surrender and come charging in.  Their yells gave good targets to our gunners. 

Doc Bradford, our Harvard Surgeon, said in his Boston elegance:  “Our men are marvelous.  They just mowed ‘em down."  The platoon was in the fight for 17 hrs., till 0900 hr. next day, when the Japs withdrew.  In the heavy undergrowth immediately surrounding his position Capt. Smith counted 29 dead japs.  During the night, moans of the wounded being drug away, filled the air.  "E" Company had one killed, Pfc. Toupal, one missing, Pvt. Frinstwald, and one wounded slightly, Cpl. Alford.  The leadership of Captain Smith and abilities of his men are vividly shown in the proportionate losses, against great odds. 

The third action of the day was enacted by Lt. Meade’s "D" Company.  Meade came back in on the 4th day from a two day patrol.  Enemy action extended the operation.  The first day Lt. Meade left Inasi on compass course for Hill 670.  He bivouaced the 1st night at (80.0-60.0) without contact.  Next morning summoned to assist Capt. Smith, "D" Company left at 1300 hr on az. of 75 degrees.  In the morning 2 patrols, were sent out, of plat. ea., one to top of 670, the other S.E. on 5 hr patrol.  When in vicinity of Hill 400 "D" Co. contacted 15-20 Japs, but withdrew at dusk to near hill to bivouac for night.  "D" Company list Lt. Long and Pfc. Lee this eve. Next morning, at dawn "D" Co. attacked hill again and wiped out position and counted 23 Japs dead.  Lt. Vandivort and Sgt. Eubanks were lost. 

Sgt. Eubanks charged hill with B.A.R. blazing, killed 6 Japs, when trigger mechanism was shot off gun, clubbed at a M.G. position with the butt of rifle till he was killed.  This courage and fearless, at cost of his life, should merit the Medal of Honor which Sgt. Eubanks is being recommended for. 


It did. Refer to the full commendation.

Pfc. Kerr was wounded slightly in action.  Carrying four dead and one wounded, "D" Company again headed for Captain Smith’s beleaguered unit.  They, "D" Company, had now been out of water two days, and two days rations brought along were gone.  After moving short distance, "D" was hit again.  They killed  five Japs, lost none.  After hearing Smith was O.K. and bound for Inasi, Lt. Meade headed S.E. for Inasi, still carrying dead and wounded.  By now the men were chewing bark and squeezing rotted logs in mosquito head-nets for water.  The Japs hit "D" Company in an ambush at (83-59).  "D" killing 6 Japs and losing none.  Carrying the dead was a physical impossibility, and they covered with leaves and left at this spot not covered.  They bivouaced there that, 3rd, night, with no food and a mud-hole to quench their thirst.  The next morning "D" again headed for Inasi, and arrived there at 1100 hr. without further contact.  The final count for four days - 34 Japs killed.  "D" Company lost four -  2-0’s, 2 EM wounded slightly.  Again excellent leadership of Lt. Meade, and ability and confidence of his men won through against great enemy numbers and physical hardships.

Score Japs killed 168- prisoners 24 Japs and Formosans

Our losses 9 killed,  wounded 15, none seriously


First Platoon returned to Inasi.  Second platoon left reinforce third platoon.  Second and third platoon returned to Inasi.”


 We had a quiet night.  Colonel Britten had our force sweep the center of the island back to Hills 390-395.  This was done slowly and methodically.  There were no Japs in this part of the island.

When we got back to our home in the hills great joy awaited us (at this stage it did not take much to bring us great joy).  A good amount of B rations had been brought in.  They went so far as to say from now on we would be on full rations.  We would have to see this to believe, but for right now we had an ample supply which was the first time since we landed.  We did not see it, because we were back on short rations within a couple of days.  As I said, it was hard to back pack rations sufficient to feed a company plus a machine gun platoon.  The B rations were a welcome change, though.  B rations were what they issued the mess section for preparation, and we had complained greatly in the past about the dehydrated potatoes, canned meats, etc., but this was a change.  We had to cook them ourselves in small groups.  We had flour and sugar and used our imaginations.  The amounts grew smaller, and on one occasion the boon train did not show up for two days.  Our mess officer had decided that it would be funny to switch our rations with theirs.  When they saw that they did not have rice and dried fish they went home, and it took two days to gather them up again.  I don’t know how we would have fared on their fish and rice if it had gotten to us.  There were a couple of Javanese who had been civil service employees for the Dutch Government who controlled the native labor, and they had to work to get the natives back.  After the operation was over and things quieted down our mess officer was transferred out of the regiment.







24 July 1944



“Col. Britt left Bn area with composite patrol approximating a Co. with 2 days rations to receive "E" Co., dead."


 "Password till 0900 hr. 25 Myrna Loy."


"Britt’s patrol radioed in “no contact”


 "Natives report four Japs in Gardens 800 yards South West of C.P.  Lt. Russell and eight men left to investigate."


"Prisoners and wounded from "D" and "E" were evacuated by barge.  Battalion Adjutant left for regiment to get poop on rotation, promotion, recommendations for awards."


"Task Force directs only one day patrols."


"Tried to contact Britt’s patrol to inform them of regulations."


"Britt hit Japs same place as "E" Company patrol."


"Lt. Russel’s patrol returned four Japs killed in garden."


"Britt’s patrol returned.  Contacted one H.M.G., three L.M.G. withdrew when informed of task-force order.  Heavy sniper fire encountered.  Watson, "F" Company wounded slightly.  Five Japs killed."


"Barge arrived with FR.  Powers aboard  for three days stay.  After all our close actions many have been gathered back to fold."


"81 mm zeroed in on targets ringing Bn perimeter.”


"Two platoon with Bn staff moved out of Inasi and made contact with enemy.  Enemy casualties, undetermined."


“Sergeant Watson was wounded on July 24 and received the Purple Heart award on August 1, 1944.”


Second platoon was sent to Inasi Village.  They captured two Japs on the way.  One spoke English and gave a lot of information.  They ran into a group of Japs and killed eight of them.  Corporal Watson was WIA, he was hit in the shoulder.  We heard that over in "D" Company 1st Lt. Vandervort (a veteran), 2nd Lt. Long, Sgt. Ray Eubanks and one other was killed. 



25 July 1944



"Lt. Russell left with 20 men to patrol Mandori.  Five ambushes within 1000 yards radius of our perimeter were set.  Nips were up a bit earlier and had a ambush waiting for Lt. Mitchel about 800 yards from C.P.   Three Japs killed; we had no casualties."


"One Jap killed by Lt. Gifford.  300 yards outside perimeter."


"One Jap prisoner brought in by "D" Company outpost."


"Platoon of "E" Company under 81 MM barrage, charged position near where Lt. Mitchell was ambushed."


"Mitchell’s patrol hit Nips.  Killed two no casualties."


"D" Company sent two squads under Lt. Giford to make reconnaisance North West of Battalion area."  


"Barge came in with more rations."


"Due to proximity of fairly heavy patrols to our perimeter, extra alertness is called for.  It is remembered two Jap prisoners said Col. Shimusu’s Det. was attacking Inasi our 1st night here, and it was called off for some unknown reason.  Our strength to within 50 was known by Japs ten days ago, as this prisoner related our strength."


"Lt. Russell’s patrol returned.  No contact."


"Lt. Gifford’s patrol fired at three- results unknown."


"D Company 60 MM mortars zeroed in on targets ringing our perimeter."


"Score Japs killed 183  Prisoners  24   Our lossess 9 killed 15 wounded."


"Two ambush parties moved out, contacted enemy and returned.”


Orders are now that there will be no patrols go out more than one thousand yards from our perimeters.  Luck was with "D" and "E" Companies.  They could have been wiped out.  Platoons certainly could have been lost.  Our units were so scattered that when one got in trouble the others were too far away to aid them.  The "E" Company platoon was cut off and surrounded.  The only other unit within miles was their own 1st platoon under 2nd Lt. Joe M. Whitsom.  He was ordered to go to their relief.  He had his own problems.  In attempting to go to the relief of Captain Samuel Smith and 1st Lt. Ben Luscombe, he was ambushed.  Only their high degree of training saved both platoons.  "E Company spent the night surrounded until, thankfully, the enemy withdrew the next morning.  This was true of "D" Company.  When they needed help there was none available.  Our command never seemed concerned with reserves here or, as circumstances will show,  later on.



26 July 1944



"Co. C.O.’s meeting.  Five ambushes placed.  Two "D" Co., 2 "E" Co., 1 Hq. Co.  All within 1000 yards of C.P."


"Artillery barrage put on hill near "F" Company position.  One platoon will attack when barrage lifts."


"F" Company reports no results on attack."


"Firing heard from our ambush close by."


"Barge in; Evacuated one sick, one Jap prisoner.  No supplies needed.  None received."


"Password; Jungle Jitney till 0900 hr. 27 July."




 Quiet today.




27 July 1944



"Lt. Grant’s patrol, one sec L.M.G. went to Doeai with native guide to contact forty reported Nips  Native---(unreadable)---."


"Lt. Cole and Kittleson of E Company left for Alamo Jungle school.  It called for capable, fearless men to make missions of great danger, after completion of course."


"Barge in with rations, ammo., and Adjutant.  O’s and EM who did good job in present operation may be promoted, if T.O. opening available.  Col. Jones requested 6th Army to reduce our rotation quota for June and July, to off-set casualties of this operation, and thus maintain combat efficiency."


"F" Company patrol reports  meeting enemy patrol of twelve (86.4-54.8).  No details yet.


"Lt. Grant’s patrol returned. Sighted approx. twenty Japs.  Killed ten, wounded some.  No casualties."


"Wire repair party left C.P. to check broken line.  Sighted three, killed three, 250 yards west of C.P."


"F" Company patrol checked at 1230 hr., killed four 500 yards East of Co. area; not armed.  Three Formosans captured."


"Sgt. Morris, "E" Company saw two Japs, killed two.  Both had rifles and grenades."


"Lt. and runner took walk to native garden 600 yards S.W. of Battalion C.P.  Sighted six Japs.  Killed six.  Japs armed with two rifles, pistols, grenades, and full field equipment."


"Col. Jones arrived at Inasi."


Sgt. Baker took a patrol across the garden today and ran into approximately twelve Japs.  Baker withdrew to water hole.  The enemy deployed on the ridge on the east side of the garden facing us on Hill 395.  2nd Lt. Homer “Ike” Collins, Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion was reinforcing our platoon with his LMG platoon.  They fired a lengthy barrage at the enemy.  Lt. Ball took two squads to the water hole and up the incline to the top of the ridge.  The enemy had moved back and taken up positions on the reverse slope.  The company sent us a 60 mm mortar squad.  They put sixteen rounds on the target.  We assaulted with Sgt. Wuertz's  2nd squad leading the assault.  Four Japs were killed in the assault, four or five others had already been killed, and three were captured.  The prisoners all claimed “me Taiwan.”  We were dubious, but they probably were.  The Japs often made labourers march in front of them to draw fire.  One of the prisoners looked like he was about twelve years old.  He was very upset and sobbing.  He kept trying to tell something about Taiwan.  We finally decided that one of those killed was his older brother, and they were Taiwan.  From the position of the body the brother was killed in the initial contact with Baker’s patrol.  This led us to believe that the Jap party probably had four labourers with them, and they were marching them in front with the brother probably leading the trail.  The Japs and one labourers were killed. 

Unless you’ve been there you really don’t fully understand General William T. Sherman’s statement that “war is hell.”



28 July 1944



 "Password ‘till 0900 hr.  29 July-  Bouncing Betty."


"D" Company patrol left for vicinity of Doeia, to investigate area of Jap contact yesterday."


"E" Company patrolled native areas between Inasi and "F" Company C.P. Hq. Co. patrol set two ambushes 1000 yards North from Battalion C.P."


"An "F" Company patrol killed three Japs, 1000 yards North of Co. area (82.05-53.0)."


"Col. Jones, after inspecting Battalion defenses, left for Inasi."


"C.O. 3rd Bn. 158th Inf. paid a visit to Col. Britten.  His base is at Menggari,  and our areas are adjacent.  Radio communication methods between our two units were effected, and a thrust line system set up as messages may be in the clear.  If either unit is to (use) Artillery, a check will be made to see if other Bn. is clear of area.  Info. pertinent to each  other will also be transmitted, as to patrols, enemy activity, etc.  Grid lines 60 is dividing line between our areas and Bn C.P.’s.  This has been our first contact.  Task Force has coordinated the two Regiments, 503 and 158th, who, in return have delegated responsibilities down to BN’s."


"This has been our quietest day yet."


"Score now:  Japs killed 213  Prisoners 26.  Our losses 9 killed, 15 wounded.  The alternatives left to Col. Shimuzu and his remaining force are

A.  Attempt infiltration to the coast to be evacuated by barge. 

B.  Stay in hills and subsist as a unit as long as possible. 

C.  Make a final suicidal attack on one of our garrisons."

Considering the diminishing activity of the last few days, the latter alternative may be in the minds of the Japs.  The prisoners we captured 5 days ago, out of 219 Reg't Hq, said the Japs had planned an attack on Inasi the day the 2nd Bn arrived here and then cancelled it for some unknown reason.  These nights, the moon gives excellent light till 2400 hr and are ideal for the favored  Jap night attacks.  Their approach march down out of the hills could be made by moonlight, and our positions hit in complete darkness when the moon goes down.  We are ready, and that would far better end to hostilities than hunting them down in the hills."



"The regiment will set up a permanent camp at Namber Drome revetment area, where the 2nd Bn bivouaced its first night on Noemfoor.  The Regiment is all there now with the exception of 2nd Battalion, and H Company which will stay at Menupuri, where it has kitchen and camp set up, a security for a radar station.  The 2nd Battalion should be relieved sometime within the next week because one of the Bn’s that will have its camp set up at Namber by then.  Bg. General Patrick, Cyclops task force C.O. desires the 503 top set up a model camp at Namber."


 "Camp settled down for night."



29 July 1944



"Five patrols of 1 sq ea went out for day "D" Company sent sq to gardens 1500 yds N.W. of Bn Area.  "E" Co. sent 1 sq to hill at (86.0-54.4) to watch the surrounding gardens.  Bn intelligence sect led a 10 man patrol to range 1500 yds N and N.W. of Bn area.  The native gardens are mainly coming under our security because the Japs are short food, and native yams and herbs provide practically all their food.  The weather has been warm and dry, for a change.  The last few days and the Japs need water."


"D" Co. patrol under Sgt. Roberts saw 5 Japs, killed 3 at (86.7-56.8) including 1 Cpl. Only armed with grenades."


"Password till 0900 hr Sugar Daddy."


"No. of serviceable weapons and amount of ammo sent to Reg’t S-4.  Info to go Task Force."


"1  Wire party from "F" Co. is coming out to check our lines, which have been cut by Japs again."



"One platoon left to set ambush.  Contacted enemy and returned.”


Quiet. Cooked biscuits today.  Still drawing D rations.  This is getting pretty tiresome out here.  We are filthy.  Everyone is pretty edgy due to boredom.

Bn. S-1 Journal:  13:00

 "F" Company patrol saw two killed one, 600 yards E of their C.P. on main trail.  Superior pvt medic’s unarmed."


"Sgt. Roberts patrol, "E" Company, saw 3 killed 1, of foraging party at (86.4-55.0).  1430 hr.  Sgt. Roberts patrol contacted about 20 Japs vicinity of (85.0-55.0) with a wood-pecker.  Killed 1, wounded others, one of which was killed by wire repair party.  No other patrol contacted during the day.  Score:  Japs killed 127, Prisoners 30.  Our losses 9 killed; 15 wounded."


"Dysentery is claiming mounting numbers at Inasi and after a close check the natives are believed to be a contributing factor.  Except for water parties and food groups, the natives will be excluded from our bivouac area;  They must pass through for the above 2 necessities.  All drinking water is drawn from lister bag guarded by a medic, and police and field sanitation are being checked closely."


"Tomorrow morning, Co. Ex.O’s will go to Namber to clear up all paper work that has been accumulating, and lay out Co areas, when the Reg’t C.O. allocates Base area at Namber Revetment Area.

Tuesday, August 1st, "F" Co will be relieved by 1 Co, and 2nd Bn at Inasi less "E" Co will be relieved Friday Aug. 4th.  On being relieved 2nd Bn units will move to Namber to set up permanent camp.  All our equipment is due from Dobodura any day now."










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