13 - 19 AUGUST 1944




13 August 1944




"F" Co will be resupplied by air today.  White smoke grenades designate drop-area.” 


F Company was completely immersed in dense rain forest.




Fr Powers, Catholic Regiment Chaplain is out with "G" Co. wherever the fighting has been the heaviest, there the Chaplains have been found.  They have used planes, barges and treks thru the jungle to get from one of our units to another.  Chaplain will have Services at Regiment, 1430 hr, and a Catholic Chaplain is flying from Kamiri for 1400 hr mass. 


Score:  foe Bn:  Japs killed 253, Captured 54  Our losses:  no change.


Artillery harassing fire scoured Jap area all last night -  8 rounds per hr.  The cub observation plane received heavy small arms fire from Japs.  Nip prisoners say they used to fear the Cub overhead more than the Bombers, because Artillery always followed.


The Bn disposition is as follows:  "F" Co at approximately (84.0-53.5)  Patrolling area.  They will stay out till enemy group now contacted S of Hill 380 is wiped out.  Hq Co 1 LMG platoon and 81 MM mortar   platoon attached to 1st Bn vicinity N of Warsa and Menoekwari.  Rest at Namber.  "D" Co at Namber Drome in perimeter defense.  "E" Co at Namber in perimeter defense, will daily patrol E of Reg’t area to check on any Jap breakthrough in this direction.  We are turning a large sick call, because of tropical Dermatitis (jungle rot) infection from coral cuts and dysentery.  Heat and rugged country occasions fatigue that lowers the units strength, but does not show on the sick book.


Only isolated contacts with Japs during the day.


"A" Co hit a large Jap force about 1000 yds S of hill 380.  The 2nd Bn LMG platoon is supporting the 1st Bn in that area.

I took a ten man patrol cross country heading east from the trail.  Hill 395 should be out there in the wilderness about a mile away.  According to the map there was no trail closer than the one we were on.  In fact this trail we were on was the only north-south trail south of Namber-Inasi trail shown on the map other than the coastal trails paralleling the east and west coasts  The Hill 390 which we sought was south of the Namber-Inasi trail at coordinates (84.6-52.5).  After we crossed several lower hills we approached and climbed a hill dominating that area. This had to be Hill 395.  This hill would have made an excellent defensive position, except there was no water.  We could find no signs of humans ever being in the area.  I reached for my compass to shoot an azimuth due west to follow back to the trail.  To my sudden horror I realized that my lensatic compass was in its pouch on my pistol belt which was with my webbing and musette bag.  What a fool stunt, sheer carelessness!  In these forest we could easily become lost without a compass.  With great apprehension I asked the boys if anyone had a compass.  They too had left their field equipment back with the company.  Jim Bradley spoke up, and said "I do!"  He produced a bright and shiny watch compass.  I could have hugged his neck.  We headed due east and struck the trail.  The company was about a hundred yards south of the point where we hit the trail.  Both Jim and his compass survived the war.



14 August 1944




Lone Jap killed outside perimeter N end of strip.


F Co is moving to summit of Hill 390.  All high ground is being in vicinity of Jap force, by Regt’l units.


F Co checked in by phone; At hill 390, no contacts.


A Jap prisoner.


A Jap prisoner taken by 1st Bn said Shimuzu had given permission to his troops to eat human flesh.  The prisoner in question had a heart and liver in his pack.   As the Japs lose men, they had been cutting meat off the dead bodies.


F Co will move at dawn, south to Menupuri, to join up with A Co.

 “Rabbit hauled us around Noemfoor looking for the moveable Hill 390.”

Our 1st platoon assistant had been having a difficult time.  They had issued him a pair of jungle boots back at Namber.   These were high top canvass boots with rubber sole much like tennis shoes except the tops were much higher covering the calves of the legs.  They were absolutely impractical for the coral terrain.  The coral cut them to pieces.  Our medics were using up all their adhesive tape trying to hold the soles on.  Ball’s were in terrible shape and so were his feet.  Since it was painful to walk he was in a foul humor.  We had a decision to make when the trail split.  All the officers with the exception of Lt. McCaffery felt we were taking the wrong trail.  As commanding officer he overruled us. We hit a more open area and rations and mail were dropped to our company by a liaison plane.  Rations are of no value when you are very thirsty. We needed water.   We were told that we were in the wrong place.  The entire company was thirsty, exhausted and edgy.  The message that we were on the wrong hill completely confused him and an officers’ conference was called.  When we arrived the CO spread his map on the ground, and asked where are we?  Ball answered "What are you asking us for,  you know everything. "  After we came in from the field and I was still in the hospital, Ball was transferred to "E" Company.  I always felt like this sudden transfer was due to his sharp answer to Lt McCaffery. 

The mail had certainly been joyfully welcomed as it always was, but the dropping of rations and ignoring our urgent request for water angered everyone.  There was no rain during this period, either.  We could always stretch our ponchos when it rained and fill our canteens.





A serious situation has developed. 
Beri-Beri has increased among the men. 
A medical officer is in bad health, and 1st Lt. SHIMO is suffering with malaria. 
Not even a sound of friendly planes. 
It is annoying that enemy planes taking off from KAMIRE DROME and NAMBER DROME seem to increase in numbers. 

When will we be living like human beings again?...............


Source: Diary taken from body of enemy as five Japanese soldiers fell in vicinity of MENUPURI.


15 August 1944




No activities during night.  It is about 6 days since our last night raid.  Disposition of the Bn is same as yesterday, with F Co on its way to Menupuri.  Prisoners captured by our forces containing Col. Shimuzu’s force, say Japs only have about 75 effective left and approx 50 wounded.  They will fight to the finish, inflicting as many casualties as possible.


Lr. Barry with a D Co. sq captured 3 Japs, 2000 yds S.W.of Reg’t C.P.  They played dead in the native gardens.  2 Sgt.’s and a Cpl.



Our Regiment camp site is definitely determined.



As being near Kamiri.  The boat is being unloaded by replacements sent to Regiment from the States.



Regiment is having movie tonight, “Man From Down Under.”

We are moving south.  The hill they wanted us to go to is now well north of our position.  I think it was the hill our ten man patrol went to the first day after we started south.  Our search is over anyhow.  We  are growing desperate for water and the heavy rain forest we are back in makes aerial resupply impossible.  Now it is imperative that we go to the south coast.  Any puddles of water in muddy places in the trail are carefully scooped up with spoons.  Our last clear water was that which we had in our canteens when we left Namber 12 August.

      The company radio tells us that the 1st and 3rd battalions have the main body of the Japs in a trap on the coast.  Shimuzu made a mistake and moved to the south coast.  He probably was forced to do this because of the necessity for a water source and our pressure from the north.  The other major commander was a battalion commander, one Major Mori Shimuzu was the overall commander.  His name is spelled in various ways.  It seems that his name has not been found in Japanese Army records, so no one may ever know the exact spelling.  According to our information he was an old man with a beautiful sabre.

In speaking of the company radio above whereas previously wire was spoken of we were now on radio alone.  Sound powers wire was strung from Namber to Inasi.  With EE8 telephones this was within range.  The distance was about twelve miles and about a fifteen mile range could be expected.  When we left the "I" company position at Hill 390 we strung wire for the first couple of days until our wire supply was exhausted.




16 August 1944




No change during the night.  Fresh food brought up with our equipment is being shuttled down to Nabmer.  Fresh eggs; steaks, and various cuts of meat.  Even though the men are fatigued, morale is high.  Good chow is the answer, pluss good troops.  They will accept any hardship but need good chow.


Disposition of Bn troops remain the same.


We are still moving south.  The country is changing.  There is a lot of smaller vegetation, i.e., no huge hardwood trees.  We are out of the rain forest.  Visibility is generally good.  We can now be resupplied by air.  We pass an old bivouac area where "C" Company had a fire fight.  In answer to our pleas for water around noon a liaison plane came over and dropped us K-rations.  It was said a various times by some of our men that they hated the supply personnel more than they did the Japs.  The crowning blow was yet to come.  After a radio conversation with the pilot expressing our dire need of water the plane left promising to return with water.  Sure enough in about one hour here he came.  Making a low pass out came the containers...K-rations!!!  Fortunately we were now only about one mile north of Menupuri.  Due to the poor shape of our troops, Red LaVanchure was sent on with some of those in the best physical condition to Menupuri.  The water party returned about 1700 hr with five gallon cans of water.  After satisfying our thirst we ate all we wanted.  We did have plenty of K-rations.  We bivouaced here for the night in a flat, grassy area with scattered small trees.  Life was great again.  Out in the wide open spaces where the breezes blew, no pigs and animals scurrying around all night, and best of all with our thirst and hunger satisfied, we were happy.



17 August 1944




Colonel Jones, in cub plane, spotted 9 Japs 5 miles off shore in a native canoe.  P.T. boat was called in and took prisoners.


Units of the 1st Bn, supported by 2nd Bn LMG plat and a 81 MM mortar platoon drove the remaining organized Jap resistance on the beach at Warsa and Papriki, and wiped it out.  Many Jap officers were among the killed and captured, but Col. Shimuzu has not been located yet.  84 Japs were killed or captured, and we sustained 2 wounded.


Lt McCaffery ordered me to take the 1st platoon to Cape Aikar which was a couple of miles to our west on the coast of the island.  He took the rest of the company on to Menupuri.  A Jap defensive position was reported to be at Cape Aikar.  We hit the coast about a mile below the village and had to locate it.  After a patrol located it we moved quietly back up to it.  It was a large village with the thatched huts built on stilts out over the water.  A boardwalk led from the shore out to the huts.  We had to climb down cliffs to reach the village.  This was about 1230 hr.  As we cautiously approached the village we reached a point where we were still concealed but had a good view of the village.  About half a dozen men came along the board walk from the huts to the shore.  All were in native attire except the lead man who wore Japanese Army trousers, a U.S. Khaki shirt, a U.S. fatigue cap and carried a U.S. M-1 Carbine.  He drew our close scrutiny.  Was he a Jap or a native?  As he came closer it became evident that he was a barefooted native.  Another strange thing was noted when we confronted them.  There was no clip in his carbine.  As we approached the group they became very apprehensive and seemed ready to break and run at the sight of our heavily armed platoon.  We made friendly signs, and the leader regained his courage.  It was evident he was an important chief.  The Army did not give away carbines, even though empty, to anyone who was not a VIP.  “Nippon” had been here, but they had moved up the coast.  There was no evidence of a large group having been here, so we thought a small group of stragglers had come by.  They chief was incensed that they had been stealing his papaya.  Evidently there was a garden nearby.  He was so proud in showing off his carbine that he could hardly contain himself.  He kept saying “piggy”, raising his carbine, and saying “bang! bang!”  He and his entourage headed inland for the forest evidently to hunt “piggies,” because as long as we could hear him he was still yelling “piggy, bang! bang!”

After we were satisfied that there were no organized Jap units in this area we started for Menupuri.  We were moving along the top of cliffs about 150-200 feet tall.  There was a narrow. dry reef at the base of the cliffs.  At a bend we could see a fairly large cave opening a few feet above the reefs.  We worked down a steep draw to the mouth of the cave.  We approached this opening with great caution.  Just as we entered the cave all hell broke loose.  A horde of bats came out in a cloud that practically filled the cave entrance.  They kept pouring out in what seemed to be an unending blanket.  After some time they were all gone.  Somewhat shaken we moved along the reef.  After a bit the tide started to rise, and we were soon wadding in water several feet deep.  The cliffs were sheer with no place to scale them.  After some time the cliffs receded gradually, and we were able to climb up a low embankment to dry land.  We went on into Menupuri without further incident.  We joined the rest of the company who had been assigned the defense of an air warning unit.  We were not placed on the perimeter but within the perimeter as the reserve.  We dug in where the tents of the Army Airforce personnel were located.  They had tents and a regular mess.  We had foxholes and K rations.

 This afternoon "A", "C", and part of "B" Companies were banzied by 70 Japs on the coast east of us.  The Japs obliged them by charging across the open beach in what was a real banzai to end it all by dying for the Emperor.

 Late this afternoon a hard rain set in.  The men of the AW unit let us, the 1st platoon , come into their pyramidal tents.  The mess sergeant even invited us to eat with them.  About 1900 I was ordered to report to the tent which housed the 1st battalion headquarters.  I was to move my platoon out pronto to the north about a mile and a half.  They were afraid any remaining Japs would move north.  We were to move to a trail intersection and block any enemy movements.  We were underway in a short time.  It was raining hard and pitch dark.  They told me sound power wire was laid by the trail.  We followed the trail by holding on the wire and letting it run through our hand.  Each man held onto the back of the man’s belt in front of him.  The going was slow and laborious because of the slippery, narrow, up and down trail.  The projecting coral rocks caused much stumbling and cursing.  After slipping and sliding for a long, long time we began a long, steep ascent.  When we got to the ridge top we felt this had to be the tall hill overlooking the trail junction.  We placed the men along the ridge by feel.  Then we sat under our ponchos, soaked to the skin, in a driving rain, with a brisk wind blowing, and thought we were freezing to death.  We could hear teeth chattering above the wind and rain noise.  We had been so  smug in the AW’s tents back at Menupuri while the rest of the company endured the rain in their foxhole back at Menupuri.  We’d give anything to change with them now.




18 August 1944



  Battalion S-1 Journal:  “18 August
1800 F Co is leaving Menoekwari this morning, and will arrive at Namber about 1130 hr.  The 2nd Bn will be intact with Namber Drome with exception of 1 LMG plat and 81 MM Mortar platoon still attached to 1st Battalion .
1200 F Co returned.  Their only casualty is Lt. Calhoun, wounded slightly in the buttock by sniper.
1800 Unloading of boat at Kamiri is being continued.  No indication yet when Reg’t. will move up there.
1800 All organized Jap resistance has been cleared in the area patrolled by 503rd with the exception of 20 Japs reported near Menoekawri.  1st Bn is investigating that.”

After one of the most miserable nights in my memory, dawn finally came.  We discovered a taller hill dominated our ridge.  A saddle connected them.  Moving across the saddle and to the top of the taller hill we could see the trail intersection in the valley below.  This valley was clear of trees and underbrush.  The grass was thick and about two feet tall.  I left the 3rd squad under the new squad leader, Beardsley, and took the rest of the platoon to the trail junction.  We killed a Jap here with a good watch.  We found a rusty saber, one of our ponchoes, one of our shelter halves, some of our K rations, a U.S. Navy issue spoon, a rifle belt with pouches, and a bayonet.  It was evident that another Jap was around who was armed with a rifle.  The hill where Beardsley’s squad was located extended along the valley  we were in as a ridge which was heavily wooded on top.  The wooded area consisted of small trees and brush forming a dense thicket.  Leaving Ball with the two squads Cpl Todd and I went back up the hill to Beardsley’s location.  Todd and I worked along the ridge through the heavy brush and vines.  It was hard going.  After we had gone about forty yards I was shot by a Jap at very close range.  I was stooped over pushing through the brush and had just stepped on a vine to push it down when, Wham!  Simultaneously I felt the heat of the muzzle blast on the back of my right hand with which I was holding the vine and a sharp pain in my right calf.  The bullet went in just posterior to the right hip joint, passed through the buttock, and exited near the spine of a vertebrae. My instant thought was this is the Jap with the rifle.  This was short lived, because another bang and a bullet seemed to ruffle my eyebrow.  Then another shot sounded.  There were at least three riflemen in here.  I was carrying a Thompson Submachine gun.  The Jap who shot me made a grab for my legs.  After hitting him with the butt of the TSMG I made a dash through the brush to the left and emerged into the open within about fifteen or twenty feet.  I hit the ground here behind a large boulder and asked Todd if he was alright.  He answered yes and wanted to know what happened.  He was only a few feet behind me but had been unable to see anything.  I told him and said I was going to head straight down the hill to the platoon and for him to go back up the ridge to Beardsley’s position.  We both got to our destinations safely.  Soon we heard firing on the ridge.  We learned that a patrol from the 1st battalion, I believe, was coming up the ridge toward the place where Todd and I had been.  They heard the firing and took up defensive positions.  The brush ended and they were in the open.  Soon after they heard the firing five Japs emerged from the bush moving toward them.  They killed them all.   



19 August 1944



0900 hr


   55 of Hq’s LMG and 81MM Mortar platoons men will report back to Namber.  Their work with the 1st Bn well executed, is completed
0800 hr


   Day will be utilized for care and cleaning of weapons and improvement of the area.








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