JUNE 1945

S

M

T

W

T

F

S

27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
             
24 - 30 JUNE 1945

 

  

 

24 June 1945

 

"Guriellas turned over two women, one a Metizo, one Flip who had been prisoners of Japs. Password blue-Color."

 

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25 June 1945

 

"Patrol to Pico River Valley. 1 Nip KIA (15.9-31.45). 1 Jap KIA (16.55-32.3). Tawain (sic) POW turned over by civilians. 3 day patrol sent to Santiago. Lillian Keller ( Password of the day)."

 
 

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26 June 1945

 

   

"3 day patrol to Santiago, found no Nip. Patrol tp Lulii, 2 Nips KIA. Password - Peasley-Longfield."

"Outpost of the third platoon sent in Filipino messenger that they had sighted two hundred Japs organized and armed. Company commander gathered up 25 men & started to San Pablo to help outpost. Met outpost on way & decided to come in for reinforcements."

The intelligence scouts were sending in reports that a large force of Japs were coming out of the mountains heading our way. We did not know if they would get to the highway or not and kept patrols going in jeeps all night riding the highway. No Japs showed up. The Japs seemed to have stopped at the foothills.

 

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The death of Pvt. Dale C. Kellis of Ohio (SN 35131351) occurs.

Pvt. Kellis is interred at the American Military Cemetery at Manila. The circumstances of his death are presently unknown to the authors.  Refer to Honor Roll Data Card

27 June 1945

 

"3 day patrol returned. 2 Jap KIA, 1 POW at (16.0-31.6). 1 Jap POW, I KIA at (16.0-31.3). Patrol to Paiter Hacienda (14.85-32.7) picked up 2 POW from mayor of Cadiz. 2 POW capt by Gurirllas (sic) at Dainay Bridge turned over to us. Password Lily-Bell."

 
 

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28 June 1945

 

Major Clark, S-3 issues an HISTORICAL REPORT (OPERATIONS) which is directed to the Eighth Army, summarizing the mission of the 503d PRCT since 25 March 1945.  


PHASE X  

"28 June 1945, 1600- Mr. Scott and Mr. Sanford , civilian investigator for U.S. Congress arrived for inspection of Sugar Mills on Islands. every courteousy and convenience extended to them."

   

"6-28-45 2, two day patrol, reported nil activity. Password Wheel-Barrel."

 

Jesse came in to Victorias and confirmed the Jap force sighted 26 June, though by this time the number had grown to about four hundred men. The Japanese had established  headquarters in a large, two story house at San Pablo, located on the east side of the river. This meant that the river would have to be crossed to get to it from our side, but the river was said to be shallow and easy to cross. The Japs were preparing their defenses on sloping ridges several hundred yards west of the house, between their HQ and the road.

He reported that there were good, concealed approaches from both the east,  and the west. The banks of the river were high on our side. There was waist-high grass which could be used for concealment. A force could approach along the river in concealment from the east and the west, and get to the house without coming into direct contact with the dug-in troops.

"F" Company had one  rifle platoon available, Dan Lee's third. One platoon was on bridge duty and another had been used up by now in putting security guards out in the haciendas. We also had one light machine gun platoon and our 60mm mortar platoon. Regiment ordered Bailey to drive the enemy back into the mountains and said that they were sending a unit of Philippine Regulars to reinforce us. We didn't get too excited about the Filipino troops, anticipating they would be as useful to us as guerillas. Our mortar platoon would provide fire support.

 Bailey's plan of attack was that our rifle platoon, under Lt. Dan Lee, reinforced by the light machine gun platoon, would travel by. truck until they were near the river and about a mile east of the hacienda. They would detruck and proceed on foot to the bend of the river, keeping themselves concealed. Once in place they were to set up_a base of fire covering the hacienda. At 1700 hour Lee would open his SCR-536 radio telling the Filipino unit,  who had come in from the west and would be lying in concealment on the other side of the bend, that the mortars would commence firing.  When a smoke round was fired, both rifle units would assault across the river, killing everyone in the house. The machine guns would support this assault and only lift their fire as our troops approached the house.

Before dawn the Filipino unit showed up - one platoon under a Filipino 3rd lieutenant. We had expected at least a company, but it didn't matter. They would not show up anyway. We questioned the Filipino officer about his unusual rank. He explained that he had graduated from the Philippine Military Academy in June 1941. All graduates had to serve one year on probation as a 3rd Lt. before they became regular army and advanced to' 2d Lt.  No one had ever promoted him. We were impressed. It seemed like all the other Filipino officers were colonels.

 

 

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HISTORICAL REPORT (DETAIL)
THE 503D PRCT IN NEGROS

 

HEADQUARTERS

503D REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM

Office of the 5-3

APO 715

                                             28 June 1945.

SUBJECT : 

Historical Report (Operations). Operation 1A - NEGROS (Occidental).

TO     :

 Commanding General, Eighth Army, APO 343.

MAPS   :

Negros 1:50,000, Negros 1:25,000, Negros 1:250,000.

MISSION :

To seize and occupy Northern NEGROS (Occidental); to destroy hostile forces and reestablish civil government.

 

 The 503d Regimental Combat Team was alerted on 25 March 1945 for a probable jump mission vicinity Alicante Airfield, Negros Island, advance to the West and seize and secure Saravia (town), then advance rapidly to the South to effect a junction with the 185th Regimenta1 Combat Team in the vicinity Imbang River Bridge (17.2-10.2)

Preparations began immediately, which included checking, replacing combat equipment and detailed planning for the movement and mission. Plans for the operation were completed and Field Order #10 was distributed to the lower units 5 April 1945. Later in the day orders were received from Headquarters, Eighth Army, canceling the jump mission on the recommendation of the Commanding General, 40th Division to the effect that the target area was clear of enemy. Instead, orders were issued for an airborne movement to Panay Island with subsequent waterborne movement to Negros Island for a mission to be designated by the Commanding General, 40th Division. Applying that portion of Field Order #10 as pertained to an airborne movement, the move of the Regimental Combat Team (less one battalion, reinforced) began on 6 April and was completed on 8 April with a landing at Pulupandan, Negros Island. The First Battalion, 503d Parachute Infantry, C Battery and elements of D Battery, 462d Parachute Field Artillery remained on Mindoro Island as Eighth Army reserves. The Regimental Combat Team then entrucked for motorized movement to assembly area as assigned to by Commanding General, 40th Infantry Division. Primary mission and zone of action was assigned to the Regimental Combat Team and issued on 8 April. (Operations overlay to accompany Field Order #17, dated 8 April 1945, Headquarters, 40th Infantry Division). The mission assigned to the Regimental Combat Team was to seize Division Objective within its zone, destroy all hostile forces encountered and protect the left (N) (flank of the

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29 June 1945

 

"Local patrols, 2 POW brought in by civilians. Password Rolling-Plane (plain)."

"Second platoon with LMG attached & working with Filipino Regulars, attacked a strong point at San Jose. Enemy force estimated to be two hundred strong. Fire fight started at 1700 & lasted for two hours. Enemy had dug in positions and good supply of ammo. After fight 2d platoon withdrew after counting 20 dead & Filipino regulars another 7 dead in their sector. One prisoner was taken."

   

The attack was made by the 3d platoon, I believe. Dan Lee was the 3d platoon leader.

I believe the 2d platoon were out as security guards. The action lasted more like twenty minutes. Had it lasted much longer the main body of the Japs would have gotten involved, and this was not the intent. The intent was a hit and run attack.

 Early this morning the Filipinos showed up, were briefed and given an SCR-536 radio. Both forces left with Jessie and his men acting as guides. Lee detrucked his men at the point that Jessie had recommended. They quietly proceeded and, nearing the river bend, they crawled in the tall grass up to the bank. As they approached they heard laughing and talking. A group of Japs were bathing below them in the foot deep water of the river. As soon as everything was in place Lee opened his radio net. It was 1700 hr. To his great surprise he got an immediate reply, the Filipinos were in place and ready. Lee had the mortars open their barrage. The LMG's and BAR's joined in. They shot down the Japs in the river and shot up the house.    When the smoke round from the 60mm mortar exploded every-one charged down the bank, across the river and the lawn, and into the house.

To the surprise and consternation of our men, the Filipinos beat them into the house and got several sabers and pistols. Lee ordered everyone back to the trucks and thence to Victorias. They had completely by passed the Jap defenses and wiped out the headquarters as planned. The Filipinos arrived back first, having the shortest distance to travel, and our mess fed them. When Dan Lee and his force arrived we found he was the only American casualty. He has suffered a gunshot wound in the left thigh, just as he had on 9 April at Sinaypanan. One of the Filipinos had suffered a gunshot wound in his leg. Lee estimated thirty Japs killed.

 Jessie and his team went back up the next day. The Japs were gone - back to the mountains. Strangely, the Japs had scampered without burying their dead. Jessie counted twenty-seven bodies. I do not remember a prisoner being taken.  If one was taken, it probably would have been the next day when Jessie and his men went there. A laborer might have been hiding there. Bill Bailey had devised a brilliant plan to drive away a far superior force. Dan Lee had performed brilliantly in his command position. The men of both forces had done a superior job.

Unfortunately for "F" Company, though,  we would see Dan Lee no more. He did not return from the hospital, and was sent home directly. We concluded that a second shot in the leg was one shot too many for Lt. Lee.  We would have been glad to have the 3d Lt. and his men operate with us, but we never saw them again. One might think this vindicates some guerrillas, but the Third Lieutenant let us know quickly that they were not guerrillas. They were Philippine Regulars. After seeing them in action we knew it. This was a classic action - well scouted, well planned, and well executed.

The two agricultural experts, M. Scott and Mr. Sanford,  now arrived at Victorias, and I was given the task of seeing to their welfare while they assessed the agriculture facilities in the sector. Much of their time was spent in examining the Victorias Milling Company and several other sugar mills. Mr. Scott was probably fifty years old and a long time employee of the United States Department of Agriculture, with years of experience in the Philippines. Mr. Sanford was probably fifteen years his junior. Their assignment was to assess the damage and estimate how long it would take to get the "bread basket" back into production. The Victorias Milling Company was a small  town mill, and little damage had been done to it,  so operations could begin with little effort.

 Mr. Scott, whom I got to know quite well, was well familiar with the region, and with the social system which had developed there.  It was a throwback in time, and entirely feudal in nature. We had seen as much already and had formed the very same opinion. The planters owned thousands of hectares of land, and with ownership of the land seemed to come the ownership of the laborers who worked it.  Sugar cane was the money crop, and there was no land entitlement except bare self-sufficiency at the mercy of the plantation owners.  It was an ideal climate and they produced two crops a year. Many growers had acquired large coconut groves, rice fields, and other crop lands. These planters, Scott told me, were amongst the richest people in the world. Many planted, vacationed in Europe until harvest time, came home for for harvest time, and started the cycle over again. "When a planter dines in a fine restaurant in Europe," he added, "they take a spoonful of sugar from the sugar bowl and throw it on the floor. This is the international sign of the sugar planter."  After a couple of days their task was completed, and I took them back to Bacolod.

 While we were at Victorias one of the planters, living out in his rural hacienda, offered us his cars. He took us to a large bamboo thicket where some of his employees had recently cut a wide path into the thicket.  Were it not for the path, no one would ever have noticed a corrugated steel building hidden there. It was a sizeable building, and inside it were twelve cars. Most were large, expensive cars. One was sent to Bacolod to serve as a limousine for visiting VIP's.   I believe it was a Packard or a Cadillac.  One was a small, older car,  a Whippet. We were tempted to take this one to Victorias and use it for our own purposes, but RCT had told us that under no circumstances were we to remove any of the other cars, except the limousine they had selected.

 Late one afternoon a wrinkled, gray-headed old Filipino and his ancient wife came up the asphalt, U-shaped drive to the front of the municipal building. He was leading a caribou which pulled a two wheel cart. The old woman was sitting in the cart. They stopped at the entrance, the old woman got out, and the old man pulled out a tightly bound Jap soldier who had been lying on the bed of the cart. In fact the old woman had been sitting on him. They spoke no English, so one of the locals had to interpret their Western Visayan dialect. The old man's nose had almost been severed. The old man said early that morning the Jap had come into their house up in the mountains brandishing a bayonet and demanding food. The old man had refused, and the Jap struck him across the nose with his bayonet. The old man subdued the Jap, bound him up, and they headed for Victorias to turn the Jap over to us.  Fortunately, the old fellow had brought the severed nose with him.

We put the Jap in the city jail and sent the old man and woman to Bacolod for medical treatment.  There, our surgeons and medics sewed the old man's nose back into place, and ultimately sent him back to us by jeep.  The fellow hitched up their caribou and cart, his wife climbed into the cart, and they were last seen headed back for the mountains and home. Like mountain folk everywhere these people were tough.

 

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30 June 1945

 

"Preparation for inspection by task force commander. 2 POW brought in by civilians."
 

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