18/19 February

"Night on Bailey's Hill"





Bill Calhoun
& Paul Whitman


 18/19 FEB 1945




Bill Bailey

I am left with trying to reconstruct the plan of that night, the 18th,  from memory and what notes I could find. As best I can recollect, Lt. Browne, S-3 of 2nd Battalion came to my Command Post in a bombed out building on the Cheney Ravine end of the "Long Barracks" about 11:00 hours that day and instructed me to take and hold the two small hills about 300 yards toward Cheney Ravine.  I made a reconnaissance, then divided the company into 2 platoons, since we were decimated by casualties.  I put Lt. Bill Calhoun in command of the left flank hill attacking force,  while I took the right hill attacking force.

We carried the two hills by about 1400-1500 hours.  As soon as the men dug in, I sent every man but a few back to supply, with instructions to hurry over and hurry back with all the ammo they could carry.   It was lonesome out there with a skeleton crew, because in case of a counterattack with much force we would not have been able to hold it.  Fortunately that did not occur and we were soon back together again with plenty of small arms ammo, frag and W.P. grenades, and 60 mm mortar rounds.

The day was waning by then. As we approached the twilight, but not there, we heard the firing start up on the company's left flank where Al Turinsky's "D" Company was busy.  I do not recall any order to tie the defence with Turinsky and seem to think that each company was to set up strong points on the objective assigned and to hold,  since the distance between strong points was so short and the absence of cover so universal out there that everyone could see everyone else.  We had a good idea where Al Turinsky was and the firing got our attention so we would not be firing into them.

I'm not sure when the Banzai attack got going.  Seems to me it was about 2300 hours, when we began hearing them whooping and hollering down at the ocean shoreline.  This became organized,  into one voice yelling for a few seconds,  then the crowd roaring Banzai! Banzai! Banzai!  It went on for maybe an hour or so and then the fire fight began.  I'm not sure if the firing started with "D" Co. or "F" Co. but it was soon all along that front.  The Japs were soon very close to us and I never heard so many grenades go off before, or since.  The Nips had plenty and we had plenty and to this day I feel the hair stand up on the back of my neck when some child fires a cap pistol near me.  It sounds so much like a grenade cap going off.

It was well toward noon the next day before the situation was under control in our area and one could move about without getting shot at.  We learned about ten that Al had been killed and "D" Company pretty badly mauled.  We were happy when Browne pulled "F" Co. back to the vicinity of the old Post Exchange-Post Theatre for some rest.  I'm not sure but seem to remember that we counted 135 Japs dead in and around our position."

The Japanese made their only sustained effort to recapture Topside.  They had held their better trained troops, the marines, in bombproof shelters in the Grubbs Ravine area and had sent two forces up to take Topside.  The north force struck "F" Company and the south force struck "D" company.  I think they held their poorer trained troops in defensive positions since it takes less training to defend than to attack.

We still had seen no movement from the other half of our company. Bailey's narrative explains why. They were still having their own problems.






 "Tropical" jumped on Corregidor at the ripe old age of 15.  He survived Corregidor and celebrated his 16th birthday in the hills of Negros. When his age was discovered, he was swiftly sent home.