- 2 -
 

 

During the first week the infantry engaged in patrol action, feeling out the enemy positions.  The attached machine guns of Battery D, were engaged with the maintenance of the perimeters all of their respective Battalions.  On 8 April, the 2 platoon, commanded boy 1 LTC over a reedy, was subjected to fire from a Japanese 76 MM NT Aircraft gun.  This weapon fired intermittently during the morning of eight and 9 April.  It’s arrest the positions of the 2 battalion until neutralized by 4.2 mortar fire.  The 2 platoon suffered one casualty during the engagement, PFC Cal rich, largely wounded in the right arm.  The 1 platoon was with the assault battalion during the first 14 guys of action, the 2 platoon with the 2 battalion, 500 and should have a CT was held in reserve.

On the 11th the 3d Battalion, 503d RCT made contact with the enemy on the ridge from which the 76mm gun had been firing.  Cpl. Gonko with his section of the 1st Platoon was committed to deliver preparatory fire for the 3d battalion.  During this firing the 1st Platoon neutralized one 20mm gun and three 13mm machine guns.  The hill was captured and positions were dug, only to be lost during the afternoon.  The ridge was retaken the next day and the 3d Battalion pushed forward toward the Malago River.  The 1st platoon delivered supporting fire during the entire advance.

On 17 April; G and I companies, and 3d Battalion, with Cpl. Gonko’s section; assaulted and took “Purple Heart Ridge.”  The action in this assault was very costly to the infantry.  And the ensuing action Pvt. Hubert C. Hunt was shot and killed while feeding a .50 cal machine gun, the position was also subjected to enemy mortar each time that personnel left their fox holes.

 

 

- 3 -
 

 

Pfc.  Earl Gibson was wounded same date; when enemy mortar fire fell on a hut in which a machine gun had been set up, his condition was serious enough to demand evacuation after nightfall.  T/5 Benny Matulaitis, medic attached to the first platoon, distinguished himself in his actions during the encounter.  He, without regard for his personal safety, went to the aid of the wounded; through an unpatrolled ravine which was swept by enemy fire, for this act of heroism he has been recommended for the Silver Star.

After the ridge was secured, the enemy attempted night infiltration, during the night Pfc.Thomas J. McCawley was accidentally shot by Pvt.  James R. Iamm who mistook him for by Nip.  Pfc. Douglas F. Treem injured himself with a knife as he was attempting to give McCauley first aid.

The first casualty caused by our own booby traps occurred when Pfc. Thomas Holy Elk Face, Battery B, 462nd Parachute Field Artillery Bn, tripped a trap set by members of the 2d Platoon on 17 April.

On the 20th the 2d Platoon relieved the 1st Platoon, commanded by 2d Lt. Ettore A. Berangeli, the section under Cpl. Gonko remained in position with G company holding “Purple Heart Ridge.”  The 2d Battalion 503d RCT resumed the assault.  On 21 April, Pvt. George Allen, 2d platoon, engaged two Japanese machine guns in a duel, returning burst for burst until one gun was neutralized and the other forced to evacuate position.  On 23 April another machine gun, a 13mm, was destroyed by the 2d Platoon.


 

 

- 4 -
 

 

The Howitzer sections were given their first opportunity to display their proficiency when they were called upon to deliver supporting fire for G Company, 2d Battalion.

One 75mm howitzer was employed for this mission.  2d Lt.  Arvin Bell acted as Forward Observer, with G Company, and moved out with his party on 21 April.  G Company had been assigned the mission of holding the northern sector old the Malago River line.  Our squads were alternately withdrawn from the machine gun platoons, to whom they had been attached for the mission.  Supporting fire was delivered until 9 May when the Battery moved to the right flank.  During this firing, 1350 1350 rounds of ammunition were expended.  The Battery was commended by Capt. W. B. Verrel, Battalion S-3, for the accurate and effective fire delivered.

On 22 April Captain Daniel J. Doherty, Battery Commander, was hospitalized with yellow jaundice and 1st Lt. Jesse B. Gandee assumed command of the Battery.  The same evening Prvt. Charles R. Nygard was short and instantly killed by T/4 Charles A. Davis.

From the day committed, Cpl. Gonko’s section had been engaged in a firefight with the Japanese who were on commanding ground across the Mulago River.  The fire of the enemy was accurate and concentrated.  The position they held warranted the cost of holding the ground, the point that they held was the key between the right sector of the 503d RCT and the left of the 185th Infantry Regiment, of the 40th division.  During the seven days they occupied this position three men were wounded, Cpl. Gonko, 25 April; Pfc. John K Farnet, 26 April; Pfc. Robert Johns on the 24th.


 

 

 

- 5 -
 

The 2d Platoon, in the meantime, had been delivering supporting fire to the 2d Battalion.  The Japanese based all offensive action on infiltration methods.  As a result, our troops were forced to adopt a defense of concentrated land mines.  On the 26th, Pfc.  Paul White and Cpl. Elbert A. Cannady were wounded severely when a mine they had installed was detonated by a Nip patrol.  The mine killed one Nip and wounded several others.  Later that night Pfc. Raymond Salters was wounded in the jaw when a Japanese infiltrator set off a”Bouncing Betty”.  The mine killed three Nips and wounded an undetermined number.  The Japs then gave up the idea of infiltrating and laid mortar fire on the ridge until morning, inflicting no additional casualties.

The 3d platoon, commanded by 1st. Lt. Jesse B. Gandee; arrived on 23 April and moved up to the front with the 1st Battalion, 503d RCT.  They were committed on the 26th in support of C Company, on the extreme left sector.  Lt. J. B. Gandee, acting Battery Commander, was relieved as Platoon Leader by s/Sgt. Thomas E. Pickinpaugh.  On 27 April the 1st. Battalion hit the Japanese defense line, all available machine guns were committed.  It was during this action that Sgt. Russell C. Hemenway was killed when hit by a 76mm shell, the same shell wounded Pvts. Paul Miller, Authur C. Pope, Jack A. Reece, and Joseph E. Peck.  The shell neutralized the entire squad.  Later that day T/5 Daniel J. O’Reilly was wounded by enemy sniper fire while directing the fire of his machine gun.

 

 

 

- 6 -
 

 

S/Sgts. Thomas E. Pickinpaugh and Guy Neal were notified of their promotions to 2d Lt.  These promotions were the first made in the field, by this battalion.  1st. Sgt. James C. Hindman was reduced to Pvt. for misconduct, same date. S/Sgt. Arden Frather was appointed acting 1st Sgt.

The 2d Platoon was busy supporting the assault of the 2d Battalion on fortifications north of Malago River.  A dominating ridge was holding up the assault, .50 Cal machine guns were emplaced and supporting fire was delivered.

It was during this encounter that Private Rafael Braun and T/5 Frederick J Galloway were wounded.  The ridge was taken but could not be held.

On 26 April the third platoon engaged the 76mm gun that had killed Sgt. Hemenway and neutralized it, killing its crew of nine.  This act gave the men of the battery much satisfaction as they felt they had revenged the death of Hemenway.  Pvt. Fred Corbin and was hit in the neck during the firefight and Pvt. William B. Harding was shot through the left wrist and knee.  Cpl. Paul H. Petersen injured his right ankle during this action.

During an air strike, later that afternoon, a Navy Corsair accidentally dropped a 250 lb. bomb near 3d Battalion Headquarters.  Two Filipinos were killed and Cpl. Nick J. Deprancesco and Pfc. Thaddeus J. Stokowski, of the 1st platoon, were wounded.

On 29 April the 2d Platoon delivered supporting fire for the 2d Battalion, this fire was so effective that the Battalion was able to engage the enemy in hand to hand combat before they could fire a round. Pfc. Jesse J. Moore Jr. was slightly wounded shortly after the fire was lifted.

 

 

- 7 -
 

 

Seven replacements joined the batteries on 29 April, they were; Pvts. John T. Layfield, Rudy G. Nazal, John M. Mark, William F. Dunablon, Joseph F Carlquest, Albert Childress Jr. and Rodney R. Robertson.  They were assigned to the machine gun platoon and were in action on 30 April.

Pvt. Paul Hawkins was wounded by sniper fire on the 30th of April.

The assault bogged down during the month of May, the enemy had been driven across the Malago River and they were retreating into the mountains east of Hill 3155 4055.  A few of the enemy held up the advance from well prepared positions and were successful in holding up the advance.

On 3 May; Pfc. Quincy T. Heck, radio operator; attached to 2d Lt. Arvin Bell, F.O., for G Company suffered head wounds when a “Bouncing Betty” was exploded.  The reminding F.O. party was relieved on 5 May and the 3d battalion assumed responsibility for the sector.

On 9 May; Capt. Daniel J. Doherty returned from the hospital and assumed command relieving 1st. Lt.  J. B. Gandee, Battery Executive.  On 10 May, Battery Headquarters was moved with Battery B and Battery C to our new sector of operations, the extreme right sector of the 40th Infantry Div.

The firing battery positions were about 3 miles south of Hill 4055.  The following day, 11 May, the 2d Platoon came up with the 2d Battalion.  The 3d Platoon arrived on 13 May.


 

 

- 8 -

 

Due to the difficult terrain, the machine gun platoons were unable to support the Infantry Battalion which were to be committed in the mountains.  The 2d and 3d machine gun platoons were emplaced to afford perimeters for their respective Battalions.  They were to escort the Filipino pack trains, which were being used to transport rations and supplies up to the companies in the hills and to bring out the dead and wounded.

One attempt at infiltration was made on 2d Battalion Hqs on 14 May.  The 2d platoon killed one Nip and wounded one other who escaped.

As a whole the escort duty was uneventful, occasionally the trains were fired on by enemy snipers.  In one such engagement Pfc. Robert R. Held was wounded in the right hand and thigh, during the action one Japanese 2d. Lt. was killed and three Nips wounded.

On 10 June, Battery Headquarters moved to a new camp area and started setting up camp.  The entire Battery, less the 1st. Platoon, was in garrison 20 June.  The 1st Platoon, 2d. Lt. Guy Neal commanding, were transported to Oriental Negros and garrisoned at Dumaggette.  A reinforced Company, Co. G, of the 3d battalion 503d RCT and the 1st Platoon were to hold that side of the island against a reported five hundred Japanese.  Their mission was not one of assault but that of a mobile reserve which could quickly meet any threat that the Japanese attempted to make.

 

 

- 9 -
 

 

During this operation the Batteries suffered ninety casualties, battle and non battle.  Of this number sixty enlisted men and three officers were hospitalized with yellow jaundice.  Other causes were as follows:

 3 EM Killed in action

22 EM Lightly wounded in action

 2 EM seriously wounded in action

 

 

 

FOR THE BATTERY COMMANDER:

 

 

 

 

/S/

 

JESSE B. GANDEE

1st. Lt.        FA

 

 

 

 

 

 

transcribed by EXO 060408

 

   

 

 

 

 

         

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