Japanese Prisoners at Fabrica Lumber Mill

 

 

 

 

 

The Japanese POW's at Fabrica provided their own entertainment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"D" Co. on patrol, Negros, P. I.,  July 1945

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mail Call for Robert C. Roberts, Negros, July 1945.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Grubb and Lt. John Mara relax on Negros, P. I., July 1945.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION   CHRONOLOGY

 
PHASE II PHASE III PHASE IV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHASE IV

9 JULY to 15 AUGUST 1945

 

Phase IV was going to be marked by constant patrolling, many times over a period of several days.  We would, at times, be able to utilize the logging train facilities of the Insular Lumber Company.  Our operations would be conducted east of those mountains towards which we were pushing in Phases I and II.  Some "B" Co Phase IV activity is described later.

 

13 July 1945. "Boarded train . . . . six B-24 bombers dropped their bombs near the train and caused much excitement . . . ."  

(Extract "F" Co. History)

 

From a flat car I remember seeing only 1 bomber and the falling bombs.

"F" Company left FABRICA about 0800 with the entire battalion on a train of multiple type cars.  Some were flat cars and some were box cars. "F" Co was in box cars . . . . We were in a cut several feet deep. There were deep drainage ditches on each side of the roadbed.  The train was stopped when we heard the roar of the approaching flight of B-24's.  Suddenly we heard explosions as the bombs in the stick began hitting and detonating.  I expect they were five hundred pound bombs . . . . I Believe "D" Co. was on flat cars and out of the cut.  They had several men hit by shrapnel.  The chain of bombs crossed the railroad at a 90 degree angle which was fortunate.

Bill Calhoun, F Co.

 

Bill Calhoun was correct in believing that "D" Co. was on flat cars towards the front part of the train.  I remember the incident well and have pictures of "D" Company troopers on the cars.  What an ironic twist of fate it would have been had the planes been flying parallel to the train and unloaded along the entire length of the 2nd Bn. after all we had been through.

 

14 July 45: "Lt. Calhoun with first and second platoons and one section of machine guns, plus one section of mortars, left by train to recon BUGANG LUMBER CAMP. Second platoon went to MALAPASOC area to patrol that area, and first platoon took the track to the east of the lumber camp.  Second platoon received message that four Japs were in a civilian home.  Approaching the house, Lt. Turpin was killed by a sniper.  Patrol returned to camp at 1400”

(Extract - "F" Co. History) 

 

Regimental History, Phase X, 14 July 1945.

“Patrol from "E" Co. ran into Japs. Lt. Turpin ("F" Co.) killed; two enlisted men ("D" Co.) drowned while crossing swollen river." 

 

This is the regimental account of the  last man killed in "F" Company during WWII.

 

 15 July 45:  "Lt. Gifford. Lt. Watkins and ten men returned to the perimeter at 0730. At 0900 the 1st platoon (Author’s comment-we were back in action again after replacements had arrived) under Lt. Mara and the 3rd plt., under Lt. Watkins, crossed the HIMAAGON RIVER, and proceeded into the S BAGO area.  The 1st platoon in the lead surprised two Japs and opened fire but the enemy escaped.  The patrol returned at 1700."

(Extract - "D" Company History) 

"Regimental History, Phase X, 24 July 1945, 1300

Meeting of the staff and Bn. CO's including (PA), with discussion of troop displacements and enemy situation and possibilities with view to liquidating of remaining estimated 2,500-3,000 enemy. First activity to begin vicinity of SAN CARLOS, FABRICA, and ESCALANTE." 

 

Bill Calhoun is brief, to the point, and in my view correct.

 

“This indicates a very poor estimate based upon the 40th Div G-2.  In fact, this poor estimate had resulted in the campaign being declared over and the 40th pulling out and leaving us to ‘mop up’. Actually, almost 7,000 Japanese in organized units surrendered after the fighting had stopped.  We are fortunate that General Kono did not realize that he outnumbered the force facing him by two to one or better odds.  We might have seen one huge "banzai".

 

The next 21 days were to be spent patrolling in force the river valleys whose rivers flowed east and west and emptied into the HIMAAGON RIVER, which flow�ed north and emptied into the VISAYAN SEA. Small roving groups of Japanese were to be encountered with some small fire fights but no evidence of organ�ized resistance.  It seems as if the Japanese were trying to keep out of our way although sometimes not successfully.  There were instances where Jap bivouac areas were discovered and ambushes set up into which small Jap forces fell. Our patrols were of both a reconnaissance nature and a combat nature with the latter conducted in force for several days at a time.  Field bivouac areas, from which our patrols operated, had been set up at BUGANG and MALAPASOC.

 

The occurrences which history records on 6th and 9th August, perhaps the most significant days of the Pacific War, were not mentioned in the “D” Company diary. On those days, the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki had no immediate meaning for us.

 

12 Aug 45: The Co. remained in their bivouac area await�ing resupply. Local patrols were sent out but no enemy contacted.  Resupply was dropped at 1600. Co. spent the night in the same perimeter. The 2nd plt. returned to the Co. area at 1930."

(Extract "D" Co. History) 

13 Aug, 45: "The Co. moved out at 1800 with instructions to contact "F" Co. patrol on RR track at DAINAY BRIDGE.  Contact was made at 1400 and Co. set up perimeter along the tracks."

(Extract "D" Co. History)

 

The 1800 departure was an obvious time error and probably should have been 0800. I mention it to illustrate, once again,  the mistakes that can be made in recording history by those actually involved in making it.

 

13 Aug 45: "One squad from second platoon with eight engineer attached reported back to company CP at 1600 hr.  Two groups of Japs were encountered with the patrol killing two and wounding an unknown number of others."

(Extract "F" Co. History )

 

14 Aug 45: "The 1st platoon under Lt. Mara moved SE toward HIMAAGON RIVER to contact any enemy desiring to surrender.  No contacts were made. The 2nd platoon, under Lt. Ward left the Co. area to meet a squad of "F" Co. and a squad of engineers in the SANTIAGO area. No enemy contacted.

 (Extract “D" Co. History)

 

15 Aug 45: "PEACE DECLARED and all patrols called in. The 2nd plt returned to the Co. area and the remainder of the Co. remained at the DAIN-AY BRIDGE awaiting transportation."

(Extract "D" Co. History) 

 

Regimental History, Phase X, 15 Aug 45:

"President Truman announced that U.S. has accepted Japan's peace terms." 

 

This entry should have read that "Japan has accepted our surrender terms".

 

16 Aug 45: "The remainder of the Co. returned to MALAPASOC and went into GARRISON."

 (Extract "D" Co. History)

Regimental History, Phase x, 17 Aug 45

"radiogram from Eight Army Area Command announces Japs have ordered hostilities to cease at 161600."

 

Some of the units surrendering are given in "Regimental History, Phase X" as follows:

 

30 Aug 45, 1600 - "Lt. Gen. Kono, 9 staff officers, plus approximately 1600 officers and enlisted men.  Surrender informally to Lt. Col. Lawne, commanding Allied Forces on Negros vic HDA SANTA ROSA."

 

31 Aug 45, 1000  - "Enemy commanders surrender elements of Nakatani Force to 1st Bn. at SAN CARLOS as follows: Maj. Takesita and 166 men, Maj. Yamamato and 173 men, Capt. Yamata and 215 men, Lt. Susaki and 322 men, and Lt. Kuboki and 106 men.  TOTAL: 962 POW."

 

1 September 45, 0930 - Approximately 400 enemy commanded by Lt. Col. Nakatani surrendered to 1st Bn. at SAN CARLOS."

 

2 September 45, 1000 - Approximately 700 Nip officers and men commanded by Lt. Col. Yuge surrendered to elements of the 3rd Bn. vic SAN PABLO."

 

4 September, 45, 1330 - 1,009 enemy of Kondo Force surrendered 2nd Bn. vic MABINI."

 

6 September 45, 1400 - 680 enemy surrender to 2nd Bn. vic MABINI confined FABRICA STOCKADE." 

 

This is the group that "D" Co guarded until they were transported to Japan.

 

11 September 1945, 1300 - "Col. Watanabe's aid contacted enemy vic NASIG and arranged meeting 13 Sept to conclude surrender of approximately 800 mem�bers of Oie Force."

 

The report on 14 September changes this number of Oie force to approximately 957 Japs. Presumably this is also the date they surrendered.

 

 

 

POSTSCRIPT

Phase IV had joined the first three phases and had become a part of the history of the 503rd mission on Negros.  This account presented here does not presume to account for all the fighting by all units of the 503rd involved in that mission. It does, I hope, give some idea of what happened in a logical and chronological sequence.  I wish once again to thank 1st Lts. Bill Calhoun of "F" Company and John Lindgren of "D" Company for providing most of this material.  Perhaps more information can be provided by others in the future and a more comprehensive account can be written.

John D. Reynolds

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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