"REPORTS OF GENERAL MACARTHUR"
(The 503d PRCT
in Northern Negros)
Clearing the Central Visayan Islands
Map 98 (section)
Operations to clear Northern Negros
- 20 June 1945
Not Airborne - Trainborne, from Fabrica to Malapasoc -
Within 5 minutes of this picture being taken, the train would be bombed
by a cowboy in a B-24 - Maurice St. Germaine is pictured.
3d Squad, 1st Platoon, "D" Co. on Patrol,
Negros, July 1945.
John Reynolds ("D" Co.) on patrol, Negros, July 1945.
D Company on Patrol, Negros, July 1945.
John Grubb and John Mara relaxing on patrol, Negros, July 1945
of General MacArthur were
printed by General MacArthur's Tokyo headquarters in 1950. Since they
were Government property, the General turned the reports and their
related source material over to the Department of the Army in 1953. In
Army and National Archives custody these materials have been available
for research although they have not been easily accessible. While he
lived, General MacArthur was unwilling to approve the reproduction and
dissemination of the Reports, because
he believed they needed further editing and correction of some
inaccuracies. His passing permitted publication, but not the correction
he deemed desirable. In publishing them, the Department of the Army
disclaimed any responsibility for their accuracy. But the Army also
recognized that the reports have substantial and enduring value.
preliminary work for compiling the MacArthur volumes began in 1943
within the G-3 Section of his General Staff, and was carried forward
after the war by members of the G-2 Section, headed by Maj. Gen. Charles
A. Willoughby with Professor Gordon W. Prange, on leave from the
University of Maryland, as his principal professional assistant. The
very large number of individuals, American and Japanese, who
participated in the compilation and editing of the Reports would
make a complete listing of contributors relatively meaningless.
The Attack on Negros Occidental
On 29 March the 40th Division, less one
regimental combat team, crossed Guimaras Strait from Iloilo and
landed at Pulupandon on Negros Occidental. There was no
preliminary naval bombardment and the landing was made without
opposition. The landing force pushed rapidly inland and the
strategic Bago River Bridge was secured after a brief skirmish.
Lack of initial resistance was largely due to the assistance of
the strong guerrilla units of Colonel Abcede, which were
instrumental in confining the enemy principally to the north and
northwest coasts of the island.
Troops of the 185th Regimental Combat Team
moved northward, crossed the Magsungay River in the face of
intense enemy fire and began their attack on Bacolod.42 After
destroying a portion of the city, the Japanese garrison had
withdrawn to the north and east, leaving a small delaying force
capable of only limited action. Bacolod and its airdrome were
secured by 30 March, and the outskirts of Talisay were reached
the following day. By this time it had become apparent that the
enemy did not intend to defend the coastal areas but would make
a strong stand in the rugged high ground of the north-central
part of the island.43
The Japanese fought tenaciously at Talisay
but the town and airfield fell on 2 April. Silay, a small barrio
to the north, was taken the next day. Meanwhile, the 160th
Regimental Combat Team had moved into positions at Bacolod
vacated by the 185th Regimental Combat Team in its drive
northward. The primary objectives in Negros Occidental had been
secured; the 40th Division controlled the most important section
of the west coast, extending from Silay to Pulupandan, while the
area south of Pulupandan was mostly in guerrilla hands.
The division's next attack was directed
inland against the Japanese prepared defenses in the mountain
ranges of north-central Negros. This eastward advance was rapid
and opposed only by delaying actions of a minor nature. By 4
April, the only remaining enemy defense areas in Negros Oriental
were the pockets in the central mountain range and the fortified
town of Dumaguete.
On 8 April, the 503rd Parachute Regimental
Combat Team made an overwater movement from Mindoro to assist
the 40th Division. Taking charge of activity on the left flank,
it began a concerted attack against the enemy main defense line
the next day. Japanese resistance to the 40th Division's advance
increased with time, bearing out intelligence predictions that
the thrust would encounter the enemy's main defenses.44 Following
the first day's operations in the division's assault, it became
evident that progress would be slow and tedious for the Japanese
were well-entrenched in rugged terrain.
In spite of this vigorous opposition, the
attacking forces advanced steadily as the Japanese fell back
from strong point to strong point. During the latter part of
April the enemy defense deteriorated more quickly; however, it
was not until mid-May that operations in the hills were
considered to have passed into the mopping-up stage. Even then,
with close support from bombers of the Thirteenth Air Force and
guerrilla reinforcements, the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat
Team made but slow progress in the hill mass south of Fabrica.
Isolated though they were, the Japanese in that area continued
to resist until the cessation of hostilities on 15 August.
Reconnaissance elements of the division
meanwhile swung around the north coast of Negros and advanced
down the east coast almost to Dumaguete. Here they were met by a
combat team of the Americal Division which had landed on 26
April as a part of the Victor
II operation. In
this eastern area no organized enemy resistance was found and,
by the end of May, pursuit of these fleeing remnants was taken
over by Filipino guerrillas. In the mountains southwest of
Dumaguete, United States forces encountered strong Japanese
defenses which were not overcome until the second week in June.
On 9 June the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team received
orders to relieve the troops engaged in Negros Oriental and
garrison the island. It thereupon assumed the responsibility for
all further operations on Negros.45
The report gave reasons for the stiffening enemy
resistance - reasons just as valid for the 503d PRCT as for the 164th
RCT about which they were written:
Japanese had taken advantage of the commanding terrain to create a
formidable series of cave and pillbox defenses from which they could
be ejected only with great difficulty. Meanwhile, the enemy had an
unobstructed view of American movements and could put up a tenacious
and effective resistance to delay the progress of the attacking
forces. Reducing the well-entrenched Japanese forces became a slow
and tedious process. Direct infantry assaults in the face of
suicidal opposition became the pattern of combat. The American
tactics of sustained assaults upon position after position, however,
The 503d PRCT at Corregidor
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