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Battle for Luzon, Philippines

Discussion in 'Land Warfare in the Pacific' started by Philscout, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Another well written story, David. Thanks for your efforts to make these WWII veteran's stories available to others.
     
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  2. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    That's almost the entire US Army in the Pacific. There were a total of 21 Army divisions in the theater, of which 20 saw combat (the 98th was still in Hawaii at war's end but was planned to participate in the invasion of Japan). The only one missing was the 27th which had fought on Saipan and was preparing for Okinawa.

    XXIV Corps comprising the 7th, 77th, and 96th Divisions fought on Leyte, the first battle of the Philippine campaign, then was held out of further operations to prepare for Okinawa.
     
  3. dcordero

    dcordero New Member

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    Thanks Tommy. I have a couple others I'd like to share if you are interested.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    "Knowledge not shared is lost"
     
  5. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Absolutely. Feel free to post your veteran interviews in the section What Granddad did in the War.
     
  6. CAW1

    CAW1 Member

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    Yes, Mac thought highly of all his troops, including his "pet" 1st Cavalry Divison that escorted him into Tokyo and was involved in most his post-war ceremonial activities. It's why much of the occupational infrastructure in post war Japan carried the honorary names of 1st Cavalry troopers. He supposedly enjoyed the flamboyant bravery of the 1st Cav, which continued to carry that brave mystique, through the Vietnam War with units like 1st Cav-Air Mobile. He thought highly enough of the 1st Cav to allow them to carry his battle streamers. But not highly enough to defer their deaths to the application of a sterile, non-glorious A-Bomb. My uncle was killed in action 6 months before Japan surrendered after serving straight through from Dec/42' until his death in Mar/45'. But hey, they named a major Japanese Occupational Camp after him, which would contribute to the US forces in the Korean War. That was Mac's next "thoughtful" action with American lives. My personal opinion is that my uncle died, most likely, because Mac insisted on settling his scores of honor personally. Truman may have been complicit in delaying the A-Bomb to allow him to do so, personally, with no fallout.
    http://ww2f.com/threads/pfc-jeston-...y-1st-cavalry-division-82nd-fab-batt-a.68776/
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  7. Scott Rogerson

    Scott Rogerson New Member

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    While I agree that less is said and written about the Army's role in the Pacific during WWII, I believe that the entire theater in general is overshadowed by Europe. However, I do not want to take away from all who served. There is a lot of information out there on the Armies role in the Pacific. The Center For Military History is a good place to start. The reading is tough, and be prepared to research, but it took the Army, Marines, and Navy (Army Air Corp) to defeat Japan. Lets not disparage other's service.

    For example, in Guadalcanal, there wasn't any real day to day reports and communication due to the lack of support for the first six months. There was tons of valuable information that Marines lost by not having those records.
     
  8. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    The Battle of Clark Field and Fort Stotsenburg began at 7:12 AM on 28 Jan 1945 when the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 129th Infantry Regiment crossed the line of departure. The 2nd Battalion advanced along the runways of Clark Field, while 3rd Battalion paralleled them on their left flank. In the first hour, the lead elements of the 2nd Battalion had advanced 2,000 yards. As the advance continued, the Regiment met increasing and determined enemy resistance which slightly slowed the advance to 1,800 yards in the second hour. A heavy artillery and mortar barrage halted the advance from 9:55 to 10:20 AM. As the enemy barrage abated, the Battalions continued the advance. By 12:30 PM, 2nd Battalion was approaching the hangars along the right flank of the Regimental zone. Companies E and G became engaged in a fire fight in the hangar area. The enemy, hidden in the rubble and supported by 20mm guns in the foothills, allowed G Company to pass through the hangar area and then opened fire on E Company which was following. The engagement lasted the rest of the day and was not entirely ended until the next day. A 2nd Battalion tank-infantry attack was thwarted when 2 of the tanks were knocked out by enemy mines. The infantry came under a heavy volume of machine gun and 20mm gun crossfire. The 3rd Battalion also carried out a tank-infantry attack in I Company's zone. Again, two tanks were knocked out by enemy mines, but I Company pressed on and took it's objective. By 5:20 PM, 3rd Battalion was ordered to dig in and hold. The Regiment had advanced 5,000 yards on the first day of the attack.
     
  9. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    At 3:15 on the morning of 29 Jan 1945, the Japanese launched a counter-attack against 2nd Bn., 129th Infantry. Despite a barrage of 20mm, machine gun, knee-mortar, and rifle fire, the attack was repulsed with no American casualties. At 8:55 AM, a 20-minute artillery preparation of Japanese positions began. At 9:15 AM, 2nd and 3rd Battalions resumed the attack they had begun on the previous day. Having learned a bitter lesson from the previous day, the tanks utilized in the attack were preceded by elements of the Antitank Company's Mine Platoon. The Japanese had sown extensive areas with mines, including primed aircraft bombs, so progress was slow. The defenders poured heavy rifle and automatic weapons fire from skillfully concealed positions. A considerable volume of mortar, anti-aircraft gun fire, and 75mm artillery fire was thrown into the face of the 2nd & 3rd Battalion attack. However, the unrelenting pressure of the American advance could not be halted. The 3rd Battalion lines were extended to the eastern edge of the town of Tacondo, and the 2nd Battalion lines pushed through the heavily defended hangar area to a point in front of Fort Stotsenburg proper. The troops had advanced 500 yards after 1-1/2 hours of fighting. They enemy had used tall grass, rubble, hangar buildings, and destroyed aircraft as concealment for suicide snipers and machine gun positions. Enemy artillery fire was not limited to the attacking elements. The forward supply depots, command posts, and assembly areas were all subject to long range 150mm artillery and mortar fire. At 3:00 PM, General Douglas MacArthur arrived in a jeep at the regimental command post to inspect the front lines and observe the progress of the battle. He went up to the 2nd Bn, 129th Infantry command post for about 10-15 minutes before returning to the regimental CP.

    The primary objective of 3rd Battalion on the afternoon of 29 January was a hill 200 yards long, 100 yards wide, and 100 feet high near the village of Tacondo. Enemy weapons and observation posts on the hill commanded a vast portion of the surrounding area and threatened the continued advance of the entire Regiment. The enemy was deeply entrenched in pillboxes and large caves. The Americans would have to virtually dig them out of their positions in order to take the hill. Company I along with elements of Company M were assigned the mission of taking the hill. They drove up a flat, sparsely covered area leading up to the hill and were able to drive the enemy from the crest. From that position, the remaining Japanese were driven from the reverse slope or killed. Flamethrower teams were used to reduce the enemy hiding in the caves.

    At 4:50 PM, the enemy launched a surprise tank counterattack from the northwest. Just before the enemy counterattack, American tanks which had been supporting the assault on the hill had withdrawn due to shortage of fuel and ammunition. The 6 Japanese tanks were able to maneuver to within 100 yards of the American-occupied hill and placed devastating 47mm and machine gun fire on their positions. Though all but one of the American machine guns were knocked out and severe casualties were initially inflicted, the defenders of the hill were able to gain fire superiority, keeping the enemy buttoned up inside their tanks thus hindering the enemy's ability to coordinate infantry support of the tank attack. The infantry maintained its fire and by 5:40 PM the Japanese tanks began to withdraw.

    (to be continued...)
     
  10. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    As the Japanese tanks were withdrawing in 3rd Battalions area, 5 tank destroyers of the 637th TD Bn that were assembled in the rear of the 2nd Battalion were ordered forward. As they arrived at the front line of 2nd Bn, four withdrawing Japanese tanks were observed by the TDs and were taken under fire. A furious ten-minute running engagement ensued in which all 4 Japanese tanks and 2 TDs were knocked out. Two Japanese tanks remained in I Company's sector, hiding in the nearby village of Tacondo. They later made their escape under cover of darkness. At 10:00 pm, Company K (less 1 platoon), was ordered to reinforce Company I and bring up much needed medical supplies.

    The fight for the Tacondo area had been fierce and costly. The heavy pressure of two days and two nights of almost constant contact with the enemy had put a great strain on the troops. A large scale attack for all units of the 129th on 30 January as 1st Battalion had been relieved from its mission of guarding the XIV Corps' east flank. The 1st Battalion was slated to take the town of Dolores which was about 4,000 yards northeast of Fort Stotsenburg and on the Regiment's right flank. The 2nd Battalion was to capture Fort Stotsenburg proper, and the 3rd Battalion was to secure the high ground to its front and flank.
     
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  11. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    The 30 January attack was launched at 8:55 AM and by 10:00 AM the 3rd Bn had advanced 1,000 yards. As they moved into the town of Sapangbato, 3rd Bn encountered a hill mass set with caves and pillboxes. Tanks were used for indirect fire and the attack continued. Meanwhile, the 2nd Bn had pushed 600 yards into Fort Stotsenburg in just 55 minutes. Although stubbornly defending every yard, the Japanese were unable to stem the attack. By evening, the 2nd Bn completed its mission of securing Fort Stotsenburg proper. The 1st Bn had also completed its mission to secure Dolores. Leaving a platoon to hold it, they moved to an assembly area to be used as a regimental reserve. The days attack had advanced the front lines 3,000 yards and included all of Sapangbato and the main portion of Fort Stotsenburg with all regimental units holding commanding terrain. The enemy lines, now pushed back into the hill masses to the west, were occupied by riflemen with automatic weapons in dug-in positions. These positions were supported by mortars and 20mm, 25mm, 40mm, and 120mm guns.

    The next day would present the 129th with their final and perhaps most difficult task yet. The Japanese held a large hill mass that overlooked the entire area of Clark Field and Fort Stotsenburg. The hill was known as Top of the World.
     
  12. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    At daybreak on 31 January, 1st Battalion passed through 3rd Battalion and headed toward Top of the World. From TotW and the surrounding hills, the Japanese had excellent visibility of the Clark Field-Fort Stotsenburg area. From these dominating positions, they could bring accurate, heavy artillery fire down upon the attacking American troops. Nevertheless, the 1st Bn of the 129th Infantry launched their attack at 8:00AM. They headed toward a series of 3 peaks that guarded the southern approach to Top of the World. The peaks themselves were heavily fortified and mutually supporting. In addition, the defense was augmented by machine gun, 20mm, 25mm, and 40mm guns from both flanks. The 1st Bn, with both flanks exposed, advanced into the salient and took very heavy fire. Despite the heavy fire and challenging terrain, Company A seized the right peak 20 minutes after the attack commenced. Much of the fighting was close combat at point-blank range around the enemy's trenches and fortifications. Company A had 5 men KIA, and 15 wounded.

    Meanwhile, B Company was attacking the middle peak and had run into some serious difficulties. A machine gun on their left flank and a 20mm gun on the left front opened fire when the company was in an exposed section of open ground. One officer and 8 enlisted men were killed. A part of G Company, the reserve company, was sent around B Company's left flank to eliminate the 20mm gun and machine gun. Once that was accomplished, B Company resumed the attack capturing the center and left peaks. After a quick reorganization, the attack was resumed to the final objective of Top of the World. G Company led the attack up a small, narrow spur leading to TotW. The slope was bare and offered little cover or concealment. Company G had advanced only a short distance before receiving heavy anti-aircraft and machine gun fire from the front and both flanks. The fire was so devastatingly accurate that the attack was temporarily stopped. B Company was committed on the right of Company G to regain the initiative of the attack. B Company made excellent progress for several hundred yards. After entering a wooded draw 1/3 of the distance up the slope, they received intense anti-aircraft fire that caused numerous casualties. B Company continued the advance until a friendly artillery barrage landed on the leading elements. The company was forced to withdraw from the impact area. Once the artillery barrage was lifted, B Company resumed the attack, but was again stopped at the entrance of the draw by 25mm fire emanating from outside the battalion's sector. Companies B & G could not advance farther without unreasonable casualties, so A Company was committed.

    At 6:45 PM, Company A attacked around the right flank of B Company. The maneuver hit the Japanese in a blind spot and they were initially unable to place effective fire on Company A. By the time they reached the bottom of the valley in front of Top of the World, it was becoming very dark. Undaunted, Company A started the advance up the long slope. The advance continued after dark until a Japanese machine gun, commanding the entire line of advance, and a 25mm gun on their exposed left flank forced a halt. By then the company had secured the first small peak and was halfway up the slope. Disregarding their precarious position and the heavy artillery fire, the company dug in and held. By nightfall, 3rd Battalion had occupied its objective, and was holding, patrolling and protecting the left flank.
     
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  13. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    While the fighting was raging on Top of the World, Lt. General Walter Krueger, Commanding General of Sixth Army, raised the United States flag over Fort Stotsenburg in a formal ceremony on 31 January 1945.

    The American assault on Top of the World resumed the morning of 1 February. Elements of 1st Bn moved slowly but steadily up the slope of TotW which was being ravaged by fire from every weapon available to the enemy. The intensity of the enemy resistance was terrific. Company B attacked through the same wooded draw where it had been stopped the day before. On their right flank, Company A continued up the ridge line and was to make a junction with Company B a the head of the draw. Company B succeeded in getting one platoon up through the draw. When the platoon emerged from the wooded draw and began the final advance, their lines were raked by heavy machine gun fire at point-blank range from a pillbox on the crest of the hill. The platoon leader and four enlisted men were killed and the platoon was forced to take cover in the draw. Company A later succeeded in taking out the pillbox. Company G was ordered to attack through Company B and seize the last knob. By 1:00 PM, G Company had reached the crest of Top of the World. Though 1st Bn had reached and occupied its objective, it was still receiving a heavy volume of flanking fire originating from high ground to the front of 3rd Battalion. Elimination of the flanking fire was necessary before the battle of Fort Stotsenburg-Clark Field could be completed.

    Meanwhile, 2nd Battalion had launched an attack at 8:27 AM to secure a commanding hill on the Regiment's right flank and on a ridge leading from that hill to Top of the World. This mission was accomplished shortly before 1:00 PM. The 3rd Battalion continued to hold ground using tank destroyers to blast enemy pillboxes and gun positions. The enemy resistance by long-range artillery fire continued from caves and pillboxes on carefully selected positions situated on forward and reverse slopes of the surrounding hill masses.

    One last attack would be needed to finish the Battle. Victory would need to wait one more day.
     
  14. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    At 9:00 AM on 2 February Company I began the final tank-supported attack. They advanced up a ravine to the left of Top of the World to wipe out the pocket of enemy resistance on a large knoll that was placing the heavy fire on the final regimental objective. A minefield near the line of departure was cleared by the Antitank Company Mine Platoon. Under cover of artillery and mortar fire, the Mine Platoon moved forward, leading three tanks to the edge of the field where the armored vehicles could place close-in fire support. While the gaps were being cleared, the platoon was continually under machine-gun and 20mm fire. Six 100-pound bombs were removed in clearing one gap, and a large booby-trapped roadblock was dismantled in clearing another gap. When the gaps were cleared, the Mine Platoon guided the tanks through. Assaulting infantry then poured though the gaps and launched the successful assault. The tank supported attack reached its objective at about 1:00 PM. When the pocket of resistance was eliminated, the 129th Infantry held all high ground in the vicinity to a depth of 10,000 yards from the original line of departure on the morning of 28 January. The final victory in the Battle of Clark Field and Fort Stotsenburg had been achieved. The airfields, now secured, were soon being used by large numbers of Allied aircraft. The 129th Infantry was relieved by the 40th Infantry Division. The men of the 129th Infantry were looking forward to a couple days of rest after a long, hard fought battle.
     

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