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Z-Day The Battle For Biak

Discussion in 'Land Warfare in the Pacific' started by Biak, May 28, 2010.

  1. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    Just a short explanation of where I came up with my "name".
    The battle for Biak Island began on May 27, 1944. The following was taken from :
    HyperWar: US Army in WWII: The Approach to the Philippines

    Code named HURRICANE Task Force:
    The principal combat component was the 41st Infantry Division, less the 163d Regimental Combat Team. Both the task force and the division were commanded by Maj. Gen. Horace H. Fuller, who had commanded a similar organization at Humboldt Bay. For Biak, the 41st Division was reinforced by two field and two antiaircraft artillery battalions, a 4.2-inch mortar company, a medium tank company (less one platoon), an engineer boat and shore regiment (less one boat company), and a number of antiaircraft batteries. Service troops assigned to the HURRICANE Task Force, in addition to those organic to the 41st Division, were three engineer aviation battalions (for airfield construction work), other miscellaneous engineer units, and many medical, quartermaster, and signal corps organizations.2
    Control of the amphibious phases of the operation was vested in Rear Adm. William M. Fechteler (USN) as the Commander, Attack Force. Admiral Fechteler divided his combat vessels into four support groups, which totaled 2 heavy cruisers, 3 light cruisers, and 21 destroyers. Assault shipping, comprising 5 APD's, 8 LST's, 8 LCT's, and 15 LCI's, was placed in a separate unit which Admiral Fechteler designated the Main Body. Smaller craft, such as LVT's, LVT(A)'s, DUKW's, and LCVP's were to be carried to Biak aboard LST's and APD's. A Special Service Unit of the Main Body contained 4 SC's, 3 rocket-equipped LCI's, 1 LCI carrying underwater demolition teams and their equipment, and 1 seagoing tug (ATF). The Special Service Unit, among other duties, was to provide close support and control for landing waves. A naval beach party, which was to control the landing of troops and supplies once the first waves were ashore, was also part of the Attack Force.
    The First Reinforcement Group, consisting of 3 LST's and 8 LCI's, protected by 3 destroyers and 2 destroyer escorts, was to arrive at Biak on 28 May, Z plus 1. On the next day the Second Reinforcement Group, made up of 7 LST's, 3 destroyers, and 2 frigates (PF's), was to reach Biak. Aboard the cargo vessels of these two convoys were to be artillery units, service troops, and supplies of all kinds.3
    Close air support for the invasion of Biak was primarily the responsibility of the Advanced Echelon, Fifth Air Force, which was to operate from bases at Hollandia and Wakde Island. The Fifth Air Force, the Thirteenth Air Force, and Australian and Dutch aircraft were assigned long-range and strategical support missions similar to those they had undertaken prior to the landings at Wakde-Sarmi.4
    ALAMO Force Reserve for Biak consisted of the 128th and 158th Regimental Combat Teams, which had also been in reserve for the Wakde-Sarmi operation. HURRICANE Task Force Reserve consisted of two units. The first of these was a battalion (less one rifle company and the heavy weapons company) of the 186th Infantry, and the other was the 41st Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop.5

    Those elements of the HURRICANE Task Force scheduled to land on Biak on 27 and 28 May were to carry with them to the objective ten days supply of rations, clothing, equipment (but only organizational sets of spare parts), fuels, and lubricants. Sufficient engineer construction equipment was to be landed on Biak during the first two days of the operation to assure a rapid start on airfield rehabilitation, road construction, and clearance of dispersal areas. All weapons except 4.2-inch mortars arriving at Biak through Z plus 1 were to be supplied with two units of fire, while the mortars were to be supplied with six units of fire. Organizations arriving at Biak after 28 May were to bring with them thirty days' supply of rations, clothing and equipment, fuels and lubricants, medical, engineer, and motor maintenance supplies, and three units of fire for all weapons. Initial responsibility for the transportation of troops and supplies to Biak rested with the Allied Naval Forces. It was planned that the Services of Supply would relieve the Navy of this duty late in June.6

    For the complete report click on the link above.
     
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  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    Save up some money and go on a tour to Biak. Its cheaper than what you might imagine.
     
  3. BobUlagsen

    BobUlagsen Member

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    My Uncle was a Sgt. in the 41st Division in New Guinea. Here's a link to a site.

    The 41st Infantry Division

    Check out this guy's memories:

    The 41st Infantry Division

    Home of the Jungleers

    Kenny Rogers, E Co., 163rd Infantry, Heavy Weapons Platoon




    "My training at Camp Roberts in California before going overseas included a lesson I never forgot. I was an eager young recruit (a little too young as I had lied about my age.) I was enthusiastically engaged in bayonet training, learning all the right moves. Then an old grizzled veteran called to me 'Tennessee, come over here. I see you're taking all this bayonet training very seriously.' 'Yes, sir,' I replied. 'Well, I want to tell you how to take care of the best bayonetter the Germans have and the finest swordsmen in the Japanese army.' 'How's that sir?' was my reply. 'Never run our of ammunition,' was his advice. I never forgot it. Never used my bayonet much either, except for opening K rations.


    I never remember going hungry in the army. We were occassionally short of ammunition (in spite of the best advice), and often short of cigarettes, but seldom short of food. We were good at improvising. If you didn't have the right ingredients you could generally swap with somebody for something. Ted Funk was our mess sargeant and really knew his way around. One time he had 3 or 4 cases of canned peaches he didn't know what to do with so he threw them in the back of the truck, dropped by a few other places, and asked 'Whatcha got to swap?'. He was always so calm about it. And he would always come back with something you could use. Some people were cooks, and some were butchers. But Funk was good. Even the officers from other units came over to eat his fixins.


    One time we ended up with 56 lbs of bacon in tins. Since I had 'liberated' a large frying pan and had several cans of sterno, I took some of the bacon and rendered it. Then took my 22 and shot one of the local chickens. Hailing from Tennessee, fried chicken was my speciality. Pretty soon, stray chickens were showing up in the hands of other GIs who stood in line waiting their turn at the fry pan.
    On Jolo Island, near Sanga Sanga, I was assigned to be a driver for the general. We were returning from a long drive, when the general mentioned that 'he had a hankering for a fish dinner'. So, I recruited the usual bunch of natives, and we went fishing along the Sulu Archipelago. We loaded the little boats with a few grenades and cannisters of explosives. One of the natives swam like a serpent; he would weave around under the water to spot the fish, and then slink onto the boat with such grace it looked he never moved. Once a school of fish were located, it was time for the depth charges. Boom! We had enough fish to feed 200 men. Took them ashore, and I filleted them and gave the natives the heads. They had fish-head and rice as a delicacy.
    When you went in for a landing, the army had given each of us nine K rations; that was for breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days, plus three cigarettes, a book of matches and toilet paper. If you lost your can opener you were in trouble. If they hadn't resupplied us by the fourth day, we went to emergency rations. That was mostly chocolate bars, which doesn't sound too bad until you realize that this stuff was white on the outside, and hard as a rock. You could use it for hand-to-hand combat to hit Japs with. The only way we could get it to melt was to shave it. With enough work, it became a cup of 'Choke-O'.


    In the Philippines, we bought a young water bufalo from one of the local farmers. Included with the price was the slaughter. After it's throat was cut, it was laid on it's back spread eagle. A slit was made up the belly, and next the hide was carefully stripped back which made a clean table upon which to dismember the animal. We had to work fast, because the green flies would overtake you if you didn't. The same haste was used in burial of our dead.


    One person I remember from the Sulu Archipelago area was 'Two-Gun' Parks. He was a pilot with the 146th Field Artillery. He was assigned to be a spotter, but he couldn't resist striking at anything he spotted. He'd carry a case of grenades in the cockpit. He'd fly with one hand and pitch with the other. 'Two-Gun' finally made first lieutenant. He had carried on a one-man war for quite a while in the Philippines. If he saw even one Jap, he'd lob a grenade or something at him.
    I'm originally from Southeast Chatanooga. I was in California two months when inducted. Was in Camp Roberts on Angel Island. Got into a fight with Marines Air Force. At Oakland got on board ship 'Mormack Sea.' Never saw nothing while at sea; not even a dove with an olive branch. From California it took 27 days to get to Brisbane by freighter.


    In Australia, we spent July and August at the Ascot Racetrack living in tents. It was freezing and they needed an overcoat and woolens. The plumbing was very primitive. But the beer was good. We were a pretty salty outfit. Saturday noon everything stopped and we turned on the beer keg; and it never stopped. We got two 22 gallon kegs, from the Fitzroy Brewery; it was called 'green death.' We made beer mugs by taking string and tying it around a bottle, grind off the edge with sandpaper. Just pour it down! The Aussies took to feeding us. 3 inches of mutton tallow on top of vegetables. Meat still had fur. But they were doing the best they could without refrigeration. It was a poor country in the 40s. Fish and chips were the best option. There was no milk until I got back to the States; that was the food I missed the most. Outside Rockhampton a few enterprising GIs set up a hamburger joint. They had the bakery make special buns. Also had apple pie. But it was a long hike. It took two copper pennies to get a ride to town in Rockhampton. But why go? There were 25 guys to every gal. And NO BEER. All the gals had teeth problems. The only good set of teeth were false. Mossies were bad in Rockhampton. B Co. of the 163rd was all Indian. One night they got tanked up on beer and went running naked through the woods with axes. Didn't kill anybody, but after that they broke up the company and put 6 to 8 Indians in each.


    Toem: Tom Parker and I spotted a Jap cemetery near dark. Knew it would rain as it did everyday. Grave had a shelter, so we put ponchos in there. In the middle of the night Parker says 'stop pushing.' It turned out to be a Jap general who came up out of the grave as the water table rose. He was really bloated and we had a devil of a time pushing him back down. Felt sorry for the New Guineans; pigs lived better.


    Ambush on Biak: Soggy, wet and black soil had a track through it from foot traffic. Set up alongside the track. Tom Parker was in a hole with me. Pavonca set up his gen 38 on the other side. Prior to this, they had decided to take air-cooled 30's away from us and came out with a new gun ; had bipod on it with stock that rested on shoulder. Once fired you didn't know which way it fired. Haven't seen a Jap in three days. Cut fence.


    We were in a bamboo thicket so thick it was dark at noon; 40-60 clumps. Tom Parker was the trigger man (he was from Watsonville, Ca.). Parker and me cut some smaller bamboo and made a little fence in front of our position. That stuff rattled like crazy. Also put trip wire over trail and hung cans with a couple of cartridges inside as an early warning system. I sure remember the ones not killed running through the bamboo and you could follow the sounds of their retreat. Seven or eight were killed, there was no way of knowing the number wounded or how many tempted fate by screwing with E Company.


    Japs hit it just before daylight. Someone gave out a Rebel yell. Dozing with my back up against the bamboo, I heard the noise and let off eight shots. Pavonka cut loose, and they ran off the trail into the dark like inside of a black cat. Souvenirs the next morning were great.


    I've grown up with guns. Carried several, including a 22 into battle. If I got hit, I'd still be in orbit. The big problem with infantry co was men who didn't see anything to shoot. Powers was so small he looked like a turtle in a helmet as it came down on his shoulders.


    Back to Biak. There were 7 or 9 bodies stacked up in front of us. The first one fell on gun; Parker shot him over the top of eyes, tore his head off because he was firing straight up. Japs were trying to get to the coast. The bamboo was so thick, you couldn't see the sun go up or down.


    Tom Parker and I picked up C ration cans (see letter). Lieutenant comes up to me in New Guinea and says if something hits it don't fire. Uh huh.
    Killed a couple of dogs that tripped the alarm. Dead meat no matter what it was. Twenty feet either way, you didn't know what was going on.
    Korim Bay they set up a command post. Sorties out and back. Built a prison of barbed wire and coconut logs and kept prisoners. Ran into cannibalism among the Japs who were trapped there. We swam out to the Aussie boats one day; had 'tea' and swam back. The stockade had 10-12 prisoners when the boats came and it was time for us to move out. Shoot the bastards. Drew straws in weapons; it fell to one Harvey Licht from Seattle.


    We cut a wide swath in Japanese items in the gray market; was in no hurry to get home. Made the most money in the soap business.
    I'm known for setting fire to things. There were 50-100 drums of gas. An Indian from Montana said to burn it, so I put a grenade on top and shot holes in it. Sent up a huge plume of smoke.


    On Itape, Tom Parker fell into a Jap outhouse. Slot up perimeter right on train tracks. Shorty Scales was on the gun. A horse came down the road, and Shorty missed the horse. Parker was in a jungle hammock, tried to hit the deck and fell into the burned shitpit up to his waist. Somebody else woke up and shot; hit a bone in the leg of one of our guys who then got his ticket home. Just up the road was where I killed my first Jap. I put his gold teeth in the wooden part of my gun. Tried to mail it home to my Dad, but some Air Force guys bought it from me for a 45 pistol.


    Dysentery Ridge. The ledge was _______________, Japs had 75mm cannon to right of us. Orr and Newman would try to draw fire. Crazy bastard. Several people killed up there. Started at Jetty at sea level, several hundred yards up went up to second level; we were bivouacked up there. The gun was like shooting fish in a barrel. There were no people in the town area when I was there. The first tank battle in the South Pacific was on Biak. Jap tanks were tinkertoys. Had 'canisters' wicked piece of equipment, like a shotgun, point it in any direction and shoot. Had bazookas which took two men to run it; had to tie wires into battery post. Standing behind was more dangerous than in front. 2.5. Had to keep spring fired around as rocket wouldn't go. Bolt action. Had 03's till end of war; star gauged, brand new. Nobody ever got long distance shot, but it was a beautiful gun.


    Tex Holleen was deadly. He could smell 'em. Never got all our table of equipment because Europe was more important. Understrength. 163rd Infantry was 'Musket.'; Musket 'Red' was the 1st Battalion; 'White' the 2nd battalion, and 'Blue' the 3rd battalion. 2BNHQ4 Jeep. Triangle was 163rd Infantry. LCM was my favorite with a big ramp in the front. Higgens was original; had to face rear and swing yourself over while facing enemy.


    Caves at Biak. We rolled barrels of gas down there and then shot them; smoke came out everywhere. It was a honeycomb. One thing that I remember is the stink. Wet, hot of New Guinea and Biak; the smell of jungle rot. Got itchy stuff between everything. Salicylic acid would burn your hoohoos, but killed everything.
    Near the airfield on Biak I was running back and forth up the hill. Ran over a booby trap six times, and it never went off. When Scotty Kullen got killed on Biak, Sgt. Owens from Texas went bananas crying after a few beers. I never got that close. Down on the Bosnik jetty, 40-50 corpses were being barged out.


    I got yellow jaundice on Biak caused by flies. As for water on Biak there were some streams, but they were more like buffalo wallows. We had portable pumps with rubber bags of chemicals. Tanks had gas in one and water in the other. Drank coconut milk and Sago palm milk which tasted like buttermilk. There were bugs on everything. Japs got so sick on Biak because they stayed too long. I also had malaria. If your arm got next to the mosquito net at night, it would be swollen up the nest day. The pills were galling. Some Nordics turned yellow from them. I lost my appetite and my urine looked like GI coffee. Shipped off.


    The worst fighting was the mortar shower at Zamboanga; some soldiers went bonkers after that. But Biak was the low point. Things looked bleak, our future was none to hot. We had been there a long time and got through OK. The ground itself was very inhospitable. It was hit and humid. Women were disease-ridden jungle bunnies. The Japs were gonna get you. Supposedly the whole Navy was on it's way with a million replacements. I lost some friends there. The Philippines was easier; people were English speaking and there were ties with the US.


    22 April 1944 was the first of three landings in two days in the Philippines - never a shot fired. E Company was on 'Ward' which sunk subs at Pearl Harbor; they made a troop carrier out of it. The 3rd platoon of E Co. was on Zamboanga. Very shot up. Mountain blew up. S-2 had an intelligence mission. I volunteered to follow the river, but that was cancelled. There was Jap landing craft on the river; first one I ever saw, and I wanted them to check out the area.


    Jolo City in the Philippines: The motor pool, over the edge down 50 feet was a native cemetery. Bringing light food and drink to the dead. Mack N. Smith _______ country on Holo. Had a jungle piano; a hollowed out log with hardwood slats like a xylophone. Saw my first execution there. Knife fighters hated Japs; took opportunity to get even. Cut him across body and beheaded him. The Jap Rifle '25' were longer than the Japs.


    At a reunion with two buddies from San Pedro, one named Phelps said to me 'you saved my live over there.' I admitted I had no recollection. 'You came along and gave me a ride in a jeep; then let me drive it. It was then and there that I knew what I was fightin' for - to come back here and drive a car! That attitude saved my life.'
    Tex Holleen gave me the best advice. 'Don't run out of ammo.' Still haven't. Tex was a good ole country boy and an expert marksman. He carried a Browning automatic. Walking down a trail, he suddenly stops, pulls his Browning and killed 10-12 Japs; he had a sense for them. I would strip them for souvenirs.


    Newman was a California boy and a pretty good soldier. Up on the ridge from the trail on Biak, he would stand up and draw fire. There were 50 Japs. They felt secure, making plenty of noise. On alert, Parker was asleep behind the gun. If they hadn't changed our guns (the old style had a tripod hard...) we'd have been in trouble. Never could for the life of me figure out what good a machine gun was because you had to lay down. That worked in Europe, but not here. Same with 50 cal gun and M1 carbine. A 30 cal you can carry and therefore do a lot more damage per pound. The M1 was gas operated and weighed 8.69 lbs.; after you carried it for 30 miles, the decimal point dropped out (9 lbs.). Once you got it loaded it was foolproof. 8th shot, then cow bell rang, threw up catch, out of ammo. Saved a guy's life at Camp Roberts (Cal.) I was on guard duty. You pump three times and fire, 7 rounds in a clip, closed bolt on empty slot. I hadn't been to the rifle range yet. It was 2 or 3am. There were thousands of troops. On one side is the barracks, the other side is the parade ground, a mile across. A figure comes off the parade ground. I yell 'halt.' It didn't halt, and took off running. I chased him. He was going great guns till he hit the clothes line. I drew down on him, but he ran into the barracks. I went in, pinned him to the wall with my bayonet. He was a member of the band. Guards said to let him lose. He would have been dead if I had done the gun training.


    Most of the people I fought with were with me all the way. Few replacements. Our war was different. Ten guys here, 5 guys there, none of this 'over the top and get 'em all' Nothing like heavy artillery in Europe; more like the Revolutionary war days - tree to tree, hut to hut. We felt we were getting the raw end because we were in combat for 2-3 months straight; island to island.


    Stories of Japs still on these islands 50 years later; could see it happening where they were. Kick butt and leave. Probably many times Japs cohabited and hung on. Regarding fighting Japs, if you killed off the sergeants or officers, the others wouldn't fight - no initiative. If the head gone, body was useless.


    Landed on Biak. Cooper (later made Lt. Col.) went charging into a longhouse; yelled like a wounded panther, kicked down the door and fired. Killed 5-6 people before he could be halted. They were Korean.


    In Australia near Rockhampton, the Aboriginal's roamed everywhere; stark naked, carrying everything they owned. Two or three guys in E. Co married Australians and decided to live there. Two or three enterprising individuals started a hamburger stand - for 25cents a throw. Soda pop people would bottle sarsaparilla and cream soda in whatever bottles they could find. Aussies were an un-uniform nation; they would use anything for anything. For 'Two and six' you could go to a milk bar and get papaya with pineapple covered with ice cream. We were at Ascot Racetrack outside Brisbane. Pubs had window to segregate families from GI's. Early morning beer call for real drunks, then 2 o'clock for 2-3 hours, then evenings. Put Green Death into copper pitchers for 6 pence a glass. Ran out for fish and chips while somebody held my place at the pub. That was livin. The best place to eat in Rockhampton was the American Red Cross. Hen apples. Your could get 'stike and aggs' for 60-70 cents. Got Coke syrup and put with water, no carbonation. Had lemon powder to make a drink, but needed more than the package told you. Don't remember eating Australian food. We had an agreement with the Australian government regarding troop movement such as Rockhampton towards Brisbane for water training. They would feed troops mutton stew - awful. Still had hair on it. Carrots were huge; could kill a person if thrown. They had it in stations, they put in garbage cans with yellow tallow grease on top. Left it for the cripples and laggards; rest of us headed for the pub.


    About every other Saturday we got 2 barrels of beer from Fitzroy - imperial gallons, 21 or 22 per keg, delivered under the mess hall on Friday night. Iced them up so about 11:30 on Saturday we would tap the first keg and never turned the tap off. Guys lined up. Bu the second keg had to be leftover to Sunday as everybody was sick from too much Green Death.


    When we arrived in Australia we got a ration book for uniforms. I wanted swim trunks, so went to the department store, but the only ones were wool and high wasted. Felt like you were in a corset. I made a diving helmet out of a gas mask and went diving off Coolangatta on the Barrier Reef. But the wool soaked up all the water, and the suit stretched and ended up hanging down around my knees. For unwary soldiers.
    Enjoyed streetcars and buses (which were flatbed trucks with seats and a running board); they would collect 2 cents a ride. We could take the Toonerville Trolley to Yagoona where they had a boarding house on a 3-day pass. First made a pub call, 6 or 8 glasses; then went to the beach and laid down on the sand. I woke up burned like a lobster, and went back to the boarding house, flopped on the bed. The Aussie housemaid got a pitcher of ice water and rubbed it on my back. Later I went to the Aid Station and they smeared me with Tannic Acid. All the medicine in the army was brown - made cure-alls.


    Fighting Japs on Biak was mostly like jumping on a bunch of cripples; we had them outgunned. It seems like both our governments had forgotten about us; we never did get all the jeeps, etc., we were supposed to. We would have been hard pressed to move out. The Regiment had 6X6 carriers that could hold one company with rifles packs at a time. Everything went to Europe. Never saw a half-track. Had tank battle there; Jap tank was Mickey Mouse piece of crap; one turret, little short cannon 37mm. This tank came fumbling down road out of Mokmer to beach road; Sherman's caught it in one shot. It was laughable.


    One of our outfits really got into a mess there; ran smack into them coming out. Sickly, scared beatup bunch of people. Almost past talking. Cut off. Took the brunt of it. Don't remember any real frontal with 300 men going at it."
     
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  4. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    Thanks for that posting!
     
  5. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    Thanks for sharing. It's always interesting to read first hand accounts that give a soldiers view.
     
  6. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    More on (and again from), the link in the first post:
    The Biak Plan
    The Objective
    Biak is shaped roughly like an old-fashioned high-topped shoe.1 (Map 13) The sole is on the south, the back of the shoe on the west, and the instep runs southeast to northwest. Off the northwest corner of Biak (and about one third its size) lies Soepiori Island. The two are separated by a small creek-like strait. Off southeastern Biak lie a number of islets, including Owi, Aoeki, Mios Woendi, and others of the Padaido Group. In May 1944 Biak's principal towns lay along its southern shore. About fourteen miles west of the southeast tip was Bosnek, prewar administrative and commercial center.
    Biak was formed as the result of underwater disturbances which in prehistoric times had brought part of the ocean's floor above the surface. Much of the island is cut by broken coral terraces, ridges, and shelves which in the course of centuries acquired a thick cover of tropical rain forest and dense jungle undergrowth. There are some extensive inland flat areas at the southeastern third of the island. Little fresh water is readily available on Biak, since most of the streams run through underground channels that drain even the heaviest rainfall from the surface. The island lacks good harbors almost all its shore line being fringed by rough coral reefs.
    A high, rough, and narrow coral ridge, lying in front of a generally flat inland terrace in levee-like fashion, parallels Biak's southern shore from a point about five miles east of Bosnek to Mokmer, a village located ten miles west of Bosnek. (Map 14) The seaward face of this ridge is from 180 to 250 feet high, while its landward slope rises only 100 feet or so above the flat but rough-surfaced inland terrace. Near Mokmer the coral ridge turns northward and inland for about a mile and a half, and then west again toward Biak's southwestern corner. At Parai, some 2,000 yards east of Mokmer, one spur of this coastal ridge comes down almost to the shore line to form a twenty-foot-high cliff. This cliff runs along the water line from Parai to a point about 1,000 yards west of Mokmer.
    The turning of the main coastal ridge combines with a protrusion of the coast line beginning near Parai to form a plain about eight miles long and up to one and a half miles wide. The Japanese had begun to construct airfields on this plain late in 1943, and by April 1944 had completed two strips. The most easterly was Mokmer Drome, near the village of Mokmer. About two and one-half miles west was Sorido Drome, located near the village of the same name. Both these strips were close to the southern shore of Biak. Between them, but about three quarters of a mile inland, was Borokoe Drome, which became operational early in May 1944. A site for a fourth airfield had been surveyed on flat land north of the coral
    ridge behind Bosnek, and for a fifth between Sorido and Borokoe Dromes.
    There were few good localities for amphibious assaults along the shores of Biak, and the best lay far from the airstrips. Since these airfields were the principal Allied objectives, it was necessary to choose relatively poor landing points in order to put assault forces ashore close to the fields. ALAMO Force knew that reasonably good beaches, though fronted by coral reefs, were located at Bosnek, Mokmer, and along the coast between those villages. But the Mokmer area was known to be the most heavily defended on Biak, It would be foolhardy to land at the point of the enemy's greatest strength if other usable beaches could be found at near-by but more lightly defended areas. East from Mokmer, coral cliffs or mangrove swamps lie immediately behind the beach. These obstacles would prevent a landing force from maneuvering or finding room to disperse its supplies. The lessons of the Hollandia campaign were fresh in the minds of planners, who had no desire to find the troubles of the 24th Division at Tanahmerah Bay or those of the 41st Division at Humboldt Bay repeated on Biak. Bosnek appeared to be the point nearest to Mokmer Drome where cliffs or swamps did not back the beach. It was also known that some roads or trails led both inland and along the coast in both directions from Bosnek. Moreover, at Bosnek two possibly usable jetties led to deep water beyond the coral reef which fringed the entire southern coast.
    The men planning the Biak operation could obtain little definite information about this fringing reef, which was estimated to vary from 200 to 600 feet in width. According to aerial reconnaissance, much of the reef was dry at low water, but no information was available concerning the amount of water over the reef at high tide. In any case, reef conditions off Bosnek appeared to be no worse than elsewhere along the south coast of Biak. Since this was true, and because jetties, apparent lack of strong enemy defensive installations, and maneuver room on shore offered advantages not found any place else, General Krueger, in agreement with the air and naval commanders, decided that the initial landing would be made at Bosnek.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    I just ran across this link with the Action Report for the USS Fletcher DD-445;
    USS Fletcher DD-445 at Biak Island, June 8, 1944
    [SIZE=+2]USS Fletcher DD-445
    Biak Island Action Report
    June 8 - June 9, 1944[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=-1]1. This vessel in company with combined task force 74 and 75 contacted an enemy force of five Japanese destroyers on a south-easterly course, speed 15 knots, at 2219, Zone minus 10 time, 8 June, 1944, in position Latitude 00° 33' South, Longitude 135° 48' East which is seven miles north of Biak Island, New Guinea. Ships of DesDiv 42 and 47 were ordered to attack and pursue the enemy, pursuit to be broken off not later than 0230 or prior as the situation dictated. The enemy force had barges in company and were believed headed for Korim bay, Biak Island where they were either to reinforce or evacuate enemy troops there. On contact, the enemy force turned northwest and retired in the direction of Mapia Island at high speed emitting dense columns of smoke. The enemy destroyers were taken under fire at maximum gun range at intervals for a period of about two hours. The only observed results was a large explosion on one of the ships at 0211, 9 June, indicating probable damage although the track did not indicate a change of course or a decrease in speed.

    There is much more and at the bottom of the page is a link to the USS Fletcher History index.
    [/SIZE]
     
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  8. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    I've found some more on the battle for Biak. This from the Japanese perspective. Starts on page 283.

    "Biak First Phase The swift Allied advance to Wakde left no doubt that the enemy was rapidly preparing for the final phase of his campaign to win control of all New Guinea and force the Japanese back upon the Philippines. Because of its vital strategic importance as a base from which to extend the radius of Allied air domination, Biak Island- less than 600 miles from Halmahera and Palau, and barely 900 miles from Davao, on Mindanao Island-was considered certain to be a major objective of this final drive.
    Second Area Army, when it first formulated its plans to develop the Geelvink Bay area into the main line of resistance in Western New Guinea, decided to make Biak the key strongpoint of the line. As elsewhere along the absolute defense zone perimeter, primary emphasis was laid upon the construction of airfields. Between December 1943 and the enemy invasion of Hollandia in April 1944, two of three projected fields on southern Biak were completed and put into operational use by planes of the Navy's 23d Air Flotilla.110 Their usefulness ended almost immediately, however, when the enemy's vastly superior air forces began operating from Hollandia bases.
    As in the Wakde-Sarmi sector, the concentration of effort on airfield construction until the Hollandia invasion resulted in dangerously delaying the preparation of ground defenses against enemy amphibious attack. In the five weeks which elapsed between the Hollandia and Biak invasions, the Biak garrison forces, under able leadership and by dint of desperate effort, succeeded in organizing a system of strong cave positions, which proved highly effective after the enemy landing.111 However, time, equipment and manpower were so short that defensive preparations could not entirely be completed. Some 15-cm naval guns, brought to Biak immediately after the Hollandia invasion to strengthen the coast defenses, were still unmounted when the island was attacked.112
    The Allied blow also fell before Second Area Army had been able to execute its plan to reinforce the Biak garrison with elements of the 35th Division.113 The 222d Infantry, 36th
    [283]
    Division, under command of Col. Naoyuki Kuzume, continued to constitute the combat nucleus of the garrison, the remainder of which consisted of rear echelon, service, and construction units. In addition to the Army troops, 2,000 naval personnel were on the island, bringing the aggregate strength of the forces on Biak to approximately 12,000.114
    Five days after the enemy landings at Hollandia, Col. Kuzume took initial action to organize and dispose his forces to meet a possible amphibious attack. These dispositions were laid down in an operations order issued on 27 April, the essentials of which were as follows:115"



    Continues at;


    Chapter X: Western New Guinea Operations
     
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  9. TC237

    TC237 recruit

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    I apologize for bumping an old thread but I need help with a question :

    Who was the 163rd Infantry Regiment commander on Biak?

    So far I have done a preliminary search of:
    Victory in Papua--Approach to the Philippines--Triumph in the Philippines
    Taaffe's MacArthur's Jungle War--Prefer's MacArthur's New Guinea Campaign--Catanzaro's With the 41st Division...

    All to no avail.
    So far the only thing I have found is that a Colonel Francis W. Mason was commander of the 163rd RCT at Aitape until relieved 9 May 1944.
    The sources above all mention the names of the commanders of the 162nd and 186th regiments on BIAK but I can not find the commander of the 163rd.

    Again apologize if this is the wrong thread for my question, I did try a forum search previous to posting.
    -TC
     
  10. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    Welcome TC237, Never apologize. Jethro Gibbs rule number 1. :)
    I have found this; Jens A. Doe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as Commanding Officer of the 163d Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 21 and 22 January, near Sanananda, New Guinea. As commander of an infantry regiment which was engaged in wiping out the remaining points of enemy resistance, Colonel Doe distinguished himself with his coolness and gallantry under fire. In the reduction of these strongly fortified areas his outstanding leadership and courageous conduct were a continuous inspiration to his troops. Colonel Doe's presence in the most forward areas and his disregard of personal danger were largely responsible for the high morale of his troops and the successful outcome of these operations. Colonel Doe's inspiring leadership, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 41st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.[SUP][3][/SUP]

    edit & adding: Have you tried contacting the folks here
    http://www.montanaguard.com/museum/index.cfm

    Hope this helps. What are you researching and feel free to add anything you want to the thread.
     
  11. TC237

    TC237 recruit

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    Thanks for the welcome.

    Quick reply (I'm deep into searching some files and don't want to lose them)
    It wasn't Jens A. Doe (he had been promoted from the 163rd Regiment to command the TF Persecutionand was actually the commander that relieved Col. Mason)
    By the time of the Biak operation Jens A. Doe was a Brig Gen, Assistant Division Commander and eventually Division Commander of the 41st Division.

    162nd CO: Col. Harold Haney
    186th CO: Col. Oliver P. Newman
    163rd CO: ?? :(

    If Mason was relieved on 9 May, that is only a month before the 163rd went to Biak.
    (in my haste to respond I could have the dates wrong)
     
  12. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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  13. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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  14. TC237

    TC237 recruit

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    Thank you gentleman, I had found those earlier this evening.

    Reading through Approach to the Philippines again, specifically the chapter on Wakde, I must say it is strange that the commander of the only infantry regiment involved is not named.
    All the battalion commanders are named.

    There is one passage that says (pg 221)
    "
    some subordinate officers within the task force suggested that Wakde could be seized immediately and with little difficulty. But General Doe and Captain Noble vetoed such suggestions." (Noble was the USN Commander)
    Who would suggest that? Why weren't they named? A Major Leonard A. Wing, the 2nd Battalion commander, commanded the assault on the island. His name is mentioned several times so I don't think the author would have left it out in that occasion.
    Weird.

    163rd RCT Battalion commanders for Wakde-Sarmi (I assume some commanded on Biak two weeks later)
    [TABLE]
    [TR]
    [TD]1st BN[/TD]
    [TD]Maj. Robert L. Irving[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]2nd BN[/TD]
    [TD]Maj. Leonard A. Wing[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]3rd BN[/TD]
    [TD]Maj. Garlyn Munkres[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
     
  15. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    Action At Angaur, Palau 1945 World War II Pacific Film (28 Minutes)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiIgr_m6JOs
     
  16. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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  17. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Indeed it is...I missed that...Perhaps one of the mods will pin this thread...
     
  18. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I had the same thought.
     
  19. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    Wouldn't want to 'pin' my own thread but maybe I could put up a "Rate this thread" and see how it does. Then if there's enough interest discuss it with the other Mod's. Now if I can only figure out how to do that.......
     
  20. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member Patron  

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    The pinning is done. After re-reading it, this thread certainly deserves it.
     

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