The Capture of Clark Field
To 28 January I Corps had been able to accomplish little more than long-range reconnaissance toward the fulfillment of its second mission, that of protecting XIV Corps' left rear. Thus, beyond the protection it could provide for itself, XIV Corps had been moving southward through the Central Plains since 18 January with an exposed left flank. That day the main strength of the 37th and 40th Infantry Divisions was deployed along the Agno River from the corps boundary at Bayambang west ten miles to Urbiztondo. Two battalions were across the river from Camiling, nine miles south of Bayambang, east almost fifteen miles to Anao. (See Map III.) The XIV Corps was in high spirits. Its casualties had been light, it was rapidly assembling supplies along the Agno to support its advances southward, and it did not anticipate any serious opposition at least until it reached Clark Field, forty miles south of the Agno and the first major objective on the road to Manila.
General Griswold, the XIV Corps commander, was to push his troops south in successive bounds, the length of each bound to depend on I Corps progress and on how rapidly XIV Corps could keep its supplies moving. First, General Krueger directed Griswold, XIV Corps would move in strength up to its outpost line by 20 January. On the 21st the corps would start advancing to a line extending from Tarlac, on Route 3 nearly twenty miles southeast of Camiling, northeast almost ten miles to Victoria. There the corps would halt pending further orders from Sixth Army.1
Into Contact With the Kembu Group
Twenty-four hours before the deadline set by General Krueger, XIV Corps, encountering no opposition, moved up to the Camiling-Anao line, and advanced well beyond the line on the right, or west.2 The 160th Infantry, 40th Division, which had reached Camiling on 18 January, marched seven miles south along Route 13 on the 19th. On the corps left the 129th Infantry, 37th Division, moved into Carmen, occupied Anao in strength, and established contact with other 37th Division outposts at Paniqui, on Route 3 five miles southwest of Anao.3 The regiment also cleared Route 3 from Carmen south eleven miles to the junction
of the highway with the main line of the Manila Railroad at Moncada. Here, in a midmorning clash, the 129th Infantry took the first sizable number of prisoners to be captured on Luzon--almost 200--and also killed about 55 Japanese.
Advances on 20 January were equally rapid. With the 129th Infantry holding on the corps left, the 37th Division's 148th Infantry advanced south four miles along Route 3 from Paniqui to Gerona, and then marched east about four miles along a gravel road to Pura, four miles north of Victoria. The 37th Reconnaissance Troop, finding the town already in the hands of guerrillas, rode into Victoria at dusk on the 20th. Meanwhile, left flank units of the 40th Division had marched into Gerona from the west and had struck on south along Route 3 to a point just four miles short of Tarlac.4 The 40th Division's right had advanced to within four miles of Tarlac along Route 13. Nowhere in the flat, open farming country through which they were passing had troops of the XIV Corps encountered any significant opposition.
The advance continued on 21 January as the corps moved forward to establish itself along a line south of Victoria and Tarlac. Elements of the 160th Infantry, 40th Division, cleared Tarlac against scattered rifle fire shortly after 0900. Site of the junction of the main line of the Manila Railroad with the branch running northeast through Victoria to San Jose, and of the junction of Routes 3 and 13, Tarlac had been an important Japanese supply base and had therefore received considerable attention from Allied Air Forces bombers and carrier-based planes of the Third Fleet. Before it withdrew southward on 19 and 20 January, the small Japanese garrison had destroyed the military supplies and equipment that the Allied aircraft had missed. Tarlac was practically in ruins and virtually deserted as of 21 January, but, as was the case elsewhere throughout the Central Plains, Filipinos began flocking back to the city upon the arrival of American troops.
After cleaning out Tarlac the 160th Infantry sent one battalion south along Route 3 about four miles to San Miguel. To the east, the 145th and 148th Infantry Regiments, 37th Division, marched unopposed south and southwest from Victoria and, establishing contact with the 160th near San Miguel, set up a defensive outpost line extending eastward to a road junction just west of La Paz and thence back north to Victoria.
Since XIV Corps had advanced well beyond the Tarlac-Victoria line without encountering significant opposition, Krueger, late on the 21st, directed Griswold to strike on southward to seize the Clark Field air center. Krueger knew that risks were involved. For one thing, XIV Corps supply units were having a hard time moving as fast as the combat troops. For another, I Corps was still unable to advance its right beyond Cuyapo, and XIV Corps' left would therefore remain exposed. However, since I Corps reconnaissance patrols had reached Victoria and Guimba without developing significant contacts, the risks did not appear as great as they had three days earlier when XIV Corps had started south. Also, of course, Krueger had to
consider MacArthur's orders to get to Clark Field rapidly.5
The Sixth Army's order gave General Griswold pause. The speed of his corps' advance had stretched his supply lines abnormally and had exposed his left from Cuyapo to La Paz, a distance of nearly twenty-five miles. He had no definite information about suspected Japanese concentrations in the vicinity of Cabanatuan, on Route 5 just fifteen miles east of La Paz. His worries about the security of his flank were hardly put to rest by reports of new contacts with Japanese forces at Moncada, now twenty miles behind the front, and at La Paz. Elements of the 129th and 145th Infantry Regiments easily took care of the Japanese in the Moncada area, but during the night of 21-22 January a pitched battle developed at La Paz when a platoon of Japanese infantry, supported by one tank, attacked a 148th Infantry perimeter at a road junction a mile west of town. The Japanese withdrew after destroying a bridge that carried a secondary road across a river a mile east of La Paz.
Griswold reported to General Krueger that it would be impossible to extend XIV Corps' left any further south until he had more information about Japanese forces east of La Paz. Accordingly, Griswold intended to keep the 37th Division echeloned to his left rear while the 40th continued south along Route 3 to Bamban, fifteen miles below Tarlac. The 40th would then hold while the 37th Division sent patrols into the I Corps zone as far as Cabanatuan, an "invasion" to which Swift, the I Corps commander, proved agreeable. The plan admitted of some delay in reaching Clark Field, but was approved by General Krueger, who was becoming increasingly afraid that XIV Corps might be overextending itself.6
By evening on 22 January forward elements of the 160th Infantry and the 40th Reconnaissance Troop had reached Capas, on Route 3 five miles short of Bamban. The reconnaissance troop then probed westward ten miles to Camp O'Donnell, terminus of the infamous Death March from Bataan in April 1942. The prisoners had long since been evacuated, but marked graves gave ample mute testimony to O'Donnell's past. The Japanese were also gone, but they had just left--without a chance to eat the food that had been cooking on their camp stoves.7
Operations early on 23 January gave promise of smooth sailing. On the 40th Division's left the 108th Infantry cleaned a few Japanese stragglers out of towns up to seven miles east and southeast of Capas. On the right the 160th Infantry, against no opposition, secured Bamban Airfield, two miles south of Capas and on the east side of Route 3. The town of Bamban, however, was infested with small groups of Japanese, and one battalion of the 160th Infantry took most of the afternoon to root them out. Then the battalion swung west off the highway
BAMBAN and high ground to west
toward sharply rising ridges, greeted by increasingly heavy small arms fire. Another battalion secured a ford over the Bamban River south of town, and was fired on by Japanese mortars from the high ground to the west. The 40th Division, it began to appear, had reached some strong, organized defenses, defenses that all intelligence officers from MacArthur's headquarters on down had anticipated would be found in the Clark Field area.
General Griswold decided to spend 24 January consolidating, regrouping for further advances southward, and probing into the defenses the 160th Infantry had uncovered. He directed the 40th Division to feel out Japanese strength and dispositions west and southwest of Bamban, and ordered the 37th Division, less its 129th RCT, to assemble northeast of Bamban to await further orders. The 129th would continue to protect the XIV Corps' elongated left flank. In effect, Griswold was preparing to swing half his strength--the 40th Division--90 degrees west into the high ground dominating Clark Field while holding the 37th Division, less the 129th RCT, ready to resume the march toward Manila on short notice. He felt he needed only the 129th RCT along his exposed left because his reconnaissance into the I Corps sector had found no concentrations of Japanese in the Cabanatuan region.8
The Capture of Clark Field
24 Jaunary-20 February 1945
The First Attacks
Terrain and Defenses at Clark Field
A vast complex of prewar and Japanese-constructed paved and unpaved runways, taxiways, dispersal areas, aircraft revetments, and associated installations comprised the Clark Field air center--the whole extending from Bamban Airfield south along both sides of Route 3 for almost fifteen miles. (Map IV) There were fifteen separate landing strips, with but three exceptions all located west of the highway. Clark Field proper, with six separate strips, lay on the west side of Route 3 in an open area about four miles wide, east to west, and extending from Mabalacat, four miles south of Bamban, south another six miles. In the western section of this airfield region lay Fort Stotsenburg, prewar home of various Philippine Scout units, including the 26th Cavalry.9
East of Route 3 the flat, hot terrain is given over to rice paddies--dry in January--and farm lands that are cut by many irrigation ditches and small, tree-lined streams. Here the only prominent terrain feature is wooded Mt. Arayat, rising in majestic isolation above the floor of the Central Plains to a height of some 3,350 feet. West of Clark Field the bare foothills of the Zambales Mountains rise sharply, forming a series of parallel ridges, oriented northeast to southwest, and separated by the Bamban River and many lesser wet-weather streams. Its source deep in the mountains behind Fort Stotsenburg, the Bamban, called the Sacobia along its western reaches, flows generally northeastward past the northern side of the Clark Field strips. About a mile and a half west of Mabalacat, the stream turns northward for three miles, its western bank formed by the steep noses of parallel ridges rising southwestward into the Zambales Mountains. A mile south of Bamban, an unnamed stream comes in from the west to join the Bamban River. Here, under the clifflike southern side of another sharp ridge, the Bamban makes a right angle turn to the east, ultimately feeding into the Rio Chico de la Pampanga off the northeastern slopes of Mt. Arayat. Just east of the river bend south of Bamban, the Manila Railroad crosses the river and, some 200 yards further east, Route 3 also goes over the Bamban. The bridges here had been destroyed by MacArthur's retreating forces in 1942, rebuilt in wood by the Japanese, and knocked out again by the Allied Air Forces or guerrilla sabotage in January 1945. The ford the 160th Infantry had found and secured on 23 January proved a good dry-weather replacement, but both bridges would have to be reconstructed before the rainy season began in May.
The ridges at the river bend south of Bamban and along the north-south stretch of the Bamban River rise steeply to a height of some 600 feet within 250 yards of the river's banks. West of Fort Stotsenburg bare, dominating hills shoot quickly and sharply up to a height of over 1,000 feet scarcely half a mile beyond the camp's western gate. From all this rising ground Japanese artillery, mortars, and machine guns could lay easily observed fire along Route 3 and the Manila Railroad, and could just as easily prevent the Allied Air Forces from using the Clark Field air center. The
KEMBU DEFENSE AREA. Fort Stotsenburg is at lower left.
40th Division, probing into this terrain, knew all too well that, as usual, the infantry's objective would be the high ground.
While there was general agreement that the Japanese maintained defenses in the Clark Field area, no intelligence agency of the Southwest Pacific Area had much information concerning the strength and extent of the defenses, nor of the capabilities and intentions of the Japanese in the region. When XIV Corps' advance elements reached Bamban on 23 January, various estimates placed from 4,000 to 8,000 Japanese on or near Clark Field. Intelligence officers believed that most of these Japanese were service personnel--Army Air Force ground units--with perhaps a leavening of combat troops from the 2d Tank Division. As of 23 January XIV Corps' G-2 Section felt that the Japanese might offer only minor delaying action at Clark Field, and was willing to state nothing more definite than that some Japanese defenses existed in the hills immediately west and southwest of Bamban.10
These estimates were far wide of the mark. General Tsukada's Kembu Group numbered some 30,000 troops, whose orders were to
. . . check an anticipated penetration of the Clark Field sector, facilitate the operations of the air forces as far as possible, and as a last resort hinder utilization of the airfields by operating from the strongpoint west of Clark Field.11
Tsukada divided his heterogeneous collection of Army and Navy combat and service units into nine separate detachments; for a headquarters he used that of the 1st Airborne Raiding Group, his previous command. His Army personnel, about 15,000 men in all, he assigned to four combat and four service detachments. The ninth detachment, comprising naval combat and service troops, numbered another 15,000 men. The total trained combat strength available to the Kembu Group was about 8,500 troops, of whom no more than half were first-class, well-seasoned men.
The largest Army combat detachment was the Eguchi, with 3,900 men under Lt. Col. Seizuke Eguchi. Eguchi's troops included five airfield construction battalions armed as light infantry, a provisional infantry battalion formed from replacements and casuals from Manila, and a heavy (120-mm.) antiaircraft gun battalion set up for ground support operations.12 Next in size, with about 2,800 men, was the Takayama Detachment under Lt. Col. Koshin Takayama, who was also the commanding officer of the 2d Mobile Infantry, 2d Tank Division.
Takayama's force included the 2d Mobile Infantry less two battalions, two airfield construction battalions reorganized as auxiliary infantry, an understrength antitank gun battalion, and a 75-mm. battery from 2d Tank Division artillery. The third combat force, the Takaya Detachment, numbered 750 men under Maj. Saburo Takaya. It was composed of the understrength 2d Glider Infantry (formerly part of Tsukada's 1st Airborne Raiding Group) and miscellaneous attachments. The last Army combat group was the Yanagimoto Detachment, about 650 men under a Captain Yanagimoto, whose command included the 3d Battalion, less elements, of the 2d Mobile Infantry, and an independent light tank company. The four service detachments were apparently at first in direct support of the four combat detachments, but most of the men of the service units later fought as infantry.
The naval troops were under the command of Rear Adm. Ushie Sugimoto, whose headquarters was that of the now planeless 26th Air Flotilla. The admiral subdivided his detachment into five combat sectors and two service commands. His principal combat force was the small 37th Naval Guard Unit, which formed the nucleus of one of the combat sectors. The rest of the naval troops included the ground echelons of various naval air groups, a few stranded pilots, some antiaircraft units, and service personnel of all categories.
Considering its total strength, the Kembu Group was lightly armed. It possessed less than a battalion of 47-mm. antitank guns; two or three batteries, in all, of 70-mm. and 75-mm. field artillery weapons; about a battalion of medium artillery--100-mm. to 150-mm--either emplaced in caves or on self-propelled mounts; and the equivalent of two battalions of naval 120-mm. antiaircraft guns, all emplaced as ground support weapons. The auxiliary and provisional infantry units had few heavy machine guns and fewer mortars. But the Kembu Group had many other types of fairly heavy automatic weapons. It had modified a variety and multitude of automatic antiaircraft guns for ground support roles, and it had stripped machine guns and machine cannon from damaged aircraft in the Clark Field area, moving the weapons into the hills and mountains to provide added fire power.
Tsukada disposed his forces along three eastward-facing defense lines, which stretched north to south almost ten miles. The first line, the Kembu Group's outpost line of resistance (OPLR), had its northern anchor on a bare, steep ridge nose about two miles northwest of Bamban, and followed successive noses south to the Bamban River. South of the stream, the OPLR continued to the Abucayan River, on the south side of Fort Stotsenburg, taking advantage of knolls and ridgelets in the western portion of the Clark Field area. Elements of the Takayama Detachment held the northern section of the OPLR; part of the Eguchi Detachment defended the southern half.
General Tsukada did not plan protracted operations along the OPLR, for he could not hold the southern part of the line, which ran over relatively flat ground, against the air and armored superiority he knew Sixth Army could bring to bear. Instead, he intended to control the Clark Field area, Route 3, and the Manila Railroad by fire from his main line of resistance (MLR), which
lay generally two and a half miles west into the mountains from the OPLR. He located the northern anchor of the MLR on the bare top of a 1,000-foot-high ridge about five miles west of Bamban; and here the Kembu Group refused its left flank with a westward extension of the MLR. The Takayama Detachment held the left third of the MLR; the Takaya Detachment the center, south to the Bamban River; and the Eguchi Detachment the ground south of that stream to a point two miles southwest of Fort Stotsenburg, where the right flank was also refused.
In rugged, still higher terrain a couple of miles west of the MLR, Admiral Sugimoto's naval forces were moving into an area the Kembu Group viewed as its "last-stand" position. Far to the east, forward of the OPLR, was the mobile Yanagimoto Detachment. With no fixed position, this covering force was ready to defend against paratroop landings, help hold the south flank of the OPLR, and undertake reconnaissance as required. As of 23 January Yanagimoto Detachment headquarters was at Angeles, on Route 3 and the Manila Railroad about ten miles south of Bamban.
The Kembu Group's strength lay in the terrain it held, in the depth of its defenses, and in the great number of automatic weapons (aircraft and antiaircraft) it possessed. Its major weaknesses were its immobility; the inadequate training and armament of the bulk of its troops; shortages of food, ammunition, and field artillery; and the rudimentary state of many defensive installations, a state deriving from the late start in establishing the positions at and west of Clark Field. The health of the command was poor from the start, and medical supplies were short. Morale was not of the highest order, and many of the troops were easily disaffected Formosan, Okinawan, and Korean labor personnel. In brief, the Kembu Group was the poorest armed, prepared, and supplied of Yamashita's three defense commands. On the other hand, as the 40th Division was soon to learn, even poor service troops, whatever their state of training and armament, can put up stiff resistance in good defensive terrain. Before a week had passed the 40th Division and the XIV Corps would be willing to concede that General Tsukada and his troops had missed no opportunities to exploit to the utmost every defensive advantage the terrain they held offered them.
Penetrating the OPLR
Directed by General Griswold to probe into the Kembu Group's defenses west and southwest of Bamban, the 40th Division ordered its 160th Infantry to press on against the Japanese with whom it had established contact on 23 January. The regiment would strike westward from a line of departure along the Manila Railroad both north and south of the Bamban River. Its left would drive up Lafe Hill, a 600-foot-high ridge nose lying half a mile south of the confluence of the Bamban and the unnamed stream coming in from the west. The right flank objective was another ridge nose, Hill 500, immediately north of the stream junction.13
The two objectives marked the northernmost major strongpoints along the Takayama Detachment's portion of the OPLR. Two airfield engineer battalions,
supported by provisional mortar and machine gun units, held the two ridge noses and the ridges rising from the noses to the southwest. The Japanese had emplaced dismounted aircraft machine cannon and a few light artillery pieces to cover the hills and their approaches. Caves of various sizes pockmarked the steep slopes of both objectives, some of the caves at the bottom of the ridges having been converted from storage dumps to defensive installations. There were no easy approaches to either ridge nose. The visible sides of bare Hill 500 were virtual cliffs where, for the Japanese, a big rock was nearly as good a defensive weapon as a rifle or machine gun. The slopes of knife-crested Lafe Hill were almost as steep and, bare like those of Hill 500, possessed some rock outcroppings. This was handhold terrain where the problem involved in closing with the Japanese defenses would be equaled only by the problems of supply and evacuation.
Two battalions of the 160th Infantry launched the attack about noon on 24 January.14 Despite the terrain difficulties and heavy fire from Japanese automatic weapons, mortars, and 75-mm. artillery, the southern wing of the attack, behind close artillery support, worked its way up Lafe Hill and secured the crest by 1800. The units on the right, however, were scarcely able to gain a foothold on the scrub-grown northern slope of Hill 500.
Although the 160th Infantry had encountered well-organized resistance and had failed to take one of its objectives, XIV Corps' G-2 Section was still reluctant to believe that the Japanese had significant defenses west of Bamban. Rather, the section estimated, the 160th had uncovered a small delaying force bent upon self-destruction in place.15 General Griswold, therefore, expected that the 40th Division could overcome the resistance in the Bamban vicinity on 25 January and, he hoped it could clear all the Clark Field-Fort Stotsenburg region within another day or two.16 The 40th Division did not share the corps' optimism. On 25 January the division was able only to broaden its front to both the north and the south, and to accomplish even this had to commit elements of the 108th Infantry on its right. Major new objectives were Hill E, a bare ridge nose with fairly gentle slopes a mile and a quarter north of Hill 500, and steep-sided, bare Hill 636, a mile and a quarter southwest of Lafe Hill and over a mile up (southwest) the next ridge south of Lafe Hill.
Fighting over open ground against a company of Japanese that had excellent heavy weapons support, the 160th Infantry, on 25 January, failed to reach Hill 636, but, overrunning one OPLR position along the eastern nose of the Hill 636 ridge line, did progress almost a mile up the ridge. Further north, other elements of the 160th cleared Hill 500 during the day, and an attached battalion of the 108th Infantry secured Hill E and then went on to clear a few Japanese from Hill G, another bare knoll a little over a mile north-northwest of Hill E.
The 40th Division did not yet know it, but the attack had carried through some of the Takayama Detachment's strongest OPLR defenses and, on the right, had taken the assault troops to positions from which they could outflank the left of the OPLR. The defenses, which Tsukada had expected would hold at least a week, had fallen rapidly under the combined weight of American infantry, artillery, and air attack. The achievements had cost the 40th Division 15 men killed and 45 wounded; the Takayama Detachment had lost over 300 men killed of an original OPLR force of nearly 1,100 troops.
The 40th Division next planned to swing the 160th and 108th Infantry Regiments south. The 160th's initial objectives included Hill 636 and another bare knob 800 yards further west along the same ridge line. Once it had secured these two terrain features, the 160th would wheel southwest across the Bamban River to clear Clark Field proper and the eastern half of the Fort Stotsenburg camp area. The 108th Infantry, initially undertaking a wide development westward beyond Hills E and G, was to strike south to seize Hill 350, a mile and a half west of Lafe Hill, and then continue south-southwest on the 160th's right to clear the western half of Fort Stotsenburg. The 108th was also to secure high ground immediately west of and overlooking the fort area.17
By the time the attack on the 26th was well under way, a distinct pattern had emerged from the operations west and southwest of Bamban, a pattern that would remain in effect as long as the Kembu Group was able to put up a semblance of organized resistance. Any movement by American troops along the generally open ridges west of Route 3 inevitably brought down Japanese machine gun and mortar fire, often augmented by fire from the dismounted aircraft automatic weapons, antiaircraft guns, and light artillery. Seeking cover and usually pinned in place, the American infantry would call for close-in mortar and artillery support, wait for the concentrations to be fired, and then drive forward a few yards, when the process had to be repeated. Each time, the Americans managed to overrun a few Japanese machine gun or rifle strongpoints.
There was little choice of routes of advance. Draws, providing some concealment in scrub growth or bamboo thickets, were usually covered by well-emplaced Japanese weapons both within the draws and on the ridges to each side. Possession of the high ground, as ever, was essential. Yet the troops had to employ draws whenever possible to outflank Japanese ridge line strongpoints, and often draws and ravines proved to be the only routes by which tanks, tank destroyers, and cannon company self-propelled mounts could get to the front to fire against Japanese cave positions along the sides of the ridges.
The capture of one Japanese-held cave served only to disclose another, and one machine gun position was overrun only to provide access to the next. Dislodging the Kembu Group from such defenses in depth was to prove a slow, laborious, and costly process, demanding the closest teamwork between the infantry and its supporting arms. Casualties, as a rule, would not be heavy on any one day--progress would be too slow and the troops would spend too much of
CAVE-POCKED HILL, typical of Japanese defenses in Clark Field area.
their time pinned down awaiting fire from supporting weapons. But a daily attrition rate of about 5 men killed and 15 wounded for each battalion engaged would soon begin to have its effect.
When it proved impossible for tanks and other supporting artillery to reach the front lines, or when it was impossible for any reason to lay fire into a Japanese position, the infantry had to fall back on assault team techniques. An eight-man assault squad would be equipped with submachine guns, flame throwers, demolitions, and smoke and thermite grenades. A six-man covering squad, armed with rifles and light automatic weapons, would provide close support. The two-squad team would operate forward of and under the cover of fires from other infantry units and heavier support weapons, all set up on dominating ground.18
On 26 January the 160th Infantry's left made the greatest progress as the Takayama Detachment's right flank OPLR defenses began to disintegrate. The 160th secured Hill 636 with little trouble and also cleared the grassy crest of Hill 600, a hot three-quarters of a mile southwest of Lafe Hill along the Lafe Hill ridge. North of the unnamed
stream the 160th's right flank drove west against negligible resistance and began wheeling southward to prepare to cross the stream and rejoin the rest of the regiment.
In the 108th Infantry's sector advances were more painful. The regiment had to give up its hold at Hill G in the face of heavy concentration of Japanese artillery and mortar fire, and could make very little progress in the Hill E area. In the afternoon, attempts to start the scheduled enveloping maneuver succeeded only in extending the regimental right into rising ground 1,000 yards northwest of Hill G.
The 40th Division had not made anticipated progress, but the operations on 26 January had provided the division and the XIV Corps with a clearer picture of the opposition. By the end of the day the division's G-2 Section was able to delimit the Japanese OPLR, had recognized it as an OPLR, and had identified the major components of the Takayama Detachment. The corps' G-2 Section readily admitted that the 40th Division had uncovered a strong defensive line and that the Japanese seemed determined to maintain control of the Clark Field area.19 General Griswold had to accept the fact that operations in the Clark Field region were going to take longer than he had hoped and might require the commitment of additional forces.
The 40th Division's operations on 27 January, again meeting with limited success, confirmed Griswold's reasoning. The 160th Infantry gained only 500 to 800 yards in westerly and southwesterly directions during the day and was unable to bring its right flank elements south of the unnamed stream. Further north the 108th Infantry advanced about 1,000 yards southwest from Hills E and G but failed to reach the day's objective, Hill 5, a rough bare height three-quarters of a mile southwest of Hill G. Nevertheless, by the end of the day the 40th Division had virtually demolished the Takayama Detachment OPLR, reducing the once well-organized line to a number of isolated strongpoints manned by troops who preferred to die in place rather than withdraw to the detachment's MLR. These isolated groups presented no real threat, and it was only a matter of time before the 40th Division would eliminate them. Finally, the 40th Division's progress through 27 January had secured the Manila Railroad and Route 3 from Bamban south to Mabalacat. The gains of the first four days' action against the Kembu Group had cost the 40th Division approximately 35 men killed and 115 wounded; the Takayama Detachment had lost at least 1,000 men killed alone.
A Planning Interlude
While the 40th Division had been engaged against the Takayama Detachment, the 37th Division had safeguarded XIV Corps' eastern flank, had continued to reconnoiter eastward into the I Corps zone, and, on 25 January, had begun to extend its right (west) flank southward from the vicinity of Bamban in the area immediately east of Route 3. On the 26th, the 145th Infantry secured Mabalacat and Mabalacat East Airfield, four miles south of Bamban, against light
opposition. The next day the 145th Infantry advanced south along Route 3 another three miles to Culayo and Dau, while 148th Infantry secured Magalang, five miles east of Dau.
The Culayo-Dau area assumed some importance as the junction of Route 3 with a road running west through Clark Field to Fort Stotsenburg and with a spur of the Manila Railroad running from the fort to Magalang. In its advance to Dau the 145th Infantry encountered tanks of the Yanagimoto Detachment, operating south of the town, and had been fired on by Japanese artillery emplaced in high ground west of Fort Stotsenburg. Scattered groups of Japanese held out in Culayo and Dau until the morning of 27 January.
On the 26th, the 145th Infantry swung west across Route 3 and with little difficulty overran Clark Field Runway No. 1, a mile northwest of Culayo. It had been almost thirty-seven months since American ground forces had set foot on Clark Field.20
On 27 January, the 145th Infantry marched another three miles south along Route 3 to the city of Angeles, which the Yanagimoto Detachment had already left to Filipino guerrillas. From Angeles, good gravel roads led southwest toward Bataan Peninsula and northeast to Magalang, while Route 3 and the Manila Railroad swung off to the southeast on their way to Manila. The 148th Infantry on 27 January patrolled east and south from Magalang finding no significant traces of the Japanese. At the close of the day, the 37th Division's two regiments were prepared to leave Clark Field to their right rear and continue the advance toward Manila.21
How to employ the 37th Division in the immediate future was a knotty problem for both General Griswold and General Krueger.22 The obvious choices presented obvious disadvantages. If the division were to continue toward Manila, its right rear might be open to a Kembu Group counterattack that the 40th Division might not be able to repel; if the division were committed to fight against the Kembu Group, the advance on Manila would be delayed; if the division left strong forces echeloned along XIV Corps' left rear to protect the corps' exposed left flank, both the advance to Manila and the destruction of Kembu Group would be delayed. General MacArthur's constant pressure upon General Krueger to get the XIV Corps on toward Manila further complicated the problem.
The key to speed in the advance toward Manila was the time element--the time taken by I Corps to extend its right flank south and southeast in order to afford better protection to the XIV Corps left rear, and the time taken by XIV Corps to assure the safety of its right rear by overrunning the principal Kembu Group defenses in the Clark Field area. One factor mitigated the problems attendant upon securing XIV Corps' right rear. On 29 January, the XI Corps was to land on Luzon's west coast north of Bataan in an attack that
bid fair to divert Kembu Group attention and take some of the pressure off XIV Corps.23 On the other hand, the problems involved in providing protection to XIV Corps' left flank were not so easily solved. General Krueger felt that I Corps could not advance south from the San Felipe-Cuyapo line, which the corps had secured by 27 January, until reinforcements reached Luzon. To spread I Corps any thinner would create an entirely new danger--a weakly held I Corps flank exposed to counterattack from a Japanese concentration the Sixth Army believed to be located near San Jose on Route 5. It was bad enough to have XIV Corps' left exposed, but at least that corps had the protection of distance and unbridged streams against a Japanese thrust from San Jose, protection I Corps' right would not have once it started southward.
The 32d Infantry Division, the 1st Cavalry Division, and the separate 112th Cavalry RCT all reached Lingayen Gulf on 27 January. Once the units were unloaded, Krueger could return the 25th Division's 35th RCT, still in Army reserve, to I Corps. He also intended to give the 32d Division, less one regiment in Army reserve, to I Corps for insertion between the 25th and 43d Divisions. Then the 25th and 6th Divisions could narrow their fronts and continue south and southeast with less danger of leaving the I Corps flank exposed beyond the limits of a calculated risk.
Krueger reasoned that the 32d Division and the 35th RCT could move into position in time for I Corps to start advancing beyond its San Felipe-Cuyapo line on 28 January, striking forward to a new objective line twenty miles to the south and southeast. On the right the 6th Division would move up to a line extending from Licab to Muñoz, on Route 5 eight miles southwest of San Jose. The 25th Division would take over near Muñoz to extend the new objective line northward to Route 8 at Lupao, roughly nine miles northwest of San Jose. Reconnaissance would be projected to San Jose, Cabanatuan, and Rizal, the last lying ten miles southeast of San Jose.
Feeling that for the time being the I Corps' advance would provide adequate security along XIV Corps' left rear, Krueger directed XIV Corps to resume its drive toward Manila, first securing crossings over the Pampanga River, twenty-five miles south of Clark Field. Griswold hesitated to commit his "free" unit--the 37th Division less the 129th RCT--to an advance to the Pampanga so hurriedly, for he feared the division might be cut off south of Clark Field if it moved too soon. He wanted another two or three days, at least, of concerted attacks against the Kembu Group so that he could push that force far enough back into the mountains to permit the uninterrupted flow of troops and supplies down Route 3 and reconstructed portions of the Manila Railroad. He also felt that he would have to drive the Kembu Group further into the Zambales Mountains to allow the Allied Air Forces to carry out pressing construction tasks at Clark Field unmolested.
Accordingly, Griswold directed the 37th Division to move to the attack on the 40th Division's left, clearing those portions of Clark Field still controlled by the Japanese and then securing Fort
Stotsenburg and the high ground immediately west and southwest of the fort area. While not complying entirely with Krueger's orders to get to the Pampanga, Griswold did direct the 37th Division to send reconnaissance south along Route 3 to San Fernando, Pampanga Province, fifteen miles beyond Clark Field. From San Fernando Route 7 stretched southwestward into Bataan. Once it had captured San Fernando, Griswold's orders read, the 37th Division would reconnoiter southwest along Route 7 to gain contact with XI Corps and would patrol southeastward along Route 3 to the Pampanga crossings.
The missions Griswold assigned him forced a wholesale reshuffling of units upon Maj. Gen. Robert S. Beightler, the 37th Division's commander. First, with I Corps resuming its advance southward, Beightler needed only one battalion of his 129th Infantry to protect the XIV Corps' left rear, and he decided to employ the rest of the regiment in the attack on Fort Stotsenburg. To bring the regiment up to strength for this task, he attached to it a battalion of the 145th Infantry. The rest of the 145th would strike west from Angeles to clear the high ground south and southwest of Fort Stotsenburg. To the 148th Infantry and the 37th Reconnaissance Troop fell the 37th Division's other missions.
As the 37th Division swung into action against the Kembu Group, the 40th Division would continue its drive southwestward in the area north of the Bamban River, its objective ground rising to over 1,500 feet three to four miles beyond the 160th Infantry's deepest penetration. The 160th Infantry was to make the main effort in the 40th Division's sector, its axis of advance to be the steep-sided Hill 636 ridge line running in a southwesterly direction along the north bank of the Bamban River. The 108th Infantry would continue its drive on the 160th's right and would eliminate the last pockets of resistance along the Takayama Detachment's section of the OPLR. The 185th Infantry and the 40th Reconnaissance Troop would continue to protect the XIV Corps line of communications back to Lingayen Gulf, patrol into the northern portion of the Zambales Mountains, and secure the Sixth Army's right rear.24
XIV Corps' new attack, scheduled to start at 0700 on 28 January, would be launched against a Japanese force that still held many positions along its OPLR, that was still under centralized control, that had lost few of the weapons with which it had begun to fight, and that still held excellent defensive terrain from which it could observe every movement made by the assaulting Americans. The 108th Infantry had yet to overrun some Takayama Detachment OPLR defenses; the 160th Infantry, having destroyed the OPLR in its sector, would drive directly into the Takaya--not the Takayama--Detachment's sector in the center of the Kembu Group MLR; the 129th and 145th Infantry Regiments would slam into the Eguchi Detachment OPLR, undisturbed so far except by air and artillery bombardments. On 27 January the Yanagimoto Detachment withdrew its tanks and infantry to the Fort Stotsenburg area, in effect setting up another defensive line between the Eguchi Detachment OPLR and MLR.25 The 129th Infantry would head directly
into the strengthened Eguchi Detachment sector.
Closing With the Kembu Group's MLR
Leading off the new attack, the 129th Infantry struck westward from the vicinity of Culayo about 0715 on 28 January and within two and a half hours gained firm contact all across the Eguchi Detachment OPLR.26 Fire coming from a block of destroyed hangars and mine fields at the western end of Runway No. 2, two miles west of Culayo, stopped the regiment's right, which mediums of the 754th Tank Battalion supported. The 129th's left reached the outskirts of barrio Tacondo, off the southeastern corner of Fort Stotsenburg, but halted when hit by Japanese small arms and machine gun fire and by a misplaced Fifth Air Force strike. The supporting tanks stopped at another mine field. The Japanese had strewn mines liberally in the 129th Infantry's sector, the extent of their mining operations indicated by the fact that during the period 28-31 January the 37th Division removed almost 1,350 mines from Clark Field and Fort Stotsenburg.
Meanwhile, north of the Bamban River, the 160th Infantry encountered surprisingly light opposition as it swept on along its ridge line to seize open-crested Hill 620, a mile beyond Hill 636. But Japanese automatic weapons, mortars, and artillery pinned down the regiment as, during the afternoon, it drove 1,200 yards west of Hill 620 on an ever-broadening front. At 1900 Japanese infantry counterattacked, and the 160th had to withdraw its forward companies some 700 yards in order to refuse its right (north) flank, which was bearing the brunt of the attack. The next day, still operating on open ground, the regiment pulled in its right and narrowed its front to a width closely corresponding to that of the Takaya Detachment MLR.
By this time the American units were dividing the ground among themselves much as the Japanese had divided it. The 108th Infantry, on the 40th Division's right, was now fighting only against the Takayama Detachment; the 160th Infantry's adversary was the Takaya Detachment; the 129th Infantry faced the Eguchi Detachment. The similarity in deployment, based upon the terrain compartments of the area, illustrates the fact that the principles of terrain appreciation often differ little from one army to another.27
On 29 January the 160th Infantry gained almost two miles in a southwesterly direction across a front nearly a mile wide, breaking through a strongpoint at the very center of the Takaya Detachment MLR. The Japanese reacted with several small-scale counterattacks during the night, but achieved nothing. In this success the 160th Infantry lost 10 men killed, about 70 wounded, and nearly 50 evacuated because of heat exhaustion and combat fatigue.
For the 129th Infantry, action began on 29 January with an unsuccessful Eguchi Detachment counterattack. The American regiment's advance started about 0915, after an artillery and 4.2-inch mortar preparation and after awaiting a Fifth Air Force strike that failed to materialize. Against increasingly heavy fire from all types of Japanese weapons, the 129th Infantry overran the right of the Eguchi Detachment OPLR by 1630 and started into the ruins of the Fort Stotsenburg camp area. Fifteen minutes later six Yanagimoto Detachment tanks counterattacked at barrio Tacondo, hitting the 3d Battalion, 129th Infantry, on its right. Since the battalion's supporting tanks had just withdrawn to replenish fuel and ammunition,28 only infantry machine guns and a lone Cannon Company self-propelled mount--which was promptly knocked out along with most of its crew--at first opposed the Japanese tanks. Other self-propelled mounts, as well as vehicles from the 637th Tank Destroyer Battalion quickly came up, and the Japanese tanks began to withdraw. Four Yanagimoto Detachment tanks were ultimately knocked out, as were two vehicles of the 637th.
The two Japanese counterattacks on the 29th had been launched with the hope that the OPLR might be restored and held at least another day or two. With their failure General Tsukada, the Kembu Group commander, ordered the Eguchi Detachment to withdraw to its MLR positions. For the Yanagimoto Detachment the losses, coupled with attrition in other, lesser contacts and with losses from American artillery fire during the preceding few days, marked the end of an armored unit. The detachment's survivors pulled back into the Eguchi Detachment MLR.29
These Kembu Group orders must have been issued about the same time that General Beightler gave the 129th Infantry new instructions deriving from a chain of events over which the regiment had no control. Taking stock of the situation in the Clark Field area on 29 January, General Krueger was not too well pleased. Passing on the pressure earlier placed upon him by General MacArthur, Krueger reminded Griswold that strategic considerations made it imperative to seize the entire Clark Field air center promptly, and directed the XIV Corps commander to press the attack with the "utmost vigor."30
Griswold passed on the pressure to the 37th and 40th Divisions, ordering the 37th to secure Fort Stotsenburg and the high ground to the immediate west by dark on 30 January, simultaneously broadening its front to the right.31 Thus far a gap of two miles had separated the 129th Infantry's right and the left of the 160th Infantry, on the north bank of the Bamban. From a position on high
ground near barrio Dolores, situated on the south bank of the river, Japanese automatic weapons and mortars from an Eguchi Detachment OPLR strongpoint had been harassing the 160th Infantry. This strongpoint, and two other OPLR positions between Dolores and the 129th Infantry's right, had to be eliminated before the 160th Infantry could continue southwestward and before the security of all the Clark Field runways could be assured.
The last unit to receive the impact of the pressure from higher headquarters was the unit in contact, the 129th Infantry, which General Beightler directed to extend its right as far as the Bamban River and secure the Dolores area.32 The regiment cleared the hills near Dolores with little difficulty on 30 January, most of the defenders having already withdrawn in accordance with the Kembu Group's orders of the 29th. Since the Eguchi Detachment had abandoned practically its last forward positions during the night and since the Yanagimoto Detachment had also withdrawn to the MLR, the 129th Infantry encountered only light opposition as it continued westward, securing the rubble of Fort Stotsenburg by dusk on the 30th. Before dark, right flank units, driving into rising ground west of the camp area, gained contact with an Eguchi Detachment MLR strongpoint. So easily had the advance been made during the day that it appeared that all the dominating high ground close to Fort Stotsenburg could be cleared without much trouble.
Meanwhile, north of the Bamban, the 160th Infantry battled on against the Takaya Detachment MLR. Resistance was stiffer than any the 160th had yet encountered, and the regiment, losing 11 men killed and 86 wounded, gained only 500 yards of new ground during the day. The 108th Infantry continued to make local advances in its area and by evening on the 30th had finally secured Hill 5. The 108th also cleared Thrall Hill, a height 1,000 yards south of Hill 5 that remnants of Takaya Detachment OPLR units defended fiercely. With the seizure of Thrall Hill the 40th Division had overrun almost the last of the isolated OPLR pockets.
On 31 January the 108th Infantry instituted long-range patrolling westward, making no contact with organized Japanese forces. The 160th Infantry, to the south, again could make very little progress in the face of fanatic opposition, although the regiment had the closest possible artillery support and was also supported by tanks brought up along flat ground on the north bank of the Bamban.
As had been the case of the 30th, the key action on 31 January took place along the 129th Infantry's front. The regiment's objective for the day was a large, bare-sloped commanding hill mass known as Top of the World, lying about 1,200 yards beyond Fort Stotsenburg and marking the western limits of the XIV Corps' objective area as then defined. The Eguchi Detachment had the open approaches to the 1,000-foot-high hill mass covered with 20-mm., 25-mm., and 40-mm. automatic weapons, the fires of which were reinforced by a few mortars and light artillery pieces. Once Top of the World and nearby knobs were taken, the security of Fort Stotsenburg and Clark Field could be assured against fire from anything except long-range artillery.
The 1st Battalion, 129th Infantry, launched the attack against Top of the World at 0900 on 31 January. Delayed and sometimes pinned in place by Japanese fire during the morning, the battalion secured the steep, grassy, southern and southeastern slopes of the hill by midafternoon, and before dark some troops were halfway up those slopes. On the morning of the next day, 1 February, there was considerable maneuvering by small units all across the hill's open slopes, and from time to time the defenders and the attackers almost reached the point of engaging in games of catch with hand grenades. Despite determined resistance on the part of the Japanese, the 129th Infantry battalion gained the crest of the hill mass at 1330. Clark Field was secure.
The Attack Through the End of January
With the seizure of Top of the World and the 160th Infantry's concomitant penetration of the Takaya Detachment MLR, the critical phase of XIV Corps' battle against the Kembu Group came to a successful end. The 37th and 40th Divisons had overrun the group's OPLR, they had pierced the MLR in both the Takaya and the Eguchi Detachment sectors, and they had destroyed the Yanagimoto Detachment as an armored force. They had inflicted over 2,500 casualties on the Japanese, whose fanaticism and tenacity is illustrated in part, at least, by the fact that the American forces had taken less than 10 prisoners in the Clark Field area since the attack began on 24 January. Through 31 January the 37th and 40th Divisions, together with reinforcing units, had lost roughly 150 men killed and 600 wounded. As usual, the infantry bore the brunt of the losses. The casualties of the four regiments participating in the attack west from Route 3 approximated:33
Regiment Killed Wounded Total 129th 50 230 280 145th 5 10 15 108th 30 125 155 160th 45 215 260 Total 130 580 710
Probably an equal number of men had had to be evacuated from the front lines as the result of injuries, sickness, heat exhaustion, and combat fatigue.
Of greater significance than the casualties were the tactical results of the battle against the Kembu Group through 31 January. XIV Corps had secured the Clark Field air center for the Allied Air Forces--construction work had already begun and the Fifth Air Force planes would soon be flying from repaired strips. Next, the corps, pushing the Kembu Group westward, had assured for itself the uninterrupted flow of supplies down Route 3 and the Manila Railroad, securing a line of communications along which future advances toward Manila could be supported.
The fight against the Kembu Group was not yet over. Manifestly, the rest of General Tsukada's forces could not be left at large--his strength was still potentially too great--but the XIV Corps had made sufficient progress by 31 January that plans could be made to release one division from the Kembu Group to continue the drive toward Manila.
Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (9) * Next Chapter (11)
1. Sixth Army FO 43, 18 Jan 45; see also above, ch. VIII.
2. The general sources for this section are: Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 23-25; XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, pp. 59-66; XIV Corps G-3 Jnl Files, 19-23 Jan 45; 37th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 25-29; 37th Div G-3 Jnl and Jnl Files, 19-23 Jan 45; 40th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 14-15; 40th Div G-3 Jnl Files, 19-24 Jan 45.
3. Additional material for the 129th Infantry is from: 129th Inf Rpt Luzon, p. 4; 129th Inf S-3 Per Rpts, 19-23 Jan 45; Beightler Comments, 18 Mar 57.
4. Additional information on 40th Division operations is from: 160th Inf Unit Jnls and Jnl Files, 19-23 Jan 45; 108th RCT Jnls and Jnl Files, 19-23 Jan 45.
5. Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 24; Sixth Army FO 44, 21 Jan 45.
6. Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 24; Telecon, CG XIV Corps and DCofS Sixth Army, 21 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 20-22 Jan 45; Memo ACofS G-3 XIV Corps for CofS XIV Corps, sub: Proposed Plan for Capture of Clark Field, 20 Jan 45, XIV Corps G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 20-21 Jan 45; XIV Corps FO 3, 22 Jan 45.
7. For a detailed account of the Death March, see Stanley L. Falk, Bataan: The March of Death (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1962).
8. XIV Corps FO 3, 22 Jan 45; XIV Corps Opns Memo 9, 23 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 22-24 Jan 45; Griswold Comments, 11 Jan 57.
9. Morton, Fall of the Philippines, p. 22.
10. G-2 GHQ SWPA, G-2 Per Summary of Enemy Trends, No. 26, 21 Jan 45, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 21 Jan 45; Sixth Army G-2 Weekly Rpt 71, 17 Jan 45, copy in G-2 DA Files; XIV Corps G-2 Per Rpts 11-14, 21-24 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl Files Luzon, 20-22 through 24-25 Jan 45; Teletype Msg, G-2 XIV Corps to G-2 Sixth Army, 0025 23 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 22-24 Jan 45.
11. 14th Area Army Opnl Order No. A-384, 11 Jan 45, Trans, III, Item 3, p. 19. The remainder of this subsection is based principally on: SWPA Hist Series, II, 447-49; Japanese Studies in WW II, No. 10, Luzon Opns of the Kembu Gp, pp. 4-11, and atchd map; No. 125, Philippine Area Naval Operations, pt. IV, pp. 20-21; 14th Area Army Tr Org List; 10th I&H Staff Study, Japanese Opns on Luzon, Interrog of Col Yasuji Okada (CofS Kembu Gp), pp. 1-2; ibid., Okada Narrative, p. 16; 38th Inf Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 128-30.
12. The antiaircraft battalion was probably a naval unit. Eguchi was also the commander of the 10th Air Sector Unit, an engineer and defense organization, the headquarters of which he used as detachment headquarters.
13. 40th Div FO 7, 22 Jan 45, 160th Inf Jnl File, 23 Jan 45; XIV Corps Opns Memo 9, 23 Jan 45.
14. This subsection is based generally upon: 40th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 15-18; 40th Div G-3 Jnls and Jnl Files, 24-28 Jan 45; 160th Inf Unit Jnls and Jnl Files, 24-28 Jan 45; 108th RCT Jnls and Jnl Files, 24-28 Jan 45; XIV Corps G-3 Jnls and Jnl Files, 24-29 Jan 45.
15. XIV Corps G-2 Per Rpt 14, 24 Jan 45.
16. XIV Corps Opns Memo 10, 24 Jan 45.
17. 40th Div FO 9, 25 Jan 45, 108th RCT Jnl File, 25 Jan 45.
18. Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 29; G-3 40th Div, Summary of Opnl Lessons Learned, MIKE ONE Opn, p. 3, attached to 40th Div Rpt Luzon.
19. 40th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 16-18; 40th Div G-2 Rpts, 25-27 Jan 45, 40th Div G-3 Jnl Files, 25-27 Jan 45; XIV Corps G-2 Per Rpt, 26 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 26-27 Jan 45.
20. MacArthur's forces, retreating into Bataan, had evacuated the Clark Field area during the night of 1-2 January 1942. See Morton, Fall of the Philippines, p. 213.
21. XIV Corps and 37th Div G-3 Per Rpts, 25-28 Jan 45.
22. The general sources for the remainder of this section are: Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 24-27; Sixth Army FO 45, 26 Jan 45, in ibid., I, 147-48; XIV Corps Rpt Luzon, pt. I, p. 69; XIV Corps Opns Memo 11, 27 Jan 45; I Corps FO 7, 27 Jan 45.
23. See below, ch. XVII.
24. 37th Div FO 25, 27 Jan 45; 40th Div FO 10, 27 Jan 45.
25. SWPA Hist Series, II, 449.
26. This subsection is based generally on: 37th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 31-35; 37th Div G-3 Jnl and Jnl Files, 28 Jan-1 Feb 45; 129th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 4-5; 129th Inf, Hist of 129th Inf, 1810-1945, pp. 51-59; 129th Inf Jnl, 28 Jan-2 Feb 45; 129th Inf S-3 Per Rpts, 28 Jan-2 Feb 45; 145th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 13-15; 145th Inf S-3 Jnl, 28-31 Jan 45; 145th Inf S-3 Per Rpts, 28-31 Jan 45; 40th Div G-3 Jnl Files, 28-31 Jan 45; 160th Inf Unit Jnls and Jnl Files, 27-31 Jan 45; 108th RCT Jnls and Jnl Files, 28 Jan-1 Feb 45.
27. The Eguchi Detachment OPLR lay entirely within the 129th Infantry's zone. Its southernmost MLR strongpoint was within the 145th Infantry's zone, but the Eguchi Detachment abandoned this position before the 145th reached it.
28. Hist of 129th Inf, 1810-1945, p. 56. According to an exchange of messages summarized in the 129th Infantry Regimental Journal for the period 1805-1848, 29 January, the regimental and battalion commanders felt that the tanks had withdrawn to avoid Japanese artillery fire; that they refused to return to the front at the time of the Japanese tank attack; and that they did not provide proper support for Cannon Company self-propelled mounts and 637th Tank Destroyer Battalion weapons. The regimental commander reported that he finally got three tanks turned around and back to the front, but not until the Japanese tanks had withdrawn. The records of the other units involved contain no further information on the action.
29. SWPA Hist Series, II, 451.
30. Rad, Krueger to Griswold, WL-827, 29 Jan 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 28-29 Jan 45.
31. Tele Msg, XIV Corps to 37th Div, 1701 29 Jan, Entry 1709, 37th Div G-3 Jnl, Jan-Feb 45.
32. 37th Div FO 36, 29 Jan 45.
33. The table is based upon incomplete, contradictory, and mutually irreconcilable figures contained in the sources cited previously in this chapter.