Chapter XVII
Back to Bataan

The Plans for Opening Manila Bay

Although the seizure of Manila had gained important military advantages for the Allies, the exploitation of those advantages would be severely limited until MacArthur's forces also secured Manila Bay. It availed little to have captured Manila's port, railhead, and storage facilities if access to those facilities could not be obtained by sea--even repairs to port and transportation installations would have to wait until Manila Bay was safe for Allied shipping.

The necessity for developing Manila's base facilities became more pressing with each passing day. The Lingayen Gulf beaches and the temporary subbase established at Nasugbu Bay for the 11th Airborne Division were strained to the utmost to support Sixth Army. An extended period of bad weather would make it next to impossible to continue moving supplies over the Lingayen beaches and down the Central Plains, and the rainy season was approaching.

During the battle for Manila XIV Corps had cleared the eastern shore of Manila Bay. To assure the security of the rest of the bay, it would be necessary to clear Bataan Peninsula, forming the bay's western shore; Corregidor Island, lying across the entrance to the bay; smaller islands off the southwestern shore; and, finally, the southwestern shore itself from Cavite to Ternate, an area the 11th Airborne Division had bypassed during its drive on Manila from the south.

On the eve of the entry into Manila, General Krueger had asked General MacArthur if GHQ SWPA had developed any plans for opening Manila Bay.1 At that time it had appeared to Krueger that the capture of Manila might not take long and that XIV Corps would soon be able to participate in operations to clear the bay's shores. Moreover, XI Corps had recently landed on the west coast of Luzon northwest of Bataan. XI Corps, it seemed, would soon establish contact with XIV Corps in the Central Plains and would then be ready to turn its attention toward Bataan, securing the bay's western shore.

General MacArthur informed Krueger that GHQ SWPA plans called for the earliest possible seizure of Bataan, to be followed by the capture of Corregidor and the clearing of the bay's south shore to Ternate.2 It would be up to General Krueger to formulate detailed plans for the execution of these tasks. Now feeling that XIV Corps might have its hands


full for some time at Manila and subsequently against the Shimbu Group in the mountains east of the capital, Krueger made that corps responsible only for clearing the Cavite-Ternate shore. To the XI Corps, in better position for the tasks than the XIV, he assigned responsibility for securing Bataan and capturing Corregidor.3 Krueger expected XI Corps to be ready to undertake the Bataan and Corregidor operations by mid-February,4 but first the corps had to complete the missions assigned to it when it had landed on Luzon on 29 January.

Maj. Gen. Charles P. Hall's XI Corps, consisting of the 38th Infantry Division and the 24th Division's 34th RCT, had once been prepared to land at Vigan, on Luzon's northwest coast a hundred miles above Lingayen Gulf.5 GHQ SWPA had canceled this operation on 11 January, two days after Sixth Army's assault at Lingayen Gulf. At that time, in the light of the Japanese air reaction at the gulf, planners at GHQ SWPA felt that it would be too risky to send an assault convoy closer to Formosa, where, MacArthur thought, many of the Japanese counterattack aircraft were based. Also, GHQ SWPA had learned that guerrillas already controlled much of the coast in the Vigan region; it was not conceivable that the Japanese troops stationed there posed a threat to Sixth Army's beachhead. MacArthur thereupon directed XI Corps to land on the Zambales coast of Luzon northwest of Bataan.6

The locale selected for the new landing was the San Antonio area of Zambales Province, lying some forty miles west of the southwest corner of the Central Plains and twenty-five miles northwest of the northwest corner of Bataan. The coast is separated from the Central Plains by the Cabusilan Mountains, which form part of the great Zambales Chain stretching northward from the tip of Bataan to the Bolinao Peninsula on the west side of Lingayen Gulf. Providing the only military significant plains area along the west coast, the San Antonio region was the site of San Marcelino Airstrip, about six miles inland via Route 7. Route 7, which runs down the west coast from the Bolinao Peninsula, leads south from San Marcelino over gently rising ground thirteen miles to the U.S. Navy base at Olongapo, at the head of Subic Bay and at the northwest corner of Bataan. From Olongapo the highway follows a twisting route eastward through rough, jungled country across the base of Bataan Peninsula fifteen miles to Dinalupihan. The highway runs northeast another twenty-five miles from Dinalupihan to the junction with Route 3 at San Fernando, which XIV Corps had secured on 28 January.7

In 1942 the Japanese might well have landed on the Zambales coast and cut across Bataan before MacArthur's


Fil-American forces had completed their withdrawal into the peninsula, a contingency that MacArthur had not then overlooked.8 Recalling in 1945 the opportunity that the Japanese had missed three years earlier, MacArthur's decision to land XI Corps at San Antonio bid fair to lay to rest General Willoughby's fears that the Japanese might conduct a "historically repetitive delaying action" on Bataan.9 Thus, XI Corps' primary mission was to drive rapidly across the base of Bataan in order to prevent any substantial Japanese withdrawal into the peninsula. Second, the corps would seize and secure airfield sites in the San Antonio-San Marcelino area so that the Allied Air Forces could broaden the base of its air deployment on Luzon and more easily project air power over the South China Sea. Finally, XI Corps was to fall upon the Kembu Group's right rear if that Japanese force was still holding up the XIV Corps advance to Manila Bay by the time General Hall's troops reached the Central Plains from the west coast.10

Yamashita had no plans to retire into Bataan for the purpose of denying Manila Bay to the Allies--or for any other purpose.11 Having decided that the defense of Manila Bay was beyond the capabilities of his forces, Yamashita believed that if he concentrated his troops in the cul-de-sac of Bataan they would be cut to pieces more rapidly (and by lesser Allied ground strength) that they would in the three mountain strongholds he had established. In northern Luzon, where he concentrated the bulk of his strength and most of his best troops, he would have far greater opportunity for maneuver and a considerably greater chance to provide his forces with the food requisite to a protracted stand than he would on Bataan. He considered he could longer delay the reconquest of Luzon and, thereby, Allied progress toward Japan, from the Shobu, Kembu, and Shimbu positions than he could from Bataan. As it was, Japanese forces--acting against Yamashita's orders, it is true--were able to deny Manila Bay to the Allies for some two months after Sixth Army's landing at Lingayen Gulf.12 It seems self-evident that the Luzon Campaign of 1945, taken as a whole, would have been over far sooner had Yamashita decided to concentrate in the blind alley of Bataan.13

Allied intelligence agencies estimated that the Japanese had nearly 13,000 troops in the Bataan-Zambales Province area, 5,000 of them in the region immediately north of Bataan and the rest on


the peninsula.14 GHQ SWPA expected that XI Corps would meet the first significant resistance along Route 7 across the base of Bataan Peninsula, and further believed that operations to clear the peninsula would probably follow the pattern established by the Japanese in 1942.15

Actually, the Japanese had less than 4,000 troops in the XI Corps objective area. The principal force was the 10th Division's 39th Infantry (less 1st Battalion), which Yamashita diverted to Bataan late in December when he canceled plans to ship the unit to Leyte.16 The regimental commander, Col. Sanenobu Nagayoshi, also had under his control two provisional infantry companies, a platoon of light tanks, a reinforced battery of mixed artillery, and minor Army and Navy base defense and service force detachments. The entire force, including the 39th Infantry, was designated the Nagayoshi Detachment, which was nominally under General Tsukada, Kembu Group commander. Having once instructed the Nagayoshi Detachment to block Route 7 in order to protect the Kembu Group right rear, Tsukada, when XIV Corps reached the Clark Field area, directed Colonel Nagayoshi to pull his troops out of the Bataan-Zambales area into the main Kembu positions. Before these orders reached the Nagayoshi Detachment, that Japanese force was under attack by XI Corps, and all opportunity to make an orderly withdrawal had vanished.

The Nagayoshi Detachment's strongest concentration--some 2,750 men--was dug in athwart Route 7 along the base of Bataan Peninsula. Here, Colonel Nagayoshi stationed the 3d Battalion, 39th Infantry, his tanks, most of his artillery, and his regimental troops. One provisional infantry company garrisoned Olongapo; a company of the 2d Battalion, 39th Infantry, was at San Marcelino Airstrip; and the rest of the Nagayoshi Detachment--about 1,000 troops--held scattered outposts along the eastern, western, and southern shores of Bataan.

Against Nagayoshi's 4,000, XI Corps landed with nearly 40,000 troops, including 5,500 Allied Air Forces personnel who were to prepare a fighter base at San Marcelino Airstrip. Staged at Leyte by Eighth Army, XI Corps sailed to Luzon aboard vessels of Task Group 78.3, Admiral Struble commanding. A small force of cruisers, destroyers, and escort carriers was available to provide gunfire and air support at the beachhead. Fifth Air Force planes, responsible for protecting the convoy on its way from Leyte to Luzon, were to take over air support tasks within a day or two after XI Corps landed. Once XI Corps had secured a beachhead and captured San Marcelino Airstrip, it would pass from Eighth to Sixth Army control.17

Already well along in its preparations for the Vigan operation, XI Corps encountered few difficulties in making ready for its new assignment other than


those involved in collecting and disseminating terrain data. Sufficient information was available for tactical plans to be drawn up quickly, and only a few minor changes had to be made in logistical plans. Again, planning in the Southwest Pacific Area proved remarkably flexible. Loading and movement to the objective area were accomplished without untoward incident; at dawn on 29 January the ships of the assault convoy were in position off San Antonio, ready to begin landing operations.

Sealing Off Bataan: A Study in Command

Maneuvering Inland

Preassault bombardment of the XI Corps beachhead was scheduled to begin at 0730 on the 29th, but Admiral Struble canceled it when Filipino guerrillas, sailing out in small craft to greet the American convoy, reported that there were no Japanese in the landing area.18 XI Corps then proceeded to land with four regiments abreast, the 34th Infantry on the right (south) and each regiment in column of battalions, across a front extending almost six miles north along the coast from San Antonio. The first wave, reaching shore on schedule at 0830, was greeted by cheering Filipinos who eagerly lent a hand at unloading.

The 149th Infantry, 38th Division, dashed inland to take San Marcelino Airstrip, but upon arrival found that guerrillas under Capt. Ramon Magsaysay, later President of the Republic of the Philippines, had secured the field three days earlier. The 24th Reconnaissance Troop, attached to the 34th RCT, sped on south along Route 7 to the north shore of Subic Bay before dark. Nowhere did XI Corps troops encounter any opposition during the day, and the only casualty of the assault seems to have been an enlisted man of Company F, 151st Infantry, 38th Division, who was gored by one of the notoriously ill-tempered Filipino carabao.19 Tactical surprise had been complete. Colonel Nagayoshi did not even learn of the landing until the next day, and then he thought that XI Corps had come ashore at Subic Bay.20

General Hall assumed command ashore about 0800 on 30 January, and simultaneously Eighth Army passed control of XI Corps to Sixth Army. A few hours later the reinforced 2d Battalion, 151st Infantry, seized Grande Island, lying across the entrance to Subic Bay, against no opposition, and after a sharp skirmish at the outskirts of Olongapo the 34th Infantry took the town.

With these two actions XI Corps-had completed its initial tasks. Subic Bay was secure for base development; the San Marcelino Airstrip had been taken, and work on the fighter field had already started. The entire XI Corps was ashore, and the only significant difficulty yet encountered had resulted from poor beach conditions, which had delayed discharge


XI CORPS LANDING AREA ON WESTERN COAST OF LUZON, Zambales Mountains in background.

of heavy equipment. All in all, the operation had gone unexpectedly well so far, and XI Corps was ready to begin its next job--the drive across the base of Bataan Peninsula to cut Japanese routes of access and establish contact with XIV Corps.

General Hall's plan called for the 38th Division, less the 151st RCT in XI Corps Reserve, to pass through the 34th Infantry at Olongapo and drive rapidly eastward. He directed Maj. Gen. Henry L. C. Jones, the commander of the 38th Division, to advance along Route 7 and "routes north thereof," the advance to be so conducted that the two columns, moving along separate axes, could be mutually supporting.21 General Jones, in turn, decided to push the 152d Infantry east along Route 7 while the 149th Infantry, less 1st Battalion in division reserve, was to strike eastward via a rough trail that XI Corps headquarters believed paralleled Route 7 on rising ground about 1,200 yards north of the highway. General Hall apparently expected that the 149th Infantry, bypassing whatever opposition might be found along Route 7, would reach Dinalupihan quickly. Then the regiment could, if necessary, turn back west along the highway to help the 152d Infantry reduce any Japanese defenses that might still be holding out. While he set no time limit for the operation, subsequent events indicate that General Hall felt that the two regiments of the 38th Division could clear Route 7 through to Dinalupihan by evening on 5 February.22

Neither the XI Corps nor the 38th Division as yet had much detailed information


about Japanese strength and deployment along Route 7.23 Lt. Col. Gyles Merrill, commanding guerrillas in Zambales and Bataan Provinces, estimated that 2,000 to 5,000 Japanese, armed with machine guns, artillery, tanks, antitank guns, and mortars, were well dug in along Route 7, but XI Corps seems to have taken this estimate with a grain of salt.24 As a matter of fact, the 152d Infantry began its drive across Bataan with an estimate that it might meet as few as 900 Japanese on Route 7 instead of the 2,750 or more that Colonel Nagayoshi actually had stationed there.25

As had been the case for XIV Corps troops in Manila, the XI Corps' advancing infantry would not discover the main body of the Japanese on Route 7 until actually in contact at the principal defenses, for Colonel Nagayoshi had established only one relatively weak outpost position between Olongapo and his strongest concentrations. He deployed his main strength in a series of mutually supporting strongpoints along and on both sides of Route 7 in an area that began approximately three miles northeast of Olongapo and extended eastward another three miles through rough terrain known as ZigZag Pass. The Japanese defenses ran from northwest to southeast across Route 7, which meant that the left of the 152d Infantry would come into contact with the Japanese right before the 152d's right even approached the Japanese left.

Nagayoshi had chosen his ground well. While more rugged terrain than the ZigZag Pass area is to be found on Luzon, few pieces of ground combine to the same degree both roughness and dense jungle. Route 7 twists violently through the pass, following a line of least terrain resistance that wild pigs must originally have established. The jungle flora in the region is so thick that one can step five yards off the highway and not be able to see the road. The Japanese had honeycombed every hill and knoll at the ZigZag with foxholes linked by tunnels or trenches; at particularly advantageous points they had constructed strongpoints centered on log and dirt pillboxes. All the defenses were well camouflaged, for rich, jungle foliage covered most positions, indicating that many had been prepared with great care and had been constructed well before Nagayoshi's 39th Infantry had reached the area in December.26 Few if any of the installations dated back to 1942, when elements of MacArthur's command that were deployed in the ZigZag Pass area had withdrawn into Bataan before constructing many defenses and had left the Japanese to occupy the pass against no opposition.27

Colonel Nagayoshi had plenty of food and ammunition for a prolonged stand,



and he also possessed numerous mortars and machine guns. His artillery, however, was inadequate for the task at hand and he lacked certain types of medical supplies, especially malaria preventatives and cures. Having left only one minor outpost along Route 7 between Olongapo and the ZigZag, he made no attempt to cover that open, three-mile stretch of road with fire. He had so scattered his mortars and artillery in order to protect them against American artillery and air strikes that his troops would often have difficulty massing their fires. Finally, his defensive line was scarcely 2,000 yards wide northwest to southeast, thus rendering his whole position susceptible to vigorous outflanking maneuvers. On the other hand, he had good troops, well-prepared positions, and excellent defensive terrain.

Into Contact

On the morning of 31 January the 152d Infantry, leaving one battalion to reduce the Japanese outpost a mile and a half northeast of Olongapo, marched on another mile and a half to the point where Route 7 began climbing jungled


hills into the ZigZag.28 Opposition so far had been limited to scattered rifle fire and a few bursts of long-range machine gun fire, but as attacks against the first Japanese strongpoints began the next morning, 1 February, the 152d Infantry ran into increasingly determined resistance.29 On 1 February the problem of the actual location of the various American units arose to plague the 152d Infantry, the 38th Division, and the XI Corps. Route 7 twisted so violently and the terrain through which it passed was so densely jungled that the 152d had considerable trouble orienting itself on the map, which was none too accurate to begin with. Secondly, the 38th Division was employing a map code that soon proved highly susceptible to garblings and misunderstandings as one echelon reported its supposed locations to another.30 Finally, the 152d Infantry often had trouble getting its radios to work properly in the thick vegetation of the ZigZag area.

Map 8
ZigZag Pass
1 February 1945

The 152d Infantry, during the morning of 1 February, approached the western entrance to an irregularly shaped horseshoe curve on Route 7. (Map 8) The horseshoe curve rounded, and partly crossed, the nose of a northwest-southeast ridge. Open on the north, the horseshoe measured some 200 yards west to east across its northern points; the western leg was about 250 yards long, north to south; the eastern leg 325 yards long; and the southern leg, almost 275 yards across, west to east. In the center, at its broadest, the horseshoe measured nearly 300 yards. At 38th Division headquarters on 1 February it was the consensus that the 152d Infantry's leading battalion had fought its way around the horseshoe and by dusk was anywhere from 150 to 300 yards east along Route 7 beyond the horseshoe's northeastern corner. According to the regimental operations officer, the leading battalion did not even reach the horseshoe on 1 February. Rather, the battalion, which faced strong opposition all day, made only 500 yards in an easterly direction and dug in for


Map 9
ZigZag Pass
2 February 1945

the night of 1-2 February at a point almost 200 yards west of the horseshoe's northwestern corner.31 A study of all available regimental and battalion records indicates that on 1 February at least one company of the 152d's leading battalion reached the southeastern corner of the horseshoe but withdrew before dark to rejoin the rest of the battalion west of the horseshoe.32

Whatever its location, the 152d Infantry had begun to fight its way into a veritable hornet's nest of Japanese. The leading battalion, the 1st, had rough going all day, and had had to spend most of its time trying to find and isolate Japanese positions. During the following night, the Japanese launched a number of small-scale counterattacks against the battalion and harassed it with mortar and artillery fire, which inflicted some casualties not only on the 1st Battalion but also on the 2d and 3d, now about 1,500 yards to the west along Route 7. By dawn on 2 February the regiment's casualties since it had begun moving through the 34th Infantry about noon on 31 January totaled 17 men killed, 48 wounded, and 2 missing.

Plans for 2 February called for the 152d to sweep rising ground along both sides of Route 7, simultaneously smashing through the ZigZag along the highway. That day the 3d Battalion discovered strong Japanese defenses along a northwest-southeast ridge north of the horseshoe. (Map 9) Unable to locate the north flank of these Japanese positions, the battalion hit the defenses in the center but gained nothing. Japanese pressure forced the unit generally southeast along the western slope of the ridge, and the battalion sideslipped back to Route 7 near the northwestern corner of the horseshoe. The 2d Battalion, operating south of the highway, more than kept abreast of the 3d but, because of the southeastward slant of the Japanese line, located no strong defenses. Since there seemed to be little point in holding ground no Japanese occupied, and since the 3d Battalion had made no progress against the Japanese right north of Route 7, the 2d Battalion pulled back to the highway. In the center, meanwhile, the 1st Battalion had gained no new ground along Route 7 through the horseshoe.


The 152d's positions at dark on 2 February were again a matter of some dispute. General Jones now believed that the 2d and 3d Battalions were on the horseshoe's eastern leg near the northeastern corner,33 and that the 1st Battalion was well into the horseshoe. Other reports indicate, however, that the entire regiment reassembled for the night west of the horseshoe. From subsequent developments, it appears that elements of the 152d had reached the northeastern corner of the horseshoe on 2 February but that the 2d and 3d Battalions actually held for the night along the western leg while the 1st Battalion occupied its previous night's bivouac to the west.

Casualties on 2 February numbered 5 men killed, 26 wounded, and 1 missing, for a total since noon on 31 January of 22 killed, 74 wounded, and 3 missing. It is perhaps indicative of the nature of the terrain in which the 152d Infantry was fighting that the regiment claimed to have killed only 12 Japanese from noon on 31 January to dark on 2 February.

The attack of 2 February had developed somewhat slowly, primarily because the 1st and 3d Battalions had been shaken up by the Japanese counterattacks and artillery and mortar fire of the previous night and, having lost some key company officers and NCO's, faced serious reorganization problems. At any rate, when General Hall came up to the front about noon, he found the 152d Infantry barely under way. Dissatisfied with the progress. Hall informed General Jones that the exhibition of Jones's division was the worst he had ever seen34--a rather severe indictment of an entire division, only one regiment of which, the 152d Infantry, had yet seen any real action on Luzon. The 152d was a green unit that had been in combat scarcely forty-eight hours by noon on 2 February. General Jones, in turn, was none too happy about the conduct of the 152d and had been especially displeased by the performance of the 3d Battalion. Late that day he relieved the regimental commander, Col. Robert L. Stillwell. Lt. Col. Jesse E. McIntosh, the regimental executive officer, thereupon took over the command. Not satisfied that this change would produce the results he desired, General Hall directed the 34th Infantry to pass through the 152d and continue the attack eastward. The 34th would operate under the direct control of Headquarters, XI Corps; the 152d Infantry, remaining under Jones's command, would follow the 34th through the ZigZag to mop up bypassed pockets of Japanese resistance.35 Dividing the command at the point of contact, General Hall in effect left General Jones in command of only one regiment, the 152d Infantry. The 151st Infantry was still in XI Corps reserve and the 149th, while ostensibly under Jones's control, was still off on the bypassing mission to Dinalupihan that had been undertaken at corps direction.

The relief of the 152d Infantry and its commander, and the insertion of the 34th Infantry at the horseshoe under corps control, reflected primarily a combination


Map 10
ZigZag Pass
3 February 1945

of Hall's expectation of a rapid drive across Bataan and a misapprehension on his part concerning the strength and location of the Japanese defenses along Route 7. Hall believed that the 152d Infantry had at most encountered only an outpost line of resistance, that the principal Japanese defenses lay a mile or so east of the horseshoe, and that the 152d Infantry had found "nothing that an outfit ready to go forward could not overcome quickly."36 The 38th Division and the 152d Infantry, on the other hand, were convinced that the 152d was up against something "big" and had reached the Japanese main line of resistance. As events were to prove, the 38th Division and the 152d Infantry were more nearly correct as of evening on 2 February than was XI Corps.

Frustration at the Horseshoe

The 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry, encountered some harassing fire from Japanese mortars and artillery on the morning of 3 February as it passed through the 152d Infantry and moved deep into the horseshoe.37 (Map 10) While one company struck north and northeast from the horseshoe's northwestern corner, the rest of the battalion followed Route 7 around to the eastern leg, retracing the 152d Infantry's path. The 34th's company on the north, hitting some of the same ridge line defenses that the 3d Battalion, 152d Infantry, had previously encountered, slid back southeast just as had the 152d's battalion, and dug in for the night not far east of the horseshoe's northwestern corner. The main body of the 1st Battalion, 34th Infantry, was unable to move more than halfway north along the eastern leg before Japanese fire from high, dominating terrain 200 yards east of that arm halted it. Seeking to outflank this opposition, Company A struck off to the southeast from the horseshoe's southeastern corner. The company reached a point on the northern slopes of Familiar Peak about 700 yards southeast of its line of departure, but was then pinned down and surrounded. Meanwhile the 2d and 3d Battalions, 152d Infantry, patrolling behind the 34th Infantry's battalion, had knocked out a few isolated Japanese strongpoints and dug in for the night both north and east along Route 7 from the horseshoe's southwestern corner. The 1st Battalion, 152d, remained west of the horseshoe.

If one thing was obvious by dusk on 3 February it was that the 34th Infantry


had employed insufficient strength for the task at hand--it had committed only one battalion to do a job that three battalions of the 152d had been unable to accomplish. Accordingly, Col. William W. Jenna, commanding the 34th, decided to employ his entire regiment in a three-pronged attack. His 1st Battalion would concentrate against the Japanese on the dominating ground east of the horseshoe's eastern leg; the 2d Battalion would clear the Japanese from the northeastern corner area, undertaking flanking maneuvers north of Route 7; and the 3d Battalion would clear the highway to and beyond the northeastern corner, initially following the 2d Battalion.

On 4 February the 34th's attack went well at first, but in the face of continued strong opposition, including heavy mortar and artillery fire, the regiment before dusk had to give up much of the ground it gained during the day. The 1st Battalion dug in for the night farther south along the horseshoe's eastern leg than it had the previous night, although it retained a hold on some terrain east of that leg. The 2d Battalion had knocked out some strongpoints along the southern end of the Japanese right flank defenses in the area north of Route 7, but Japanese fire drove most of the unit back to the road late in the afternoon. (Map 11) The 3d Battalion, because the 2d had made no permanent progress, had not gone into action.

Map 11
ZigZag Pass
4 February 1945

General Jones had meanwhile directed the 152d Infantry to renew its attacks against the Japanese right, north of Route 7. The 1st Battalion, 152d, in a wide envelopment from the west, at first had considerable success, but late in the afternoon, just when it seemed that the battalion was about to overrun the strongest positions along the ridge line, a vicious Japanese mortar and artillery barrage drove the unit back south to Route 7. This was the fourth time in three days that the Japanese had thwarted American attempts to clear the ridge north of the horseshoe.

The fighting at the horseshoe on 3 and 4 February cost the 34th Infantry 41 men killed, 131 wounded, and 6 missing while on the same days the 152d Infantry lost 4 men killed, 48 wounded, and 1 missing. The 34th Infantry had extended the front a little to the north of the horseshoe and a bit east of the eastern leg, but neither the 34th Infantry nor the 152d Infantry had made any substantial gains beyond the point the 152d had reached on 2 February. The Japanese still held strong positions north of the horseshoe and they still controlled the northeastern corner and about half the eastern leg. The 34th Infantry's greatest contribution during the two


days, perhaps, was to have helped convince General Hall that the Japanese had strong defenses throughout the ZigZag area and that the regiment had indeed reached a Japanese main line of resistance. It had not been until evening on 3 February that the XI Corps' G-2 Section had been willing to concede that the Japanese might have strong defenses at the ZigZag, and it was not until the next evening that General Hall was convinced that the 34th and 152d Infantry Regiments had encountered a well-defended Japanese line.38

Apparently, Hall's conviction that his troops had come up against a Japanese main line of resistance led to a second conviction that the fight at the horseshoe would henceforth go better if he unified the command there. At any rate, late on the 4th, Hall attached the 34th Infantry to the 38th Division and directed Jones to attack eastward early on 5 February with all the strength he could bring to bear. Speed, General Hall went on, was essential.39

General Jones planned to reduce the Japanese strongpoints methodically with a series of simultaneous, co-ordinated, battalion-sized attacks. He expected the 152d Infantry to do most of the work initially, while the 34th Infantry completely cleared the horseshoe area and then drove eastward on the south side of Route 7. Foreseeing difficulties in arranging artillery support, Jones limited general artillery support fires to targets east of the Santa Rita River, which crossed Route 7 a mile east of the horseshoe, and required that requests for closer support be cleared through regimental headquarters.40 Individual infantry battalions under this arrangement would be able to get close support only after some delay. The plan also split the 152d Infantry, placing two of its battalions north of the 34th and the third south. Colonel Jenna, commanding the 34th Infantry, objected, suggesting that control and co-ordination would be easier if the 34th Infantry concentrated its efforts south of Route 7 while all the 152d remained north of the road. Jones did not agree, and directed Jenna to execute his attacks as scheduled.41

General Jones realized that his plan left something to be desired and that he was calling for a comparatively slow course of action. Actually, he would have liked to undertake an even slower course by pulling the 34th Infantry back, adjusting all his artillery and mortars carefully, and then staging a co-ordinated, two-regiment attack behind heavy artillery and mortar concentrations. This would have taken about two days, and he knew that General Hall would brook no such delay. He therefore felt that his plan, which called for extensive outflanking


maneuvers north of Route 7 by the 152d Infantry, was the only one that promised success under the circumstances, and he indicated to General Hall that if the plan did not work out he would change it. Jones premised his plan on the belief that the 34th Infantry would be able to carry its share of the load in the new attack, but it appears that he did not have a clear idea of the regiment's situation and condition, probably because the regiment had been operating under corps control for two days.42

Although operations on 5 February started out in a promising manner, the situation in the horseshoe area soon turned into a shambles. The 2d Battalion, 34th Infantry, which had been harassed by Japanese mortar fire throughout the night of 4-5 February, started off on the 5th trying to reduce a Japanese strongpoint near the northeastern corner of the horseshoe. Maneuvering to outflank the strongpoint, the battalion moved well north of Route 7, upsetting plans for close artillery support of the 152d Infantry's battalions. (Map 12) About the time that the 2d Battalion, 34th Infantry, felt it was making good progress, Japanese artillery fire pinned it down. Around 1130, having received a number of casualties, the battalion requested permission to withdraw. Jenna assenting, the battalion began moving back to the west side of the horseshoe. About the same time, increasingly concerned over the casualties his regiment was taking from Japanese mortar and artillery fire, Jenna radioed Jones:

Map 12
ZigZag Pass
5 February 1945

I am convinced that the entire Japanese position opposing XI Corps cannot be cracked unless there is a withdrawal to a point where entire Corps Artillery and all available air work it over with every possible means for at least 48 hours. My 1st and 2nd [Battalions] have suffered terrific casualties and it is becoming questionable how long they can hold up under this pounding. . . . 43

Jenna's thinking was obviously in line with that of General Jones, but the 38th Division commander, mindful of Hall's insistence upon speed, did not act upon Jenna's recommendation and sent no immediate reply to the regimental commander.

Shortly after 1200, when his 1st Battalion, on the horseshoe's eastern leg, began reporting heavy casualties from Japanese artillery, Colonel Jenna decided to withdraw that unit west of the horseshoe. His reserve battalion, the 3d, had moved up to the northwestern corner of the horseshoe and had started


to probe across its open end, over the ridge line, in preparation for its share in the attack. When the 1st and 2d Battalions began withdrawing, the 3d had to hold to cover. The 1st Battalion, during its withdrawal in the afternoon, was harassed by Japanese artillery and mortar fire, which also hit forward elements of the 3d. By 1740 on the 5th the entire 34th Infantry was again west of the horseshoe--the regiment was, indeed, behind its line of departure of the morning of 3 February.

Having received information that the 152d Infantry's attacks were going well, Jenna apparently felt that his withdrawal could not redound to the advantage of the Japanese. He was, however, primarily concerned with the welfare of his regiment, which had lost another 20 men killed and 60 wounded during the previous twenty-four hours. The 34th Infantry had suffered a total of 325 battle casualties and 25 psychoneurosis cases since coming ashore on 29 January, almost all of them during the period 3-5 February. In its three days at the ZigZag the regiment had lost nearly half as many men as it had during 78 days of combat on Leyte.44 Many of the casualties at the ZigZag had been among key personnel and included the regimental executive officer, 1 battalion commander, 4 company commanders, and 3 first sergeants. The 34th was no longer an effective combat unit, and about 1900 on 5 February General Hall directed General Jones to replace it with the 38th Division's 151st Infantry, which so far had seen practically no fighting.45

The 152d Infantry's operations on 5 February met with limited success. The 2d Battalion relieved Company A, 34th Infantry, at the latter's isolated perimeter some 700 yards off the horseshoes's southeastern corner with little difficulty, the Japanese who had surrounded the company having disappeared during the night. The 2d Battalion remained in the area for the rest of the day and that night, finding only abandoned Japanese positions. North of the horseshoe the 1st Battalion, 152d Infantry, resumed its attacks against the Japanese ridge line defenses, again moving in from the west. The battalion made good gains during the morning and cleared much of the northern and central portions of the ridge. The attack slowed during the afternoon, however, as Japanese opposition stiffened.46 By now the battalion was nearing the southern end of the Japanese-held ridge and was located about 600 yards north-northwest of the horseshoe's northwestern corner. The unit began setting up night defenses in apparently abandoned Japanese positions when suddenly, from a maze of previously undiscovered foxholes, tunnels, and trenches within and without the perimeter Japanese riflemen and machine gunners started pouring out point-blank fire. The 1st Battalion could not employ artillery or mortar support to disperse the Japanese and the battalion's men found it virtually impossible to return the Japanese rifle fire without hitting each other. The best thing to


do seemed to be to escape from the Japanese ambush and the battalion started withdrawing, apparently in a rather disorganized fashion. About dark the first troops began reaching the perimeter of the 3d Battalion of the 34th Infantry, which was in reserve near the northwestern corner of the horseshoe, but it was noon the next day before all the 1st Battalion, 152d, had completely reassembled and reorganized. The battalion's losses for 5 February numbered 9 men killed and 33 wounded, including many key NCO's and company-grade officers. For example, Company C had no officers left and Company B had only one.

Thus, by evening on 5 February, the attack at the ZigZag had ended in failure. Except for the terrain held by the 2d Battalion, 152d Infantry, southeast of the horseshoe, the 152d and 34th Infantry Regiments were no farther forward than the 152d had been on the evening of 2 February. The fighting at the ZigZag had cost the 34th Infantry roughly 70 men killed and 200 wounded, and many of the men left in its three infantry battalions could not be counted as combat effectives. The 152d Infantry, with casualties of about 40 men killed and 155 wounded, was actually little better off, for it had lost an even greater proportion of junior officers and senior NCO's. The 1st Battalion, for instance, had only 15 officers and 660 enlisted combat effectives, and the entire regiment faced serious reorganization problems. Yet 5 February had not been entirely void of good news. The 38th Division's 149th Infantry, which had taken the "high road" eastward, had reached Dinalupihan and had made contact with XIV Corps troops there.

149th Infantry Mix-up

At dusk on 31 January the 149th Infantry had assembled at a branching of the Santa Rita River three and a half miles northeast of Olongapo and about a mile and a quarter northwest of the 152d Infantry's forward elements on Route 7 half a mile west of the horseshoe.47 On 1 February Col. Winfred G. Skelton, the regimental commander, intended to march eastward along the trail XI Corps had designated as far as a north-south line through Bulate, a tiny barrio on Route 7 at the eastern exit of the ZigZag and some four miles east of the horseshoe. Once on this line, the regiment would halt pending new orders. The march started on 1 February with guerrillas and local Negritos guiding. About 1300 Skelton reported to General Jones that the 149th would reach its objective line within three hours, and also that he was on the XI Corps' trail at a point nearly two miles east of the horseshoe and roughly 1,200 yards north of Route 7. Jones, mindful of XI Corps' admonition to keep the 149th and 152d Infantry Regiments within supporting distance of each other, now felt that the 149th was getting too far east of the 152d, and directed Colonel Skelton to halt approximately 2,500 yards west of the original objective line. Well before dark, Skelton reported that his leading battalion was at General Jones's new objective and was digging in along the XI Corps' trail at a point about 750 yards north of


Route 7 at barrio Balsic, a mile west of Bulate.

At this juncture General Jones began receiving reports from 38th Division Artillery liaison planes that the 149th Infantry was no place near the locations Colonel Skelton had reported for it. Jones believed that the 149th's leading elements were about three miles northwest of their reported location.48 Colonel Skelton, on the other hand, insisted that his troops were in the position he had reported, while an XI Corps Artillery liaison plane placed the regiment a mile and a third northwest of Skelton's claim and over a mile and a half southeast of the area in which Jones believed the regiment was located. General Hall evidently chose to believe the report of the XI Corps Artillery aircraft.

In the end, it appears, nobody was right. First, the trail that the XI Corps thought paralleled Route 7 simply did not exist. Instead, almost two miles east the Santa Rita River branching the trail swung off to the northeast. Second, the area through which the 149th Infantry was moving was not only densely wooded but was also unmapped--the 1:50,000 maps the troops were using showed only white for a large area beginning some 2,000 yards north of Route 7--and the liaison planes' reports could at best only be guesses. Third, the guides that Skelton had taken with him had proved unreliable and he had sent them back to camp. Finally, a study of all relevant sources of information indicates that, when it halted, Skelton's leading battalion was almost two miles due north of the position he thought it had reached.

There then ensued a complete breakdown of communications between 38th Division headquarters and the 149th Infantry that created more confusion. About 2100 on the 1st of February General Jones radioed Skelton to return to Santa Rita and start over. The 149th Infantry never received the message. On the other hand, three times by 1130 on the 2d, Skelton radioed Jones for new orders. Before receiving an answer, Skelton had learned that he had incorrectly reported his previous positions, but guerrillas informed him that he need only follow the trail he was already on to swing back southeast to Route 7 near Dinalupihan. Though he relayed this information to General Jones by radio, division headquarters never received the message.

By now, mutual misunderstanding was leading from confusion to chaos. Believing that the 149th Infantry was already on its way back to Santa Rita, Jones had seen no necessity for replying to Skelton's first two requests for new orders. Skelton's third request, which division received about 1115, finally brought forth instructions from Jones for Skelton to move the whole regiment back to the Santa Rita fork at once. Jones apparently had decided to employ the 149th along Route 7, for he informed Skelton that his regiment could be used "to better advantage here."49 Skelton received this message about noon, and immediately started back over the trail, followed by his regiment.


Colonel Skelton reached the 38th Division's command post a mile northeast of Olongapo about 1930 on 2 February, and explained the situation to General Jones. Despite Jones's apparent desire to employ the 149th on Route 7, XI Corps wanted the regiment to try again to reach Dinalupihan on the bypass trail, and now General Hall lifted his previous restriction that the 149th Infantry keep within supporting distance of units on Route 7. At 2330, accordingly, Jones directed Skelton to start back over the trail at 0700 on the 3d. Jones ordered Skelton to try to follow the line of the trail XI Corps had mapped out, but felt that it would not make much difference which trail the 149th followed as long as it reached Dinalupihan quickly.50

Taking off as directed on the 3d, the 149th Infantry followed the trail that arcked to the northeast, swung back southeast at a point about two and a quarter miles north of Balsic, and about 0245 on 5 February made contact near Dinalupihan with patrols of the 40th Division, XIV Corps, which had already reached the town. The march back over the trail had gone without incident, but the bypass maneuver to Dinalupihan had taken five days rather than the two it would have consumed had XI Corps' original orders been less restrictive and had communications been better. Nevertheless, the 149th Infantry had completed one of XI Corps' most important missions, that of denying the Japanese access to Bataan from the Central Plains. The real credit for this accomplishment, however, had to be given to XIV Corps, for its troops, already in Manila by 5 February, had had the Japanese cut off from Bataan for at least three days.51

A Change in Command

Although troops of XI Corps had reached Dinalupihan, the corps had not yet cleared Route 7 across the base of Bataan Peninsula, and until that job was substantially complete the corps could not move to secure the rest of Bataan and undertake its share of operations to clear Manila Bay. General Hall, who had apparently expected that his work in northern Bataan would be over by 5 February, was far from pleased with the course of events so far, and he laid the blame for the failure of his forces to break through the ZigZag on the shoulders of General Jones, the commander of the 38th Division. Hall had, indeed, been thoroughly dissatisfied with the 38th Division's performance for some days, and had already informed General Jones in considerable detail what he thought was wrong with the division.52 The climax of General Hall's dissatisfaction came on 6 February.

As of the morning of the 6th General Jones had under his command in the vicinity of the horseshoe only the 152d Infantry. XI Corps had released the 151st Infantry to him from XI Corps Reserve, but the first elements of that regiment, the 1st Battalion, would not reach the forward area until after 0900, and the rest of the regiment not until morning of the 7th. General Hall had


Map 13
ZigZag Pass
6 February 1945

pulled the 34th Infantry out of the fight and had sent it back to the rear for rest and recuperation. He had also taken the 149th Infantry away from General Jones and had directed that regiment to start an attack westward from Dinalupihan on the morning of 7 February.53

General Jones felt that he probably could not break through with only the one battalion of the 151st Infantry and the two battalions of the 152d that were available to him (the 1st Battalion, 152d Infantry, was not fit for combat on the 6th). Jones had also decided to move the 2d Battalion, 152d Infantry, back from its isolated position southeast of the horseshoe in order to concentrate his forces. The time required to reorganize and redeploy his units for a new attack, together with the relatively slow arrival of the echelons of the 151st Infantry at the front, gave General Jones what he considered a heaven-sent opportunity to adjust artillery and undertake concentrated bombardments before pushing his infantry back into the ZigZag. Jones (and Jenna of the 34th Infantry, as well) had previously recommended that one or two days of aerial and artillery bombardment be thrown against the Japanese, but until the morning of the 6th Jones had had no opportunity to even start employing his artillery in such a manner.

The scheduled artillery concentrations were delayed while the 38th Division waited for an air strike that was late in coming. Shortly after the artillery finally began firing late in the morning General Hall arrived in the forward area. Incensed when he found the infantry was not attacking, Hall asked Jones how long the artillery fire was to last. When Jones replied that he expected to take all day to make sure the artillery carefully registered on all known and suspected targets, Hall told the 38th Division commander "to cut out such precise stuff" and get the attack under way again. Reluctantly, Jones started the 152d Infantry forward.54 The artillery registration that Jones had been able to execute apparently did some good, for the 3d Battalion, 152d Infantry, behind close artillery support, reduced the last Japanese defenses at the northeast corner of the horseshoe during the day and spent the following night along Route 7 just east of that corner. (Map 13) Neither the rest of the 152d Infantry nor the 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry, gained new ground on the 6th, and the 2d Battalion,


152d Infantry, gave up terrain as it withdrew to Route 7 from its position southeast of the horseshoe.

About noon on the 6th, while on his way back to XI Corps' command post, General Hall decided that the fight at the ZigZag would go better under a new commander, and he took the step that he had apparently been contemplating as early as evening on 2 February. He relieved General Jones and placed Brig. Gen. Roy W. Easley, the assistant division commander, in temporary control.55 The next day, 7 February, General Chase, who had led the advance elements of the 1st Cavalry Division into Manila and who was in line for a promotion, arrived to take permanent command of the 38th Division.56

General Hall, whose action had not surprised General Jones,57 gave as his reasons for the relief of Jones:

. . . lack of aggressiveness on the part of his division, unsatisfactory tactical planning and execution and inadequate reconnaissance measures. He failed to produce the results with his division which might be reasonably expected.58

The Reduction of the ZigZag

Just what General Hall expected to result from the change of command at the 38th Division is not clear, although it appears that he anticipated that the division might be able to clear the ZigZag by evening on 7 February.59 If so, Hall was again to be disappointed.

Operations at the ZigZag after 6 February varied little in nature from those before that date.60 Complicated maneuvers through dense jungle and over rough, broken ground characterized each day's action. Again there was considerable backing and filling as some ground gained had to be given up in the face of Japanese artillery and mortar fire and local counterattacks. For example, on 8 February elements of the 151st Infantry, making a bypassing movement south of Route 7, reached the Santa Rita River crossing over a mile east of the horseshoe, but returned to the horseshoe on the 10th.

During the period to 6 February, General Jones had had only one regiment


under his command at the ZigZag most of the time. By contrast, General Chase was able to employ three regiments, less one infantry battalion, from the time he assumed command on 7 February.61 The 151st and 152d Infantry Regiments attacked from the west side of the ZigZag while the 149th Infantry, less one battalion, struck from the east beginning on the 7th. General Chase had another advantage that Jones had not enjoyed. On 6 February Fifth Air Force P-47's started operating from the San Marcelino Airstrip, making close air support readily available. That day the planes began an intensive bombing and strafing program, and simultaneously started giving the ZigZag a good going over with napalm. At the same time, corps and division artillery were able to step up the pace of their support firing.62 Nevertheless, the Japanese continued to hang on doggedly, and almost foot-by-foot progress, attained in a series of small unit actions, marked the 38th Division's operations for nearly a week following General Jones's relief. In fact, the only difference troops on the ground could see in the fighting after 6 February was that daily gains could usually--but not always--be measured.

The 151st and 152d Infantry Regiments reduced the last important defenses in the vicinity of the horseshoe by evening on 8 February, and by dusk on the 11th the two units had made sufficient progress east of the horseshoe to permit the relief of the 151st Infantry for operations elsewhere on Bataan Peninsula. (Map 14) It was not until afternoon of 13 February that the 149th and 152d Infantry were able to make their first fleeting contact from their respective sides of the ZigZag. The 149th Infantry overran the last organized Japanese strongpoint on the 14th and on the following day that regiment and the 152d completed mopping-up operations.

Through 15 February, the 38th Division and attached units, including the 34th Infantry, had killed nearly 2,400 Japanese in the ZigZag region and had taken 25 prisoner. The 300-odd men remaining alive from the original Japanese garrison on the highway retreated south into Bataan with Colonel Nagayoshi.63 The 38th Division and the 34th Infantry had suffered about 1,400 combat casualties, including 250 men killed, during the process of destroying the Nagayoshi Detachment.

By 15 February, then, XI Corps had completed the task at the ZigZag and had secured positions from which to launch subsequent operations aimed more directly at securing Manila Bay, operations that had, indeed, begun before the ZigZag Pass fight was quite over. The "campaign" from San Antonio to Dinalupihan had not gone as General Hall had expected, and the corps commander had been bitterly disappointed with the turn of events at the ZigZag. Not every operation can go according to plan and expectation--too many imponderables are involved. XI Corps' attack


Map 14
Clearing ZigZag Pass
38th Division
7-14 February 1945

across Bataan strikingly illustrated the degree to which some of the imponderables could and did affect the outcome of the operation.

Clearing Bataan Peninsula

The Situation and the Plans

General Krueger's plan for XI Corps operations to clear Bataan Peninsula south of Route 7 called for one RCT to drive down the east coast while another seized Mariveles, at the southern tip of the peninsula, by an amphibious assault from Subic Bay. Krueger initially set D-day for the two attacks as 12 February, but as planning progressed it became evident that XI Corps was much too involved at the ZigZag to meet that target date or to release from the ZigZag all the forces required. Accordingly, Krueger rescheduled D-day for 15 February and, to make up General Hall's troop shortages, sent south the 6th Division's 1st Infantry, which had recently completed its part in I Corps operations to seize San Jose.64

Hall divided his Bataan Peninsula forces into two groups. East Force and South Force. East Force--the reinforced 1st RCT, 6th Division--would operate under the control of Brig. Gen. William Spence, commander of 38th Division Artillery. It would push south along Bataan's east coast road, the same road the Japanese had followed in 1942, starting its drive south on 14 February in order to divert Japanese attention from the Mariveles landing, which Hall set for the 15th. South Force--the 38th Division's 151st RCT--would operate directly under General Chase's command. After landing at Mariveles, South Force would establish control over southern Bataan and then strike up the east


coast road to make contact with Spence's East Force.65

The amphibious phases of the operation were directed by Admiral Struble, commander of Task Group 78.3, which was supported by cruisers and destroyers of Task Group 77.3 under Admiral Berkey. In addition to landing South Force, Task Group 78.3 would also sweep mines from the waters across the entrance to Manila Bay, paying especial attention to the area between Mariveles and Corregidor and the channel between Corregidor and Caballo Island, a mile to the south. Fifth Air Force planes from Mindoro and Luzon would provide necessary preliminary bombardment for the landing at Mariveles and would support subsequent ground operations on Bataan.66

Sixth Army and XI Corps estimated that 6,000 Japanese were still on Bataan south of the ZigZag. One concentration, believed to include a battalion of the 39th Infantry, was thought to be holding the Pilar-Bagac road, running east to west across the center of the peninsula; the remaining Japanese presumably garrisoned the Mariveles area.67 Actually, Nagayoshi probably had less than 1,400 troops, including remnants of his ZigZag Pass force, on Bataan south of Route 7. Of these, around 1,000 held positions in the Bagac area on the west coast or along the Pilar-Bagac road. About 300 Japanese, scattered in various small detachments, were located in southern Bataan, but few were near Mariveles. Nagayoshi must have expected attack from the west, for the few formal defenses he had along the Pilar-Bagac road were oriented in that direction. He was also able to incorporate into his defenses on the road some positions that MacArthur's Fil-American forces had originally constructed in 1942.68

Bataan Secured

The 38th Division's 151st RCT loaded at Olongapo on 14 February, and the ships of Task Group 78.3 sortied the same day.69 The 6th Division's 1st RCT started out of Dinalupihan on the afternoon of 12 February, planning to be seven miles to the southeast, at Orani, by morning of the 14th. (Map 15) Mine sweeping and preliminary bombardment began on the 13th. During that day and the next Task Group 78.3 swept about 140 mines from the bay, 28 of them left over from the days of the American defense in 1942. Mines at the entrance to Mariveles Harbor damaged two destroyers of Task Group 77.3, but sweeping continued without other incident except for some fire from Japanese guns on Corregidor.

Task Group 78.3 completed a final


Map 15
Clearing Bataan
12-21 February 1945

sweep of Mariveles Harbor at 0900 on 15 February as destroyers moved in for close support fire and Fifth Air Force B-24's bombed the landing beaches. The 151st Infantry started ashore in LCVP's at 1000, opposed by a little machine gun and rifle fire. A near miss from a Japanese gun on Corregidor wounded 17 infantrymen as they boarded an LCPR at the side of an APD (Transport, High Speed), while somewhat later an LSM carrying the 24th Reconnaissance Troop shoreward struck a mine and caught fire, with resultant casualties and the loss of most of the unit's equipment. Poor beach conditions slowed all discharge, but at 1400 General Chase, who had accompanied South Force, assumed command ashore.

The 151st Infantry found no Japanese before sunset, but during the night 75-100 Japanese attacked the perimeter of the 3d Battalion about three miles northeast of Mariveles. The battalion beat off


the attack after killing 60 or more Japanese. South Force's casualties during the day were 3 killed, 43 wounded, and 14 missing, all incurred in the course of the landing. The 151st Infantry spent the next few days securing the Mariveles area, simultaneously dispatching patrols northward along both sides of Bataan Peninsula. On 18 February a patrol established contact with East Force at Limay, a third of the way up the east coast.

Moving out of Orani on the 14th, East Force had reached Pilar before dark and on the next day probed south to Orion, four miles beyond Pilar. There had been little opposition and the only hindrance to faster progress had been the too-thorough job guerrillas had done in destroying the many bridges carrying the coastal road over tidal streams. During the night of 15-16 February an estimated 300 Japanese attacked the 1st Infantry's perimeter near Orion, but the U.S. regiment, losing 11 killed and 15 wounded, beat off the Japanese and killed 80 of them in a melee of confused, sometimes hand-to-hand fighting. The incident marked the end of organized Japanese resistance in southern Bataan.

The next day General MacArthur had a narrow escape from injury if not death. Visiting East Force's zone, the theater commander proceeded south along the coastal road to a point nearly five miles beyond the 1st Infantry's front lines. His party encountered no Japanese, but patrolling Fifth Air Force P-38's, observing the movement, assumed that they had discovered a Japanese motor column and requested permission to bomb and strafe. Before granting permission General Chase directed a further investigation, an investigation that disclosed that the small group of vehicles contained Americans only. MacArthur and his party returned northward safely.

During the period 17-20 February East Force, augmented by the 149th Infantry and other elements of the 38th Division, drove across Bataan to Bagac, finding only abandoned defensive positions and a few Japanese stragglers. On 21 February troops of the 1st Infantry made contact with patrols of the 151st Infantry south of Bagac, while the 149th Infantry started patrolling north up the west coast from Bagac.

The contact south of Bagac marked the end of the tactically significant portions of the Bataan campaign of 1945. XI Corps had not met the resistance General Hall had expected--the corps' casualties were about 50 men killed and 100 wounded, while known Japanese casualties numbered 200 killed. Nagayoshi's remaining troops, about 1,000 in all, holed up north of the Pilar-Bagac road along the jungled slopes of Mt. Natib, where elements of the 38th Division, of the 6th Division, and Filipino guerrillas successively hunted them down. These Japanese presented no threat to Allied control of Bataan, and most of them died of starvation and disease before American and Filipino troops could find and kill them.

With the clearing of Bataan, XI Corps had executed the first step of the GHQ SWPA-Sixth Army plan for opening Manila Bay. And as XI Corps troops, on 16 February, broke the last organized Japanese resistance on the peninsula, operations to secure Corregidor Island began.


Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (16) * Next Chapter (18)


1. Rad, Krueger to MacArthur, WL-1230, 2 Feb 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 31 Jan-2 Feb 45.

2. Rad, MacArthur to Krueger, CA-50232, 3 Feb 45, Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 113.

3. Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 39, 49; Sixth Army FO's 47, 48, and 53, dated 2, 7, and 19 Feb 45, in ibid., I, 149-51, 155.

4. Sixth Army FO 48, 7 Feb 45.

5. GHQ SWPA, Staff Study MIKE III (Vigan), 23 Nov 44, OPD File ABC 384 Pacific (1-17-43) Sec. 8-F, GHQ SWPA OI 85, 21 Dec 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 23 Dec 44.

6. Rad, Advance GHQ SWPA to GHQ SWPA, 11 Jan 45, and Rad, Advance Hq Seventh Fleet to TF 77, 11 Jan 45, both in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 13-15 Jan 45. The formal order, GHQ SWPA OI 87, changing XI Corps' assignment was issued on 14 January.

7. See above, ch. XII.

8. See Morton, Fall of the Philippines, p 166, 223.

9. G-2 GHQ SWPA DSEI 1017, 8 Jan 45, G-3 GHQ Jnl File 8 Jan 45. See also above, ch. II.

10. GHQ SWPA OI 87, 14 Jan 45, G-3 Jnl File, 14 Jan 45; Rad, MacArthur to Krueger, CAX-50027, 17 Jan 45, Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 112-13. See also above, ch. VIII.

11. Japanese information in this section is mainly from: Statement of Col Sanenobu Nagayoshi (CO 39th Inf, 10th Div, and Comdr Nagayoshi Detachment), States, II, 625-26; 14th Area Army Opns on Luzon, pp. 27, 43, 58; 14th Area Army Opn Order No. A-464, 28 Jan 45, Trans, III, Item 3; 14th Area Army Tr Org List. For additional background, see above, ch. V.

12. Actually, so great were the clearing and repair problems that it was well into April before the Allies were able to make much use of Manila Bay and Manila's port facilities.

13. For an opposite point of view, see Morton, Fall of the Philippines, p. 163. Japanese officers who reviewed The Fall of the Philippines in manuscript disagreed with Morton and put forth interpretations similar to those of the present volume. See Morton, op. cit., n. 9, p. 163.

14. Information on Allied estimates is from: G-2 GHQ SWPA, Monthly Summary of Enemy Dispositions, 31 Dec 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 31 Dec 44; G-2 GHQ SWPA DSEI's, 1-31 Jan 45, G-3 GHQ Jnl Files, 2 Jan-1 Feb 45; 38th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 115-20; Eighth Army Rpt Nasugbu-Bataan, pp. 92-94; 34th Inf Rpt Luzon, p. 5.

15. See Morton, Fall of the Philippines, chs. XII-XXVI.

16. See above, ch. V.

17. GHQ SWPA OI 87, 14 Jan 45; Eighth Army FO 15, Amended, 16 Jan 45, Eighth Army G-3 Jnl File MIKE VII, 12-20 Jan 45; XI Corps FO 3, 19 Jan 45, XI Corps FO File; TG 78.3 Opn Plan No. 1-45, 20 Jan 45, Navy Dept files.

18. This subsection is based generally upon: Eighth Army Rpt Nasugbu-Bataan, pp. 77, 99; XI Corps Hist Sec, Hist of XI Corps, 15 Jun 42-15 Mar 46, p. 34; XI Corps Rpt Luzon, pp. 3-4; ibid, an, 3, Supply and Evacuation, p. 2; 38th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 11-15, 166; Rpt, Asst ACofS G-3 Eighth Army, Obsns M-7 Opn, 30 Jan 45, Eighth Army G-3 Jnl File MIKE VII, 23 Jan-1 Feb 45; TG 78.3 Rpt Zambales, passim; 34th Inf Rpt Luzon, p. 5.

19. 151st Inf Rpt Luzon, Account for 29 Jan 45. The 151st Infantry's report is divided into day-by-day narratives.

20. Nagayoshi Statement, States, II, 626.

21. Msg, XI Corps to 38th Div, 2020 30 Jan 45, Entry 82, 38th Div G-3 Jnl, 30 Jan 45. (There are two sets of folders containing 38th Division G-3 Journal and Journal File materials for Luzon, one labeled "G-3 Journal 38th Infantry Division" and the other "G-3 Journal, 38th Division." The first set of folders is cited as 38th Inf Div G-3 Jnl File; the second set as 38th Div G-3 Jnl.)

22. XI Corps Rpt Luzon, p. 5; 38th Div Rpt Luzon, p. 15; 38th Div FO 10, 31 Jan 45, 38th Div G-3 Jnl File, 19 Jan-10 Feb 45; Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56.

23. Information on Japanese defenses is based mainly on: 38th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 13, 16-18, 116-18, and maps between pp. 15 and 16; XI Corps Rpts Luzon, an. 2, G-2 Rpt, p. 33.

24. XI Corps G-2 Rpts 2 and 3, 30 and 31 Jan 45. Merrill, formerly with the 26th Cavalry, Philippine Scouts, was a supply officer under Wainwright during the 1941-42 campaign.

25. 152d Inf FO 2, 31 Jan 45.

26. If no work had been undertaken earlier, which seems impossible, it certainly started immediately upon the arrival of the 39th Infantry. See Diary, 2d Lt. Saburo Kitano, 6th Company, 2d Provisional Infantry Battalion, XI Corps G-2 Periodic Report No. 13, 10 February 1945. There are some indications that many of the defenses at the ZigZag had originally been constructed by Japanese naval troops who, previously stationed at Olongapo, had moved to the main Kembu defenses in January.

27. Morton, Fall of the Philippines, pp. 166, 246, 279.

28. The general sources for the story of the reduction of the ZigZag are: 38th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 16-29; 38th Div G-3 Per Rpts, 1-5 Feb 45; 38th Div G-3 Jnl Files, 19 Jan-28 Feb 45; Ltrs, Hall to Krueger, 3, 4, 5, and 6 Feb 45, Decker Papers, folder 4; Intervs, Falk with Lt Col David J. Wilson (S-3 152d Inf), 14 and 22 Aug 52, and Interv, Falk with Brig Gen John A. Elmore (CofS XI Corps), 3 Apr 52, copies of interv notes in OCMH files; Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56 and 26 Jan 57.

29. Additional material on 152d Infantry operations is from: 152d Inf Rpt Luzon, 29 Jan-2 Mar 45, pp. 2-6; 152d Inf Unit Jnl, 1-15 Feb 45; 2d Bn 152d Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 1-2; 2d Bn 152d Inf Unit Jnl, 1-15 Feb 45; Maj Noble F. Schlatter (S-2 152d Inf), Rpt for 152d Inf, 1730 1 Feb-0800 2 Feb 45, 38th Inf Div G-3 Jnl File, 19 Jan-10 Feb 45; Ltr, Hall to Jones, 4 Feb 45; sub: Opns of 38th Div . . . , 31 Jan 45 to 2 Feb, enclosed in Ltr, Hall to Krueger, 6 Feb 45.

30. The basic trick of the map code was to measure co-ordinates on the 1:50,000 map the troops were using by means of the yard scale from a 1:20,000 map.

31. Interv, Falk with Wilson, 22 Aug 52. Wilson stated that he was often surprised to find where 38th Division G-2 and G-3 reports placed the regiment and stated that division locations were often at variance with locations he had sent to division headquarters. The present author found many amazing disagreements, especially during the first week of the action, among locations recorded in regimental division G-2, division G-3, and division artillery reports. XI Corps reports sometimes disagreed with all four!

32. General Jones believed that the entire battalion had reached "a point a little beyond the horseshoe." Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56.

33. Note that General Jones no longer believed the 152d was beyond the horseshoe. Either he was in error the previous night or the 152d had lost ground on 2 February.

34. Ltr, Hall to Krueger, 3 Feb 45.

35. Ibid.; 38th Div Rpt Luzon, p. 18; Lt Col Alexander G. Kirby (G-3 38th Div), Notes of Conf with Col Colin S. Monteith (G-3 XI Corps), 2000 2 Feb 45, 38th Div G-3 Jnl File, 19 Jan-10 Feb 45; Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56.

36. Ltr, Hall to Krueger, 3 Feb 45.

37. Additional material on the 34th Infantry is from: 34th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 53-99; 34th RCT Unit Rpts, 3-6 Feb 45, and other materials in 34th RCT Jnl File Luzon, 4-7 Feb 45; 34th Inf Unit Jnl Luzon, 3-6 Feb 45.

38. G-2 XI Corps, Photo Interpretation 8, 3 Feb 45; Ltrs, Hall to Krueger, 4 and 5 Feb 45.

39. Rad, XI Corps to 38th Div, 2040 4 Feb 45, Entry 50, in 38th Div G-3 Jnl, 4 Feb 45; Ltr, Hall to Krueger, 4 Feb 45. General Jones felt that the transfer of the 34th Infantry to his control was an attempt by General Hall "to push the blame on me for the failure of the 34th Infantry." Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56.

40. This crossing of the Santa Rita is in accordance with the AMS S712, 1:50,000 map of 1944 the troops were using at the time. According to the AMS S711 1:50,000 map of 1952, Edition 2, the proper name for the stream is the Jadjad River.

41. Proposed Plan CG 38th Div, 4 Feb 45, and 38th Div FO 11, 5 Feb 45, both in 38th Inf Div G-3 Jnl File, 19 Jan-10 Feb 45; Rad, Jenna to Bns of 34th Inf, 0730 5 Feb 45, Entry 592, 34th RCT Jnl File 4-6 Feb 45; Rad, Jones to Jenna, 0955 5 Feb 45, Entry 658, 34th RCT Jnl File 4-6 Feb 45; 152d Inf FO 4, 5 Feb 45, atchd to 152d Inf Rpt Luzon, 29 Jan-2 Mar 45; Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56.

42. Proposed Plan CG 38th Div, 4 Feb 45; Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56 and 26 Jan 57.

43. Rad, Jenna to Jones, 1136 5 Feb 45, Entry 629, 34th RCT Jnl File, 4-6 Feb 45.

44. Jenna Comments, 5 Jan 57.

45. Ltr, Hall to Krueger, 5 Feb 45; Rad, Hall to Jones, 1910 5 Feb 45, 38th Div G-3 Jnl, 5 Feb 45.

46. General Jones believed the stiffening opposition marked redeployment of Japanese after the withdrawal of the 34th Infantry. Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56. The author has been unable to find any evidence of such redeployments in either Japanese or American records.

47. Additional information on 149th Infantry operations in this and the next two subsections is from: 149th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 5-20; 149th Inf Unit Jnl, 1-15 Feb 45; 149th Inf Summary of Lessons Learned M-7 Opn, pp. 2-5.

48. Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56. General Jones states that he had three reports from Division Artillery planes that the 149th was about three miles northwest of Skelton's reported position. The author could find only one report of such a nature in 38th Division Artillery and other division records, and this report placed the regiment four miles northwest of the location Skelton had reported.

49. Rad, 38th Div to 149th Inf, 1145 2 Feb 45, Entry 31, 38th Div G-3 Jnl, 2 Feb 45.

50. Msg, 38th Div to 149th Inf, 2330 2 Feb 45, Entry 70, 38th Div G-3 Jnl, 2 Feb 45; Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56. Jones felt that since XI Corps had directed the 149th Infantry to undertake the march along the trail, the regiment was now under XI Corps control. General Jones, however, issued the actual march orders to the regiment.

51. See above, ch. XII.

52. Ltr, Hall to Jones, 4 Feb 45.

53. Rad, XI Corps to 38th Div, 1630 5 Feb 45, Entry 53, 38th Div G-3 Jnl, 5 Feb 45; Rad, XI Corps to 38th Div, 2030 6 Feb 45, Entry 70, 38th Div G-3 Jnl, 6 Feb 45; Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56. The last elements of the 34th Infantry left the horseshoe area about 1030 on 6 February.

54. Ltr, Hall to author, 15 Mar 52; Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56. The quotation is from the Hall letter.

55. Ltr, Hall to Krueger, 6 Feb 45; Ltr, Hall to author, 15 Mar 52; Interv, Falk with Elmore, 3 Apr 52; Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56; 38th Div G-1 Jnl, 5 and 6 Feb 45. Strangely, at 1640 on 5 February, the Chief of Staff, 38th Division, informed the Division G-1 that Jones was about to be relieved, and late that night the G-1 Section prepared orders for Easley's assumption of command. Neither Hall nor Elmore (the XI Corps chief of staff) could offer any explanation of this action, and Hall insisted that he did not make up his mind to relieve Jones until noon on the 6th. Jones did not comment on the strange circumstances. It is probable that the 38th Division staff sensed what was obviously about to happen and prepared itself accordingly, or it may be that Jones, feeling that his relief was imminent, alerted his chief of staff.

56. 38th Div G-1 Jnl, 6 and 7 Feb 45. General Krueger selected Chase for the command of the 38th Division. Krueger Comments, 18 Dec 56.

57. Jones Comments, 20 Dec 56 and 26 Jan 57. It was Jones's opinion that General Hall had expected that the 34th Infantry, operating under XI Corps control, would have broken through the ZigZag in a day or two, thus giving Hall an excuse to relieve Jones. Then, Jones continued, when the 34th Infantry failed to produce, Hall placed it under Jones's command so that Hall could blame Jones for the 34th Infantry's failure. The attempted adjustment of the artillery on 6 February was, in Jones's opinion, simply the incident that Hall was waiting for to precipitate Jones's relief. There was, in Jones's opinion, "nothing that I could have done to keep my command." Jones Comments, 26 Jan 57.

58. Ltr, Hall to Krueger, 6 Feb 45.

59. Rad, XI Corps to 149th Inf, 2000 6 Feb 45, and Rad, XI Corps to 38th Div, 2030 6 Feb 45, both in XI Corps G-3 Jnl File, 5-6 Feb 45.

60. Additional general sources employed for this subsection are: 151st Inf Rpt Luzon, Accounts for 6-11 Feb 45; Craven and Cate, AAF V, pp. 424, 429.

61. On the 5th, it is true, both the 152d and 34th Infantry Regiments were under Jones's command, but the 34th had to be withdrawn that day. On the 6th, Jones had the 152d plus a battalion of the 151st, but on that day one battalion of the 152d had to spend its time reorganizing. During most of the final stages for the fight for the ZigZag, one battalion of the 149th Infantry held and patrolled in the Dinalupihan area and did not enter the fight.

62. See artillery ammunition expenditure charts following page 164 in the 38th Division's Report, Luzon.

63. Nagayoshi Statement, States, II, 626; 38th Div Rpt Luzon, p. 116.

64. Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 49-51; Rad, Krueger to MacArthur, WG-194, 9 Feb 45, and Rad, Krueger to Hall, WG-199, 10 Feb 45, both in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 8-10 Feb 45.

65. XI Corps FO 5, Confirmed Copy, 10 Feb 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 12-14 Feb 45.

66. TG 78.3 Opn Plan No. 4-45, 10 Feb 45, and TG 77.3 Opn Order No. 1-45, 9 Feb 45, both in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 16-18 Feb 45; Sixth Army FO 48, 7 Feb 45, Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 149-50.

67. XI Corps FO 5, 10 Feb 45; an. I, Intel, to XI Corps FO 6, 17 Feb 45; Sixth Army G-2 Estimate of the Enemy Situation With Reference to Bataan-Corregidor, 4 Feb 45, G-2 Sixth Army, Former Top Secret Jnl.

68. 38th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 30, 119-22; Japanese Studies in WW II, No. 125, Philippine Area Naval Opns, pt. IV, p. 16; Nagayoshi Statement, States, II, 626; Morton, Fall of the Philippines, ch. XVIII.

69. General sources for this subsection are: TG 78.3 Action Rpt Mariveles-Corregidor, passim; 38th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 31-43, 120; 38th Div G-3 Per Rpts, 11-21 Feb 45, and other materials in 38th Inf Div G-3 Jnl File, 11-28 Feb 45; 1st Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 29-34; 1st Inf S-3 Opns Rpts, 11-16 Feb 49; 151st Inf Rpt Luzon, Mariveles-Bataan Account; 149th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 21-23.

Transcribed and formatted by Jerry Holden for the HyperWar Foundation