Pursuit in Northern Luzon
The Shobu Group Withdrawal Plans
Long before the USAFIP(NL) had captured Cervantes and long before the 25th Infantry Division had broken through at Balete Pass, General Yamashita, influenced by the collapse of the Baguio anchor of the Shobu Group's original defensive triangle, had begun laying careful plans for the group's ultimate withdrawal deep into the Cordillera Central.1 On 5 May, less than two weeks after the fall of Baguio, Yamashita distributed to major components of the Shobu Group an outline plan for future operations throughout northern Luzon.
Yamashita constructed his plan on three basic premises. First, he estimated that the Sixth Army would continue to make its main effort a drive north along Route 5 and that Krueger would mount only secondary attacks toward Bontoc along Routes 4 and 11. Second, he calculated that as of 5 May the Shobu Group would have about three months during which it could strip the Cagayan and Magat Valleys of food and military supplies requisite to a protracted stand in the mountains, three months during which the group would move this matériel into the Cordillera Central through the junction of Routes 4 and 5 near Bagabag, twenty-five miles north on Route 5 from Bambang. Third, he knew that the success of his withdrawal and of his future delaying actions demanded that the Shobu Group maintain control over the Routes 4-5 junction as long as humanly possible. In this connection, Yamashita estimated that his defenses south of Santa Fe would hold until mid-June; that he could construct new defenses across Route 5 between Santa Fe and Bambang in order to hold I Corps south of Bambang until the end of June; and that he would not have to give up the junction of Routes 4 and 5 until the end of July.
Yamashita's 5 May plan required the establishment of three new defensive phase lines or perimeters in northern
Luzon. The first perimeter's southwestern anchor lay eight miles northeast of Baguio at KP 21, the Route 11 terminus of the Shobu Group's Baguio-Aritao supply road. Thence the line stretched north through KP 90, Mankayan, the Lepanto Mine, Bessang Pass, and back northeast to Bontoc. From Bontoc the line slanted southeast to Banaue, on Route 4 some twenty-five miles northwest of Bagabag, and from Banaue continued southeast to Oriung Pass, located on Route 5 about seven miles east of Bagabag in hilly country that separated the upper reaches of the Magat and Cagayan Rivers. From Oriung Pass the perimeter went southwest along Route 5 to Balete pass and then swung back northwest through Salacsac Pass on the Villa Verde Trail to KP 21 on Route 11.
Yamashita expected to start redeploying his forces from the first to the second phase line sometime after mid-June. Then, the southwestern anchor would pull north up Route 11 from KP 21 about six miles. The second perimeter would continue north to Mankayan and thence northeast to the Sabangan junction of Routes 11 and 4--the Japanese would abandon Route 4 west of Sabangan. Bontoc remained as the northern apex on this second perimeter, but Yamashita was prepared to withdraw on the east from Oriung Pass back to Bagabag. The southeastern anchor of the second perimeter was to be Bambang, whence the line stretched west across the mountains to the vicinity of Ambuclao, in the Agno River valley about five miles east along the Baguio-Aritao supply road from KP 21.
The third perimeter would enclose Yamashita's last-stand positions, at which he expected the Shobu Group to fight until annihilated. The southwestern anchor of the third line was to be located at Bokod, about five miles east of Ambuclao. The line would continue up the Agno Valley to KP 90 and would again include Mankayan. Bontoc, however, would be left out of the third perimeter, and the line would extend from Mankayan east-northeast to Route 4 at Polis Pass, between Bontoc and Banaue. The line would continue southeast along Route 4 from Polis Pass to the Rayambugan Farm School, on Route 4 about ten miles northwest of Bagabag, Thence it would strike south-southwest across the eastern slopes of the Cordillera Central to a point in the mountains about five miles west of Bambang, whence it would swing back westward across the mountains to Bokod.
Other details of Yamashita's plan of 5 May made special provisions for holding the Routes 4-5 junction and the Magat Valley from Bambang to Bagabag. For example, Yamashita feared that the Sixth Army might attempt to seize the vital road junction by airborne assault. Therefore, he directed the 105th Division to establish bases along the Magat Valley from which to launch counterattacks against airborne troops. He also ordered the 105th to be prepared to hold Route 5 at Bato Bridge where, three miles north of Bambang, the highway crossed from the east to the west side of the Magat.
Yamashita's plans called for the virtual abandonment of the Cagayan Valley, leaving there for the time being only the 103d Division, which had a strength equivalent to less than two American RCT's. The division's principal duty would be to remove from the valley all the rice and other food--including carabaos
on the hoof--it could gather, dispatching these and other supplies into the Cordillera Central through Bagabag. Once this job was finished, the 103d would also withdraw into the mountains.
Yamashita's decision to abandon the Cagayan Valley was logical. He realized that with the strength he still had available he could not hold the valley very long, and for a variety of reasons there seemed little necessity to maintain strong forces there much longer. So far, he had kept units in the valley to raise and gather food; to deny the Allied Air Forces, SWPA, the use of airfields there as bases from which to strike Formosa and Okinawa; and to hold Aparri in the hope that supplies and reinforcements might yet reach Luzon. But by early May Yamashita had concluded that the issue at Okinawa was already decided and that there was, accordingly, no strategic purpose to be served by holding the valley airfields. Hope for reinforcements, he knew, had long since vanished. Finally, his troops had gathered the early rice harvest in the valley. A new crop would not start coming in until late September, and Yamashita knew he would never harvest that one.
I Corps' breakthrough to Santa Fe, coming at least two weeks before Yamashita expected, forced the Shobu Group commander to make many changes in his 5 May plan. First was his 24 May order to the 2d Tank Division to withdraw from the Villa Verde Trail.2 Since the 25th Division already threatened the route through Santa Fe, Yamashita directed the 2d Tank Division to retreat up the Imugan River to Pingkian on the Baguio-Aritao supply road. Here, about six miles west of Aritao, the supply road joined another road running northeast to Bambang. Yamashita still expected the 10th Division to withdraw in good shape via Route 5 and the Old Spanish Trail.
By 31 May what Yamashita had intended as an orderly withdrawal through successive delaying positions was, on the part of the 2d Tank and 10th Divisions, turning into a rout. Yamashita suddenly saw that I Corps would reach Bambang before he could ready any strong delaying positions south of that town, and he accordingly directed the 2d Tank and 10th Divisions to assemble for a defensive stand across Route 5 at Bato Bridge. He also directed the 103d Division--less an understrength RCT in the northern Cagayan Valley and the Araki Force--to move into defenses along the Magat Valley between Bambang and Bagabag. He ordered the 105th Division, which had a total strength of about 6,000 troops, to abandon the defenses it had been readying at Oriung Pass and fall back to third-line positions up Route 4 at the Rayambugan Farm School.
Only a day or two later, Yamashita learned that the 103d Division could not reach Bagabag before I Corps. Therefore, he instructed the division to move into the 105th's abandoned positions at Oriung Pass. As opposed to the 105th Division's earlier deployment, the 103d was to orient its Oriung Pass defenses against attack from the south. Yamashita now intended to keep I Corps out of the Cagayan Valley long enough for the bulk of the troops still there--elements of the 103d Division and the 4th Air Division--to withdraw westward
into the Cordillera Central over back roads.
With the 105th Division moving to the Rayambugan Farm School and the 103d Division digging in at Oriung Pass, the defense of the Magat Valley to the junction of Routes 4 and 5 depended almost entirely upon a fast, successful withdrawal by the organized remnants of the 2d Tank and 10th Divisions. The only other combat force Yamashita had available to defend the valley was a hurriedly organized antitank unit. Combining about ten light tanks with a like number of 47-mm. and 75-mm. guns, the unit, some 250 men strong, was deployed on 1 June along Route 5 just south of Aritao.
Sixth Army-I Corps Pursuit Plans
Preparing for pursuit operations in northern Luzon, Sixth Army estimated that since the Shobu Group had probably employed the bulk of its strength as well as its best troops in the defense of Baguio, the Villa Verde Trail, and Route 5 to Santa Fe, prompt exploitation of the breakthrough to Santa Fe would lead to the quick and complete collapse of organized Japanese resistance throughout northern Luzon.3 Therefore, just as Yamashita had estimated, Krueger planned to make his main pursuit effort a drive up Route 5 into the Cagayan Valley. For this purpose Krueger intended to employ the relatively fresh 37th Division, including the 145th RCT, which was to come north after a brief rest following its operations against the Shimbu Group. The plans for pursuit required other redeployments, for Krueger intended to use the 25th and 33d Divisions in the initial assault against the Japanese home islands. The 32d Division would move off the Villa Verde Trail beginning on 1 June and, after a short rest, would relieve the 33d Division at Baguio. The 37th Division would pass through the 25th Division along Route 5 and by 15 June would be followed by the 6th Division, which, moving up from southern Luzon, would complete the relief of the 25th Division.
Although planning to make the main effort a drive up Route 5, Krueger also wanted to maintain pressure against the Shobu Group throughout northern Luzon. The 33d Division, and later the 32d Division, would mount limited attacks up Route 11 from Baguio. The USAFIP(NL), while continuing its drive to secure Cervantes and Bontoc, would simultaneously intensify guerrilla operations up and down the Cagayan Valley and assist I Corps in denying the use of Aparri to the Japanese. For the latter purpose, I Corps organized a special combat group known as the Connolly Task Force. Commanded by Maj. Robert V. Connolly of the 123d Infantry, 33d Division, this 800-man task force included a reinforced rifle company of the 127th Infantry, 32d Division, one company of the 6th Ranger Infantry Battalion, a battery of 105-mm. howitzers, and engineer, medical, and port detachments. Assembling near Vigan, Connolly Task Force would follow Route 3 around the northwest tip of Luzon to the vicinity of Aparri, where a battalion of the 11th
Infantry, USAFIP(NL), would join.4 Ordered to occupy the Aparri region, the task force was also to prepare minor port facilities and a liaison plane airstrip along the coast west of Aparri.
The 37th Division would first drive straight up Route 5 from Santa Fe to Bagabag and then swing east through Oriung Pass into the Cagayan Valley, continuing north up Route 5 to Aparri. After the 37th Division had passed through Bagabag, the 6th Division would strike northwest up Route 4 into the deep Cordillera Central. The 6th Division was also to strike southwest from Bambang along the road leading to Pingkian on the Baguio-Aritao supply road. The 25th Division, with the 126th RCT of the 32d Division still attached, would for the time being continue to secure Route 5 and mop up behind the 6th and 37th Divisions.5
Compressing the Shobu Group
Santa Fe to the Cagayan Valley
With the 129th RCT leading, the 37th Division struck north from Santa Fe on 31 May.6 In a running fight during the period 1-4 June, the Japanese antitank unit south of Aritao, now reinforced by a few pieces of artillery from the 2d Tank and 10th Divisions as well as some rear area service troops, destroyed two tanks and damaged another of the 775th Tank Battalion, a company of which reinforced the 129th Infantry. The fight scarcely slowed the 129th Infantry,
which entered Aritao on 5 June. Bambang fell bloodlessly the next day, and the 129th encountered only token resistance at Bato Bridge. Speeding north, the regiment reached Bayombong, eight miles beyond Bambang, on 7 June.
The 145th RCT took over the lead on 8 June and by dark that day had advanced another ten miles to seize, without even a skirmish, the junction of Routes 4 and 5 near Bagabag. The next day the 145th Infantry secured Bagabag and started crossing back to the east side of the Magat River. The 148th Infantry now came up to take over responsibility for Bagabag and the important junction.
The only strength left between the 145th Infantry and the Cagayan Valley was the reinforced 179th IIB, 103d Division, the sole unit the 103d had been able to move southward to Oriung Pass. Engaging the 145th Infantry on 10 June, the 179th IIB did a magnificent job of delaying, but, outgunned and outnumbered, never had a chance to stop the American advance. The 145th RCT bulled its way through the pass along Route 5, depending upon the shock effect of its artillery, tanks, and tank destroyers for breakthrough, which came late on 12 June. The three-day battle cost the 145th RCT about 10 men killed and 55 wounded; the 179th IIB lost over 300 killed.
By evening on 13 June the 145th RCT was at Santiago, twenty-two miles northeast of Bagabag. Here the advance halted because bypassed elements of the 179th IIB were threatening to cut the line of communications not only of the 145th RCT but also of the 148th RCT, which had followed the 145th through Oriung Pass, the 129th RCT having taken over in the Bagabag area on 12 June.
The 148th had passed through Oriung Pass by dusk on the 13th. Following close behind were Battery C, 136th Field Artillery; part of Company B, 775th Tank Battalion; and a battalion of guerrillas from the Buena Vista Regiment, which had previously fought with the 32d Division on the Villa Verde Trail. About 1730 on the 13th nearly 200 men of the 179th IIB jumped the Fil-American column. Before the melee ended, the Japanese had destroyed a tank and an ammunition truck, damaged another tank and 17 more trucks, and killed 5 men and wounded 35 others, including 10 guerrillas. By dawn most of the Japanese survivors of the action had withdrawn, and the 145th RCT, which had halted pending the outcome of the affray, resumed its advance.
The action at Oriung Pass during the night of 13-14 June was the last significant effort made by the main body of the 103d Division, which melted westward across the Magat River in the area north of Oriung Pass after the 179th IIB collapsed. By evening of 14 June advance elements of the 37th Division were at Echague, an airfield center eight miles east of Santiago. Two days later the 145th and 148th RCT's began moving into Cauayan, fifteen miles north along Route 5 from Echague. (Map 25.)
The Shobu Group Plans Another Withdrawal
By 15 June the Shobu Group's affairs had reached a crisis, a crisis demanding drastic revision of the careful plans Yamashita had formulated in early May. One of the principal events bringing on the situation had been the inability
ATTACKING THROUGH ORIUNG PASS
of the 2d Tank and 10th Divisions to establish defenses across Route 5 south of Bagabag before the 37th Division had sped past the town. It was not, indeed, until 12 June that the 2d Tank Division had reorganized and was ready to move toward Bambang. By that date the division had assembled around 4,750 troops--including 1,750 service personnel from the Bambang area--about halfway from Bambang along the Bambang-Pingkian road. But on the 12th the 6th Division's 20th Infantry initiated a drive southwest along the road from Bambang, and two days later part of the 32d Division's 126th Infantry began pushing west toward Pingkian from Aritao along the Baguio-Aritao supply road. The 2d Tank Division suddenly found itself forced to the defensive, its last chance to reach Route 5 long since gone.7
The 10th Division, out of contact with Shobu Group headquarters since 5 June, had meanwhile become hopelessly cut off east of Route 5. Ultimately, the division commander assembled about 2,500 survivors along the Old Spanish Trail south of Aritao, but on 11 June the 25th Division began a two-pronged attack against this group, sending one regiment south from Aritao and another north
Pursuit in Northern Luzon
31 May-30 June 1945
from Carranglan.8 By 22 June the 25th Division had cleared the trail. Those left in the 10th Division, which had lost about 750 men killed in the futile fight since the 11th, withdrew eastward deep into the Sierra Madre, no longer constituting a force with which I Corps had to reckon.9
Another event prompting Yamashita to review his May plans was the USAFIP(NL) breakthrough at Bessang Pass, which Yamashita knew could only presage subsequent drives toward Bontoc and Mankayan. Meanwhile, farther south, the 33d Division had breached the defenses north of Baguio much sooner than Yamashita had anticipated. The 130th Infantry, 33d Division, reached KP 21 on 4 June, finding the 58th IMB capable only of weak resistance. Poor weather conditions halted the 33d Division's efforts until 12 June, but by the 15th, swinging east from KP 21 along the Baguio-Aritao supply road, elements of the division had reached Ambuclao on the Agno River, while other troops had pushed two miles up Route 11 from KP 21. The carefully planned defenses of the 58th IMB and the 23d Division at the southwestern anchor of the first two defense lines Yamashita had set up in May had collapsed like a house of cards.10
Events in the Cagayan Valley were also moving faster than Yamashita had expected. By 15 June the 11th and 14th Infantry Regiments, USAFIP(NL), had cleared almost all the valley west of the Cagayan River from Cauayan north to Aparri and had gained complete control over Route 11 from Bontoc to the valley. Meanwhile the Connolly Task Force, after an uneventful march, had neared Aparri and on 11 June, with the help of the 11th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), had begun an attack to clear the last Japanese from the Aparri area.
Most of the Japanese combat troops left in the valley north of Cauayan were members of the Yuguchi Force, an understrength RCT of the 103d Division. Upon the fall of the division's defenses at Oriung Pass, the Yuguchi Force had started south from the vicinity of Aparri, apparently intending to cross to the west side of the Cagayan River near Cauayan and make its way to Yamashita's last-stand area via Route 389 to Banaue, on Route 4. By 15 June the Yuguchi Force's 177th IIB was at Tuguegarao, forty-five miles north of Cauayan, and the rest of the unit was strung out along Route 5 for some twenty miles north of Tuguegarao.11
The last event forcing Yamashita to alter his plans came on 13 June, when the 6th Division's 63d Infantry began probing northwest up Route 4 from
Bagabag. The reconnaissance foreshadowed a push that Yamashita especially feared, since Route 4 provided direct access to the deep Cordillera Central. The 105th Division, with defenses across Route 4 at the Rayambugan Farm School, did not have sufficient strength to hold the highway, Yamashita knew.
By 15 June, then, the Shobu Group's phased withdrawal had progressed so poorly that nowhere in northern Luzon did Yamashita have the strength he had expected when he had formulated his plans in early May. He realized that he could not hope to hold along any of the three perimeters he had established in May, and he therefore issued new orders calling for ultimate withdrawal into a last-stand area that he would set up along the inhospitable valley of the Asin River, between Routes 4 and 11.12
The Asin River flows northwest to southeast across Route 4 at a point about six miles northwest of the Rayambugan Farm School. Changing its name to Ibulao River east of the highway, the stream joins the Magat about five miles north of Bagabag. About three miles west of the stream crossing on Route 4 lies the mountain town of Kiangan, in June 1945 the site of 14th Area Army-Shobu Group headquarters. An abandoned road (once part of Route 4) connected Kiangan to Hucab, on Route 4 three miles south of the Asin crossing, and an unpaved, one-lane road led directly from Kiangan to the Asin crossing.
From Kiangan a poor road, originally constructed as a horse trail, runs northwest five miles to the Asin River at Kiangkiang. Here connection is made with Route 390, actually another horse trail that comes cross-country from Route 4 at Banaue, about ten miles north-northeast of Kiangkiang. The Asin Valley stretches south over five miles from Kiangkiang to barrio Calaban, whence it leads westward through the Cordillera Central to end near Toccucan, which lies about seven miles southeast of the KP 90 intersection on Route 11. Route 390 leaves the Asin Valley about midway between Calaban and Kiangkiang and, as a horse trail, runs west-southwest through extremely rugged, nearly vertical terrain to Toccucan. From Toccucan fairly good trails lead northwest to the Loo Valley near KP 90 and west approximately five miles to Buguias, on the Agno about seven miles south of the Loo Valley.
Two north-south trails attained considerable importance in the Shobu Group's plans for its last-stand defense. From barrio Pacdan, two miles west of Kiangan on the road to Kiangkiang, one trail led south through Antipolo ten miles to Tubliao, about 1,500 feet up along the eastern slopes of the Cordillera Central at a point about twelve miles west-northwest of Bagabag. From Tubliao, river valley and mountain trails connected to the 2d Tank Division's concentration point on the Bambang-Pingkian road, twenty miles to the south. The other important trail led south fifteen miles along the Agno Valley from the vicinity of KP 90 to Adaoay. At Adaoay this trail forked, one branch leading south eight miles to 23d Division front lines at Bokod, and the other branch swinging off south-southwest to the Baguio-Aritao supply road at Ambuclao, which the 33d Division had reached by 15 June.
Yamashita's mid-June plans called for his units to start withdrawing slowly toward a new perimeter. The 105th Division would retreat from Route 4 to a line stretching south five miles from Pacdan to Antipole;13 the 2d Tank Division would come north to hold the line Tubliao-Antipolo. Araki Force remnants, which had already moved from Bontoc southeast to Banaue, were to defend Route 390 at Hapao, five miles north of Kiangkiang. Leaving some of its strength at the Lepanto Copper Mine and KP 90, the 19th Division would pull the bulk of its troops into the Agno Valley to defend the river line from the Loo Valley south to Buguias, thus blocking the western approaches to the Asin River valley. The 58th IMB would hold the Agno Valley from Buguias south to Adaoay, while the 23d Division would defend along the line Adaoay-Bokod. When this last-stand perimeter collapsed, Yamashita planned, all remaining forces would hole up in the barren Asin Valley between Toccucan and Kiangkiang, there to fight to the death.14
The area behind Yamashita's new last-stand perimeter boasted excellent defensive terrain, and Yamashita estimated that most of his units had sufficient ammunition for machine guns, mortars, and small arms to hold the region for a long time. But the situation in regard to other supplies his supply officers termed "distressing." When I Corps had started up Route 5 at the end of May, Shobu Group had just begun to move food and other military supplies up Route 4 from the Cagayan Valley and Route 5. The group had virtually no medical supplies left; it had no stocks of clothing; its food would be completely exhausted by mid-September.15 The Shobu Group could look forward only to slow death by starvation and disease if it were not first annihilated by the force of Fil-American arms.
New Sixth Army-I Corps Plans
Mid-June found Sixth Army and I Corps, like the Shobu Group, making significant changes in plans.16 Apparently still believing that the Shobu Group would make its last stand in the Cagayan Valley, Krueger estimated that if the 37th Division could continue its fast drive toward Aparri, the division might be able to end the Luzon Campaign with one stroke. The main risk would be the safety of the division's lengthening supply line, but Krueger thought that if the division could advance fast enough, providing its own protection to its line of communications, Japanese resistance would become so disorganized that they would be unable to threaten the supply line.17
While intending to make the 37th Division's drive the main effort, Krueger, having learned that elements of the Shobu Group were withdrawing into the Cordillera Central between Routes 4 and 11, directed I Corps to maintain strong pressure against the mountainous area from the north, south, and west. General Swift accordingly directed the 6th, 25th, and 33d Divisions to employ sufficient strength to clear the Baguio-Aritao supply road, thereby sealing off Yamashita's last-stand area on the south. The USAFIP(NL), which passed to Swift's control on 15 June, would strike east from Cervantes to seize the junction of Routes 4 and 11 at Sabangan. The 6th Division's 63d Infantry would strike up Route 4 from the southeast--objective, Kiangan.
Securing the Cagayan Valley
The 37th Division resumed its advance up Route 5 on 17 June and by 1600 the 148th Infantry was on the east bank of the Cagayan River at Naguilian, ten miles north of Cauayan. Two days later advance elements were twelve miles beyond Naguilian at Bangag. Here opposition increased, because the 37th Division was banging headlong into elements of the Yuguchi Force that were still trying to move south along Route 5. In a running fight from 19 through 23 June the 37th Division killed over 600 Japanese and captured almost 285 more in the fifteen miles between Bangag and Balasig. In the same general area the division destroyed or captured large amounts of Japanese equipment and supplies, including fifteen or sixteen light tanks. By the end of the period the remnants of the Yuguchi Force were in full flight eastward into the untracked wilderness of the Sierra Madre, separating the Cagayan Valley from Luzon's east coast.
On 23 June the 129th RCT took over the lead, striking for Tuguegarao, twenty-five miles north of Balasig. Tuguegarao, already under attack by a battalion of the 11th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), fell to the 129th Infantry on 25 June. Before dark forward elements of the 129th were ten miles beyond Tuguegarao, at Iguig. The next day an armored column sped northward another twelve miles or so to the Paret River, forded that stream, and, about three-quarters of a mile beyond, made contact with troops of the 11th Airborne Division, who on 23 June had made a parachute drop farther north in the Cagayan Valley.18
General Krueger had considered it necessary to stage an airborne operation into the northern Cagayan Valley to clinch the success of the 37th Division's drive.19 It is possible that Krueger was also motivated by a desire to clean up northern Luzon before the Eighth Army took over control of operations, an event scheduled for 1 July.20 Whatever the motivation, and despite reports to the contrary from the USAFIP(NL), I Corps, the 37th Division, and ALAMO scout teams, General Krueger had concluded that Japanese forces in the Cagayan Valley, upon the approach of the 37th Division, were fleeing "in wild
disorder on Highway 5 toward Aparri."21 Actually, the general trend of Japanese movement had been southward for weeks, and certainly no Japanese force intended to hole up at Aparri, an indefensible, flatland cul-de-sac.22
In view of Krueger's estimate of the Japanese situation, "and in order to complete the annihilation of the enemy forces fleeing north, it was decided to make a vertical envelopment of airborne troops to close the trap and prevent the enemy from all possibility of escaping from Aparri."23 Accordingly, on 21 June, Krueger directed a battalion combat team of the 511th Parachute Infantry, 11th Airborne Division, to drop near Aparri on 23 June.24
On the very day that Krueger issued this order, Connolly Task Force entered Aparri unopposed. By evening the next day elements of the task force and the 2d Battalion of the 11th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), were ten miles south along Route 5 from Aparri and had secured Camalaniugan Airstrip, three miles from Aparri, on their way.25 There was no trap for the 511th Parachute Infantry to close.
Despite the successes of the reinforced Connolly Task Force, Krueger did not change his mind about the desirability and necessity for the airdrop. Instead, he concluded that the "seizure of Aparri without opposition by elements of the Connolly Task Force on 21 June 1945, together with the almost unopposed advance of the 37th Division, indicated clearly that the time had come for mounting the airborne troops to block the enemy's retreat in the Cagayan Valley."26 It is not clear just what retreat Krueger expected to block.
The airborne force totaled about 1,030 men, including the reinforced 1st Battalion of the 511th Infantry and Battery C, 457th Parachute Field Artillery Battalion. Aircraft involved were 54 C-47's, 14 C-46's, and 7 gliders, the latter being used for the first time in the Southwest Pacific Area. The dropping ground was Camalaniugan Airstrip, which 11th Airborne Division pathfinders, who arrived at Connolly Task Force headquarters on 22 June, marked with ease.27
No untoward incident marked the flight of the troop carriers from Batangas in southern Luzon to the drop zone, and paratroopers began dropping on the
morning of 23 June while Fifth Air Force bombers and fighters flew cover and other planes laid smoke screens to conceal the drop zone from the east and south. The paratroopers were greeted on the ground by men of the Connolly Task Force and the 11th Infantry, USAFIP(NL).28 Once the 'troopers were down, gliders brought in artillery and other types of heavy equipment; C-47's and C-46's dropped additional material. Jump casualties were 2 men killed and 70 injured, a rate of about 7 percent; one glider was damaged upon landing. Contributing factors were a 20- to 25-mile-an-hour ground wind--15 miles an hour being considered the maximum safe velocity--and the rough condition of the drop zone.29
While Connolly Task Force held in the Aparri area, the 1st Battalion, 511th Infantry, started south to gain contact with the 37th Division. The 'troopers saw only a few Japanese stragglers on their way south and on 26 June met men of the 37th Division near the Paret River, thirty-five miles south of Camalaniugan Airstrip.30 The airborne operation had proved both useless and unnecessary.
Contact at the Paret River between the 129th and 511th Infantry Regiments marked the end of Japanese resistance in the Cagayan Valley. The 37th Division (which gained control over the 11th Infantry, USAFIP(NL); the airborne groupment; and the Connolly Task Force) now began mopping up and patrolling eastward into the Sierra Madre, where perhaps as many as 10,000 Japanese, the bulk of them service personnel, hid out.
Compressing the Kiangan Pocket
While the operations to clear the Cagayan Valley were being brought to a successful conclusion, I Corps had continued pressure against Yamashita's last-stand area, soon to become known as the Kiangan Pocket by the Fil-American forces involved in its reduction. Ultimately, the most important drive against Yamashita's last-stand area would turn out to be the one mounted by the 6th Division up Route 4 from Bagabag, for this attack posed the most direct threat to the Japanese along the easiest, route to the Asin River valley, but I Corps did not neglect to apply pressure from other directions. In late June the USAFIP(NL) struck from Cervantes both toward Mankayan and Sabangan. By the end of the month the 19th Division, now reduced to 2,000 effectives, was withdrawing rapidly from Bontoc and Sabangan toward KP 90, although still holding a strong defensive line at the Lepanto Mine near Mankayan.31 Farther south, the 33d Division broke into the Agno Valley on the 23d Division front and, probing eastward along the Baguio-Aritao supply road, made
contact on 26 June with elements of the 6th Division that had been patrolling westward from Pingkian.32 The remnants of the 2d Tank Division, which had barely escaped entrapment along the Bambang-Pingkian road, escaped northward via mountain trails and river valleys and began straggling into the Tubliao area, twenty miles to the north, early in July.33
The 6th Division's drive up Route 4 toward Kiangan began on 16 June, the 3d Battalion, 63d Infantry, leading. By dusk the next day the 63d had broken through a 105th Division outpost line of resistance at the Rayambugan Farm School. In technical violation of its orders, the 105th Division had established only an OPLR at the school, and had thrown its MLR across Route 4 two miles to the northwest, in better defensive terrain. The 63d Infantry reached the MLR on 19 June, but in five days' fighting, employing only one battalion in the attack, was able to gain little ground. Strengthened on 24 June, the 63d began breaking through the MLR on the 26th and by the 29th had overrun the last organized resistance in the region. By evening on the 30th of June the leading troops were almost in Hucab, where the old section of Route 4 branched westward toward Kiangan. The 105th Division was by this time in full retreat through Kiangan.34
The End in Northern Luzon
The Situation at the End of June
At this juncture, with U.S. Army and guerrilla units pressing the attack against the Shobu Group on all fronts, General MacArthur relieved the headquarters of Sixth Army and of I Corps of further operational responsibility on Luzon in order that the two could begin preparations for the invasion of Japan. The headquarters of Eighth Army and of XIV Corps assumed responsibility for the further conduct of operations throughout Luzon, where the only Japanese force still capable of effective, well-organized resistance was the Shobu Group.
For Sixth Army and I Corps, the meeting of the 37th Division and 11th Airborne Division units south of Aparri on 26 June had marked the strategic end of the campaign in northern Luzon. This conclusion attained considerable logic. The juncture had divided the Shobu Group's remaining forces and had occurred while Yamashita was desperately trying to withdraw all available units into his last-stand area. Moreover, Sixth Army estimated upon relinquishing control to Eighth Army that no more than 23,000 Japanese were left alive in northern Luzon and that these troops were disorganized and incapable of effective defensive operations. Sixth Army further estimated that only 12,000 of the 23,000 Japanese were located in the Cordillera Central between Routes 4 and 11, the rest in the Sierra Madre east of the Cagayan Valley.
XIV Corps would be able to bring to bear against the 23,000 Japanese the reinforced 6th, 32d, and 37th Divisions
(the relief of the last elements of the 25th and 33d Divisions had taken place at the end of June). In addition, XIV Corps would have under its control the USAFIP(NL), now a seasoned and reasonably well-armed force of 21,000 men supported by two U.S. Army field artillery battalions. Also under XIV Corps was the experienced Buena Vista Regiment, equivalent in size to a U.S. Army infantry regiment less supporting arms and services. All in all, it appeared that XIV Corps would become involved only in relatively easy mopping-up and patrolling operations.35
Sixth Army had greatly underestimated the Japanese strength left in northern Luzon, and Eighth Army's estimates, made upon its assumption of command, were but little closer to fact. Actually, at the end of June, close to 65,000 Japanese remained alive in northern Luzon, 13,000 of them in the Sierra Madre and 52,000 in the last-stand area between Routes 4 and 11.36 Although organization, control, and morale were deteriorating, and although most of the troops were ill armed and poorly supplied, the Japanese in the last-stand area were still capable of effective resistance when the occasion demanded. The task confronting the U.S. Army and guerrilla units in northern Luzon was of far greater magnitude than any headquarters estimated at the end of June.
Final Operations in Northern Luzon
XIV Corps plans for operations against the remainder of the Shobu Group differed only in detail from those I Corps had previously employed.37 Reduced to their simplest terms, both sets of plans called for the exertion of unremitting pressure against the Shobu Group wherever Shobu Group troops were to be found.
East of the Cagayan River the 37th Division, and for a time a regiment of the 6th Division, hampered by supply problems and torrential rains, patrolled vigorously, forcing Japanese troops ever farther into the Sierra Madre. From 1 July through 15 August the 37th Division and attached units killed about 1,000 Japanese east of the Cagayan, itself losing approximately 50 men killed and 125 wounded.
On the northwest and west, opposition was stronger and better organized. Here the 15th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), finally secured the Sabangan junction of Routes 4 and 11 on 9 July, and on the next day the 11th Infantry occupied Bontoc. The 19th Division's defenses in the Lepanto Mines-Mankayan area began to fall apart before attacks of the 66th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), on 10 July; Mankayan
fell on the 20th. The 66th Infantry secured the junction of Routes 11 and 393 at KP 90 on 25 July, making contact the same day with troops of the 15th Infantry coming down Route 11 from Sabangan. The 19th Division now began withdrawing into the upper Agno Valley to block the northern, western, and southern approaches to Toccucan, at the western end of Yamashita's last-stand area in the Asin Valley. (Map 26) The 15th and 121st Regiments, USAFIP(NL), immediately began attacks toward Toccucan, but found the 19th Division remnants still capable of effective resistance. By 15 August the USAFIP(NL)'s leading units were four miles short of Toccucan on the northwest and a mile and a half short on the west.
Meanwhile, the 66th Infantry , USAFIP(NL), had struck south from KP 90 along Route 11 to make contact with troops of the 32d Division, coming north from KP 21. The clearing of Route 11 north from Baguio had become a matter of pressing urgency because the heavy summer rains were making it nearly impossible to supply the USAFIP(NL) either by airdrop or over tortuous Route 4 from the west coast. Mixed forces of the 58th IMB and the 19th Division held along Route 11, their principal defenses located in the vicinity of Gambang, about five miles south of KP 90. Here, on 29 July, the 66th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), and the 127th Infantry, 32d Division, finally made contact.
The two regiments next swung eastward into the Agno Valley near Buguias and initiated a drive south along the valley to gain contact with the 126th Infantry, 32d Division, coming north up the valley from Ambuclao and Bokod. Starting off on 1 August, the 126th Infantry found few signs of the 23d Division, which had melted away eastward into the inhospitable Cordillera Central. On 8 August the 126th and 127th Regiments made contact near Buguias and were preparing a drive toward Toccucan when hostilities ended.
On the east side of the Shobu Group's last-stand area, while the 6th Division was making its strongest effort an attack toward Kiangan, elements of the division struck north up Route 4 and reached Banaue on 20 July. Meanwhile, troops of the 11th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), had started south along Route 4 from Bontoc and on 21 July made contact with the 1st Infantry, 6th Division, at Polis Pass, five miles north of Banaue. This contact, coupled with that between USAFIP(NL) and 32d Division units on Route 11 eight days later, marked the complete encirclement of the Shobu Group last-stand area.
The 1st Infantry, 6th Division, and the 11th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), turned east from Banaue along Route 389, on which about 2,500 Japanese of the 103d Division and the 4th Air Division had concentrated in mid-July. The 11th Infantry ultimately made its main effort from the north and east, and, with the 1st Infantry in support, cleared Route 389 by 9 August.38 The Japanese forced off Route 389 hid in mountains north of that road and east of Route 4 until the end of the war.
The final ancillary attack toward the Shobu Group last-stand area was a drive
Final Operations in Northern Luzon
1 July-15 August 1945
south from Banaue along the horse trail known as Route 390. Undertaken by elements of the 1st Infantry, 6th Division, and the 11th Infantry, USAFIP(NL), the attack reached a point about five miles south of Banaue by 9 August, but there the drive stopped for lack of strength and because of supply problems.
Throughout July and the first half of August the main effort continued to be the 6th Division's attack from Route 4 toward Kiangan. Here, all operations were virtually stopped about 1 July by incessant, torrential rains that turned the road toward Kiangan into an impassable quagmire. The problems of the 6th Division were aggravated because the Fifth Air Force, in "co-operation" with the Japanese, had made a shambles of sections of the old road, destroying all bridges and causing many landslides. Finally, rear-guard troops of the 105th Division also slowed progress.
The 63d Infantry, 6th Division, reached Kiangan on 12 July, there capturing all types of Japanese military supplies in large quantities. But then even heavier rains came down, and from 16 through 20 July the regiment was marooned at Kiangan, barely supported by hand-carrying parties. On the 24th, the 20th Infantry took over and began an advance toward Kiangkiang and the Asin River, simultaneously sending one battalion south from Kiangan toward Tubliao and the remnants of the 2d Tank Division.
The 2d Tank Division had assembled about 5,300 troops at Tubliao--1,800 of its own, about the same number from
the Hayakawa Naval Unit,39 and roughly 1,700 Army ground force service troops from the Bambang region. The Japanese unit had only the food it could find on the ground; its armed troops, 3,600 in all, had only 80 rounds of ammunition for each rifle; it had no artillery and very few mortars and machine guns. The division had hoped to reach the Asin Valley last-stand area, but the 20th Infantry blocked its route of withdrawal until 7 August, when elements of the 63d Infantry took over along the trail south from Kiangan. Rain-swollen streams, flooded rice paddies, and nearly impassable trails restricted the 63d's activities to patrolling, and as of 15 August the regiment had not established contact with the main body of the 2d Tank Division.
Meanwhile, the Japanese had bitterly opposed the 6th Division's efforts to advance west from Kiangan toward the Asin Valley. Instead of mopping up, the division soon found itself involved in mountain fighting as rough as that experienced at any time or at any place throughout the Luzon Campaign, At the end of hostilities on 15 August the 20th Infantry, 6th Division, was scarcely three miles beyond Kiangan along the trail to Kiangkiang.
In a month and a half of bitter fighting in incredibly steep terrain and in the most miserable type of weather Fil-American forces had failed to project any strength into the Asin Valley. This last month and a half of the operation in northern Luzon had cost the forces engaged approximately 1,650 casualties, divided as follows:40
Unit Killed Wounded Total USAFIP(NL) 285 715 1,000 6th Division 45 190 235 32d Division 45 140 185 37th Division 50 130 180 Other 15 35 50 Total 440 1,210 1,650
Eighth Army estimated that Shobu Group casualties for the same period were 13,500 men killed or dead of starvation and disease.
Results and Conclusions
How much longer the Shobu Group could have kept Fil-American troops out of the Asin Valley is a moot question. Yamashita had estimated in June that he had sufficient supplies to hold out until mid-September, and from the scale of effort Eighth Army was able and willing to put into the campaign from 1 July to 15 August, it appears that Yamashita would have met his deadline. When food was exhausted, he planned to have his most effective remaining troops attempt a breakout from the Asin Valley to the mountains of far northwestern Luzon where, he hoped, more food might be found. Men not participating in the breakout were to
TERRAIN IN THE LAST-STAND AREA, Asin Valley.
stage banzai attacks on all fronts to cover the effectives' escape. Expecting that, successful or not, the breakout would mark the complete disintegration of his forces, Yamashita planned to commit hara-kiri during the melee.41 Thus, the end of the war came about a month before Yamashita was ready to admit final defeat.
The effectiveness of the Shobu Group operations in northern Luzon must be assessed within the context of Yamashita's concept of the strategic goal of the Luzon Campaign. From the first, Yamashita had known that he had insufficient strength to hold all Luzon or to prevent MacArthur's forces from ultimately occupying all the island. The most he could accomplish, Yamashita was convinced as early as December 1944, was to delay Allied progress toward Japan by pinning down as many American divisions on Luzon as possible. He also realized that his strength, the condition of the roads, bridges, and railroads on Luzon, and the preponderance of Allied air power, would make it impossible for him to mount a decisive counterattack against the invasion forces of the Sixth Army. Any attack employing less than his entire strength would, he knew, be foredoomed to disastrous failure, but he lacked the capability of concentrating all his forces. He was certain, therefore, that counterattacks could result only in the rapid, piecemeal destruction of the 14th Area Army. Such destruction would, of course defeat his main purpose--conducting protracted delaying actions on Luzon.
It had been this reasoning that had led Yamashita to establish his three separate defensive positions in Luzon's mountains. He had concentrated his principal strength, the Shobu Group, in northern Luzon because the size of that area and the nature of its terrain afforded him the best opportunities for extended delaying operations. Moreover, food requisite to such operations was available in the Cagayan and Magat Valleys, the defense of northern Luzon would deny the Allies the use of the Cagayan Valley airfields, and his best and strongest units were already in northern Luzon.
By any standard, the Shobu Group accomplished the delaying mission Yamashita envisaged for it. During the period of Sixth Army control of operations on Luzon, the peak commitment of major ground force units against the Shobu Group had been four reinforced U.S. Army infantry divisions, one separate RCT, an armored group, the USAFIP(NL), and the Buena Vista Regiment.42
When hostilities ceased on 15 August, the Shobu Group was still "entertaining" three reinforced U.S. Army divisions--the 6th, 32d, and 37th--the greatly strengthened USAFIP(NL), the Buena Vista Regiment, and sundry other guerrilla units. The foregoing does not include the considerable effort the Allied Air Forces expended in northern Luzon.
Sixth Army's mission vis-à-vis the Shobu Group had been first to contain and then to destroy that Japanese force. There can be no argument that Sixth Army effectively contained the Shobu Group--which in turn just as effectively contained about one-third of the Sixth Army. And given his 30 June estimate that only 23,000 Japanese were left in northern Luzon, General Krueger had reason to believe that Sixth Army had to all intents and purposes destroyed the Shobu Group. The destruction was not as complete as Krueger believed, although it is certainly true that as of 30 June the Shobu Group was no longer capable of effective or significant offensive effort. At the end of June, the Shobu Group still had 65,000 men of its peak strength of over 150,000. Of the 65,000, 52,000 comprised an organized force still firmly under Yamashita's control in the Asin Valley sector.
YAMASHITA COMES OUT OF THE VALLEY to surrender.
Eighth Army took up the mission of destroying the Shobu Group where Sixth Army had left off, but when hostilities ended on 15 August the Japanese group could have held out at least another month. After the end of the war, roughly 50,500 Japanese troops came out of the mountains of northern Luzon, nearly 40,000 of them from the Asin Valley last-stand area. Thus, the war ended with about one-third of the Shobu Group's peak strength still alive and still capable of conducting organized, stubborn delaying operations. The conclusion can hardly be avoided that the Shobu Group, in the seven and a half months from 9 January 1945, had indeed executed a most effective delaying action.
Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (28) * Next Chapter (30)
1. This section is based mainly on two slightly different translations of: Shobu Group, Outline of Future Opnl Policy for Northern Luzon, 5 May 45, one translation in Trans, III, Item 3; the other in 14th Area Army Opns on Luzon, pp. 135-50. Also consulted were: 14th Area Army Opns Orders Nos. A-487, 3 Feb, A-517, 13 Feb, A-690, 27 Apr, and A-719, 8 May 45, all in Trans, III, Item 3; 14th Area Army Opns on Luzon, pp. 157-67; SWPA Hist Series, II, 486-88; Statement of Maj Misusuke Tanaka (Staff 14th Area Army), States, IV, 193-94; Muto Memoirs, Trans, I, 47-48; Takatsu Interrog, USAFIP(NL) Rpt, pp. 171-73; Nishiyama Interrog, USAFIP(NL) Rpt, pp. 165-66; Terau Interrog, USAFIP(NL) Rpt, pp. 150-54; Kawai Narrative, 10th I&H Staff Study, Japanese Opns on Luzon, pt. IV.
2. See above, ch. XXVI.
3. This section is based on: Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 89-91; Sixth Army FO's, 62 and 63, 24 and 28 May 45, in ibid., I, 164-65; I Corps FO's 18 and 19, 29 and 31 May 45; I Corps Rpt Luzon, pp. 92-98; USAFIP(NL) FO's 27 and 28, 30 May and 3 Jun 45, and Amendments dated 3 and 7 Jun 45 to FO 28.
4. Detailed composition of Connolly Task Force:
Co G, 127th Inf, 32d DivTo be added at Aparri:
Co B, 6th Ranger Inf Bn
81-mm. Mortar Plt, Co H, 127th Inf
Battery C, 694th FA Bn
Co C (-), 339th Engr Cons Bn
Det, 543d EB&SR, 3d ESB
Det, 510th Engr Light Ponton Co
Det, 276th Port Co (TC)
Det, 601st QM Graves Registration Co
Det, 58th Signal Bn
24th Port Surg Hosp
2d Plt, 637th Med Clearing Co
2d Bn, 11th Inf, USAFIP(NL)
Two Plts, Co D, Engr Bn, USAFIP(NL)
Note: This was the second of two task forces of the same name, Major Connolly having had another, separate command at Dingalan Bay during May. See below, footnote 5.
5. The 25th Division also relieved elements of the 136th Infantry, 33d Division, at Dingalan and Baler Bays on Luzon's east coast. For over a month various elements of the 33d Division had been protecting I Corps saw mills at and near Dingalan Bay and had been intercepting Japanese trying to make their way north along the coast from the Shimbu Group's area to join the Shobu Group. On 12 April the protective forces were organized into the Connolly Task Force under Major Connolly of the 123d Infantry. This groupment consisted of Company A and elements of Company D, 123d Infantry; Company D, 6th Ranger Battalion; a reinforced company of the Anderson Battalion of guerrillas (see above, Ch. XXII); a battalion of the 2d Provisional Regiment, East Central Luzon Guerrilla Area (see above. Ch. XXII); and, beginning on 10 May, Company D, 136th Infantry. On 11 May Pfc. John R. McKinney of Company A, 123d Infantry, despite a bloody head wound from a Japanese saber, played such a heroic and major part in turning back a Japanese attack that he was awarded the Medal of Honor and won promotion to sergeant. On 17 May Connolly Task Force was replaced by Ehrlich Task Force, under Lt. Col. Milton Ehrlich of the 1st Battalion, 136th Infantry, 33d Division. Ehrlich Task Force consisted of the 1st Battalion and the guerrilla units already mentioned. On 30 May the 2d Battalion of the 161st Infantry, 25th Division, took over and remained on the east coast until the end of June.
6. This subsection is based on: 37th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 119-50; 129th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 11-13; 129th Inf Hist 1810-1945, pp. 79-81; 145th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 62-69; 148th Inf Rpt Luzon, pt. II, Northern Luzon, pp. 4-5; Kawai Statement, States, II, 148-49; SWPA Hist Series, II, 487-88; 14th Area Army Opns on Luzon, pp. 160-67; Interrog of Lt Gen Yutaka Muraoka (CG 103d Div), USAFIP(NL) Rpt, pp. 176-80.
7. Kawai Narrative, 10th I&H Staff Study, Japanese Opns on Luzon, pt. IV; Kawai Interrogs, Interrogs, I, 319; SWPA Hist Series, II, 488; 14th Area Army Opns on Luzon, pp. 167-79; 20th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 51-53; 126th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 25-26.
8. Terrain problems during this operation were formidable, but the regiments proved that troops could operate along the Old Spanish Trail. An attempt to do so during the 25th Division's drive to Balete Pass had been abandoned. See above, ch. XXVII.
9. 14th Area Army Opns on Luzon, pp. 167, 196-200; Tsuchiya Statement, States, IV, 405; 25th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 78-82; Capt. Robert F. Karolevitz, ed., The 25th Division and World War 2 (Baton Rouge, La.: Army & Navy Publishing Co., 1945), pp. 145-48.
10. 130th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 49-53; 136th Inf Rpt Luzon, p. 63; Sato Statement, States, III, 258; Takatsu Interrog, USAFIP(NL) Rpt, pp. 172-73.
During the night of 6-7 June, S. Sgt. Howard E. Woodford of Company I, 130th Infantry, heroically steadied the guerrilla company of Capt. Domingo D. Quibuyen, 1st Tarlac Regiment, as it stood off a vicious Japanese counterattack near Tabio, just north of KP 21. For a combination of this action, in which he was killed, and demonstrating remarkable leadership under fire the previous afternoon, Sergeant Woodford was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
11. I Corps G-3 Opns Rpts, 4-16 Jun 45; USAFIP(NL) G-3 Opns Rpt 23, 8-15 Jun 45; 14th Area Army Opns on Luzon, pp. 200-201; USAFIP(NL) Rpt, pp. 104-116.
12. I Corps Rpt Luzon, p. 108; SWPA Hist Series, II, 488; 14th Area Army Opns on Luzon, pp. 167-69.
13. Not to be confused with the town of Antipole east of Manila.
14. 14th Area Army Opns on Luzon, pp. 167-72; SWPA Hist Series, II, 488; Takasu Interrog, USAFIP(NL) Rpt, pp. 172-73; Kawai Statement, States, II, 149; Terau Interrog, USAFIP(NL) Rpt, p. 151.
15. Aoshima Narrative, 10th I&H Staff Study, Japanese Opns on Luzon, pt. I; 14th Area Army Opns on Luzon, pp. 170-72.
16. This subsection is based mainly on: Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 93-94; Sixth Army FO 69, 15 Jun 45, in ibid., I, 168-69; I Corps FO 25, 16 Jun 45.
17. General Beightler, the 37th Division's commander, agreed enthusiastically with Krueger's estimate, although it appears that Swift, the I Corps commander, was a bit more cautious. In Beightler Comments, 18 March 1957, General Beightler wrote: "During the entire campaign . . . the corps commander was apprehensive of our flank protection [and] urged us to stop on numerous occasions [to] consolidate our positions, without actually ordering us to do so."
18. 37th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 141-49; 148th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 5-6; 129th Inf Rpt Luzon, p. 13; 129th Inf Hist 1810-1945, p. 82; USAFIP(NL) Rpt, p. 105.
19. Krueger Comments, 18 Dec 56.
20. White (G-2 Sixth Army) Comments, 23 Jan 57.
21. Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 95.
22. In addition to Japanese sources supporting this conclusion, see also: Rads, Chaney ALAMO Scout Team to G-2 Sixth Army, 19 and 21 Jun 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 18-21 Jun 45; 37th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 171-74; USAFIP(NL) G-2 Per Rpt 81, 6 Jun, and 91-95, 16-20 Jun 45.
23. Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 95.
24. Sixth Army FO's 71 and 72, 21 and 22 Jun 45, Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 173-74.
25. I Corps G-3 Per Rpts, 16-23 Jun 15: USAFIP(NL) G-3 Opns Rpt 24, 15-26 Jun 45.
26. Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 95.
27. 11th A/B Div WO, 22 Jun 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon. 21-23 Jun 45; 11th A/B Div FO 32, 22 Jun 45, 11th A/B Div Gypsy Opn File; Memo, Asst ACofS G-3 Sixth Army for ACofS G-3 Sixth Army, 29 Jun 45 (a rpt of the A/B opn). Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 30 Jun 45. The major components of the airborne groupment--designated the Gypsy Task Force--were:
1st Bn, 511th Prcht Inf
Co G, 511th Prcht Inf
Co I, 511th Prcht Inf
Battery C, 457th Prcht FA Bn
Det, 511th A/B Sig Co
Det, 711th A/B Ord Co
Det, Serv Co, 511th Prcht Inf
Language Det, 11th A/B Div
CIC Det, Hq, 11th A/B Div
2d Plt, 221st Med Co
11th Prcht Maint Co
1st Plt. Co C, 127th A/B Engr Bn
Demolition Plt, Hq Co, 511th Prcht Inf
28. Colonel Volckmann denied the 11th Infantry the pleasure of displaying ground panels reading "Welcome to Aparri. The 11th Infantry." Volckmann Comments, 10 Jan 57.
29. Memo, Asst ACofS G-3 Sixth Army, 29 Jun 45; 11th A/B Div Rpt Luzon, p. 9; I Corps G-3 Per Rpt, 23 Jun 45. Volckmann says that the 11th Infantry and the Engineer Battalion, USAFIP(NL), filled shell holes on the strip and, just before the drop, chased Carabaos off the drop zone. Volckmann Comments, 10 Jan 57.
30. Memo, Asst ACofS G-3 Sixth Army, 29 Jun 45; I Corps G-3 Per Rpts, 24-26 Jun 45.
31. USAFIP(NL) Rpt, pp. 85-87, 95-98; Terau Interrog, in ibid., pp. 150-51; 14th Area Army Opns on Luzon, pp. 174-77.
32. 130th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 53-55.
33. 25th Div Rpt Luzon, p. 83; 6th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 82-84; 20th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 53-56; 126th Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 26-29; Kawai Statement, States, II, 149; Kawai Narrative, 10th I&H Staff Study, Japanese Opns on Luzon, pt. IV. pp. 15-16.
34. 6th Div Rpt Luzon, pp. 82, 86-88; 63d Inf Rpt Luzon, pp. 34-37; 63d Inf S-3 Per Rpts, 15-30 Jun 45; 14th Area Army Opns on Luzon, pp. 174-77.
35. Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 97; Sixth Army FO 73, 25 Jun 45, in ibid., I, 174-75; Eighth Army Rpt on Luzon Mop-up Opn, pp. 9-10.
36. The figures are the author's own estimates from a study of all relevant Japanese and U.S. Army source materials cited in this chapter. The figures leave out of consideration the survivors as of 30 June, of the Shimbu Group, the Kembu Group, and the Fuji Force.
37. This subsection is based mainly on: Eighth Army Rpt on Luzon Mop-up Opn, pp. 12-30; 10th I&H, Operational Monograph on the Luzon Mop-up Operation, pp. 15-48; USAFIP(NL) Rpt, pp. 83-102, 106-09, 111-24; 14th Area Army Opns on Luzon, pp. 174-204; Terau Interrog, USAFIP(NL) Rpt, pp. 152-54; Kawai Narrative, 10th I&H Staff Study, Japanese Opns on Luzon, pt. IV; Aoshima Narrative, in ibid., pt. III; Kawai Interrog, Interrogs, I, 325; Muraoka Interrog, USAFIP(NL) Rpt, pp. 176-80; Statement of Col Atsutaka Saruwatari (CofS 4th Air Div), States, III, 245-49.
38. Guerrilla units involved in the fighting to clear Route 389 were the 3d and Provisional Battalions, 11th Infantry; the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry; and miscellaneous elements of the 11th Infantry.
39. Mainly Naval Air Service personnel from the Cagayan Valley.
40. The USAFIP(NL) casualties are for the period 21 June-15 August; the rest for 1 July-15 August. The "other" includes Eighth Army and XIV Corps troops, the Buena Vista Regiment, and miscellaneous guerrilla units.
On 29 July Cpl. Melvin Mayfield of Company D, 20th Infantry, brilliantly and bravely gave such a demonstration of leadership and heroism under heavy fire that he inspired two attached guerrilla companies, previously pinned down, to resume the advance against Japanese positions in the rugged hills on the way west from Kiangan. For his actions, Corporal Mayfield was awarded the Medal of Honor.
41. The plan is discussed in Muto Memoirs, Trans, I, 58-59.
42. The precise date of the peak commitment is difficult to ascertain. About 1 February, for example, the commitment included the 6th, 25th, 32d, and 43d Divisions; the 158th RCT; the bulk of the 13th Armored Group; and the USAFIP(NL). At the end of June the commitment was the 25th, 32d, 33d, and 37th Divisions; three tank battalions; a battalion combat team of the 11th Airborne Division; the USAFIP(NL); the Buena Vista Regiment; and miscellaneous other guerrilla units.