Except for a prolonged mopping up operation, the Leyte campaign was completed on 26 December 1944. The next step in the liberation of the Philippine Islands, scheduled for 9 January, was the invasion of Luzon at Lingayen Gulf, about 150 miles north of Manila. The lack of air bases on Leyte had already made necessary a postponement of the Luzon operation, initially scheduled for 20 December, The need to build airstrips on Mindoro Island just south of Luzon, from which land based aircraft could support the invasion, contributed further to the delay.
The Luzon Campaign1
In many respects, the plan advanced for the seizure of Luzon resembled that employed for Leyte. Once again, the Sixth Army was to execute the landings, supported by the Third Fleet. Allied Naval Forces, under the command of Admiral Kinkaid and Allied Air Forces under General Kenney were to support the operation. In addition to the Fifth and Thirteenth Air Forces under SWPA, the Fourteenth Air Force in China and the Twentieth Air Force in the China-Burma-India Theater were to lend strategic support to SWPA operations in the Philippines. The immediate objective of the Luzon campaign was seizure of the plain of Central Luzon and Manila, the annihilation of Japanese forces on the island, and denial of the northern entrance to the South China Sea to the enemy.
As preparations for the Luzon invasion were going into full swing, additional Marine aviation units were en route from the Solomons to the Philippines, an indication of the expanded role that Marine aviation was to play in the liberation of the islands. As early as 7 December, General Mitchell had alerted MAG-14, then based in the Solomons, for movement to the Philippines. Under the command of Colonel Zebulon C. Hopkins, the group consisted of VMFs-212, -222, -223 and VMO-251, subsequently redesignated a fighter squadron.2 For the remainder of December, despite the early alerting order, MAG-14 sat out the month in the Solomons, awaiting the conquest of Samar by the 1st Cavalry Division and
the construction of an airstrip near the town of Guiuan on southeastern Samar. By the last week of December, the Seabees of the 61st and 93d Naval Construction Battalions had completed facilities at Guiuan to handle at least one squadron of MAG-14. On 30 December the flight echelon of VMO-251 departed Bougainvillea, and by way of Emirau, Owi, and Peleliu, reached Samar on 2 January. By mid-January, the remaining squadrons of MAG-14 had installed themselves at Guiuan, under conditions as primitive as those which MAG-12 had encountered on Leyte barely a month previously.
As 1944 neared its end, ground echelons of the squadrons of MAGs-24 and -32 were en route to yet unspecified objectives in the Philippines, though it appeared certain that their destination could be none other than Luzon. Following a Christmas service at Headquarters, General Mitchell made a brief speech to the assembled Wing Headquarters personnel. "His pronouncement that his Headquarters would be on its way to a forward area in a matter of weeks was enthusiastically received."3
Marine aviation based on Leyte was to play only a very limited role in support of the landings on Luzon. Two weeks prior to the assault on the main island and the days following the landings, Corsairs of MAG-12 struck at highway and railroad bridges in order to restrict enemy mobility and disrupt the Japanese transportation system. Because of frequent bad weather, the Corsairs occasionally were unable to reach the objectives assigned to them and instead attacked such targets of opportunity as trains and vehicular traffic. Japanese air activity was negligible throughout this period and air-to-air combat occurred infrequently, with "the remaining operational Japanese aircraft being either so widely dispersed as to be unavailable on short notice, or else being held in reserve for suicide attacks against the most dangerous enemy, the expected approaching fleet."4
The approach of that fleet was not a figment of the enemy's imagination, for on 3 January the minesweeping, shore bombardment, and escort carrier groups headed north through the Sulu Sea toward Lingayen Gulf. At the same time that the Seventh Fleet was departing from Leyte Gulf, the fast carriers of Halsey's Third Fleet struck hard at Formosa and the Ryukyus in order to forestall any Japanese attempt to reinforce the Luzon garrison. These air strikes, in which VMFS-124 and -213 from the carrier Essex participated, resulted in the destruction of over 100 enemy aircraft, despite extensive Japanese attempts at dispersal and camouflage.5
As the invasion fleet headed for Luzon, the officers and men on board the transports and escort ships were under no delusions as to the enemy's strength. In mid-December, a SWPA intelligence
estimate had identified a tank division, five infantry divisions, six independent mixed brigades, and two separate infantry regiments on Luzon. By the end of the month, MacArthur's intelligence estimate figured enemy strength at a total of 152,000 troops of all categories. The Japanese were expected to commit all available air strength against the Allied invasion fleet and against any beachhead that might be established on Luzon. Japanese air strength in the Philippines was estimated at 400-500 aircraft, most of them stationed on Luzon.
As the main body of the Luzon Attack Force moved out of Leyte Gulf, the huge convoy posed a challenge which the enemy could not ignore. Beginning on 4 January, the remnants of the Philippine air garrison launched a series of Kamikaze attacks that soon began to take a toll of Allied ships. A suicide plane crashing into the escort carrier Ommaney Bay started a chain reaction of gasoline explosions which resulted in the abandonment and sinking of the ship. Another escort carrier barely escaped the same fate. On the following day the Japanese attacks against the convoy reached a new high when seven Kamikazes crashed into Allied ships and inflicted heavy damage on an escort carrier, two cruisers, and a destroyer, though none of these ships were sunk.6 On 6 January the fury of the enemy onslaught from the air reached a climax. One of the ships attacked was the USS New Mexico, which was carrying Colonel Clayton C. Jerome, who was charged with the direction of the Marine aviation effort on Luzon. As the officer helplessly watched, a Kamikaze crashed the bridge of the New Mexico, causing 30 fatalities, including the captain of the ship, and wounding 87 men.7 Before the day ended, an additional 15 Allied vessels were struck by suicide attacks. Even though only one ship sank as a result of this assault from the air, damage to the ships struck varied from moderate to extensive. Loss of personnel for 6 January alone totalled 167 killed and 502 wounded.8
As it became apparent to General MacArthur that land-based Allied aircraft could not keep all of the enemy airfields on Luzon neutralized, he diverted the fast carriers of the Third Fleet from Formosa and committed them against Japanese airfields on central Luzon. During a two-day period, on 6 and 7 January, repeated strikes by Navy and Marine carrier-based aircraft of the Third Fleet resulted in the destruction of more than 100 enemy aircraft.9
This blow, combined with strikes by land-based Allied aircraft on Leyte and Mindoro, broke the back of the massive Japanese onslaught against the invasion convoy, though this was not immediately apparent to American commanders, who were openly worried about the situation. From the Japanese point of view, the Kamikaze attacks were not as effective as had been hoped. Orders issued to the suicide pilots to concentrate their attacks on Allied transports were not followed, and combat
vessels were instead singled out for attack. No one can estimate what would have happened, had the Japanese decided to rush air reinforcements from Formosa to Luzon. After 7 January the massive Japanese air effort tapered off, though:
. . . suiciders continued to appear in two's and three's for a week or more, but the battle in the Gulf, weird as it was and impressive as a testimony to the effectiveness of this form of attack, marked the end of the Japanese air forces in the Philippines. On 8 January the Naval Air Commander left for Singapore and his staff for Formosa, while the Commanding General of the 4th Air Army retired without his army to the hills of Luzon.10
Following in the wake of the harrowing voyage of the invasion convoy from Leyte Gulf to Lingayen, the Sixth Army landings of 9 January came as something of an anticlimax. Contrary to an earlier intelligence estimate at MacArthur's headquarters, which assumed that "a large and potentially dangerous concentration of Japanese forces held the region immediately east, northeast, and southeast of Lingayen Gulf,"11 and deduced the presence of "at least two infantry divisions in position to defend Lingayen Gulf and environs,12 the landings were in fact unopposed. The X and XIV Corps went ashore and by nightfall had secured positions 3-5 miles inland along 15 miles of shoreline of southern Lingayen Gulf. (See Map 18).
The first Marines to go ashore on 10 January were Colonel Jerome, Lieutenant Colonel McCutcheon, operations officer of MAG-24, and the colonel's driver, a Marine corporal. As the three Marines consolidated their "beachhead," they immediately set out in search of a strip which could be developed for the use of Marine aviation. A prewar field near Lingayen soon was so crowded with Army aircraft that selection of another strip was deemed desirable. An undeveloped site about 15 miles east of Lingayen appeared promising and was selected. Work on the strip had barely begun when, on 14 January, it became apparent that heavy graders had destroyed the thin crust of top soil and with it any chance of a solid undersurface. Colonel Jerome forthwith decided to abandon this site and instead selected an expanse of rice fields between Dagupan and Mangaldan about six miles to the southwest.
The selection of such a locale may at first glance appear a poor choice, though Colonel Jerome explained his action in the following words:
The Mangaldan strip was only a rice paddy. But if the hills of a rice paddy are knocked down without tearing out the roots they make a fine, flat surface which, when oiled, will serve as an airstrip about 12 inches above the water level. Rains would eventually raise the level of the muck but Colonel Jerome, an old Philippines hand from the twenties, figured three dry months were due and that was all he needed at Mangaldan, and recommended that the Army engineers build there.13
And build they did. On this occasion Army engineers employed light bulldozers and built a 6,500-foot east-west runway. While this work was in progress,
Map 18: Lingayen Gulf Landing--9 January 1945
Colonel Meyer, commanding officer of MAG-24, who had been in charge of the movement of the ground echelon, arrived at Lingayen with 14 pilots and 278 enlisted men. Before leaving for the Marine airstrip at Mangaldan, the Marines assisted Sixth Army in unloading and laying steel matting on the Lingayen airfield, which earned them a commendation from General Krueger, the Sixth Army commander. In mid-January additional men and supplies arrived at San Fabian, five miles north of Mangaldan, where all hands helped in constructing a camp and such other facilities as were required for full-scale operation of the strip.
As work on the Mangaldan airstrip neared completion, Colonel Jerome was designated Commander, Air Base, Mangaldan, and at the same time Commander, Marine Aircraft Groups, Dagupan (alternately abbreviated as MAGs- Mangaldan or MAGsDagupan). The first aircraft of MAGs-24 and -32 arrived at Mangaldan on 25 January, and combat operations began two days later. By the end of the month, 7 squadrons consisting of 472 officers and more than 3,000 men, and 174 Douglas Dauntless dive bombers (SBDS) had reached Mangaldan. These squadrons were VMSBs-133, -142, -236, -241, -243, -244, and -341.
Before long, the splendid isolation in which the Marine aviation squadrons had hoped to operate was shattered with the arrival of 250 Army Air Forces planes which were also stationed at the field. The Army aircraft and personnel, as well as the Marines, were under the operational control of the 308th Bombardment Wing of the Fifth Air Force. Colonel Jerome retained complete responsibility for the operation of the base and camp facilities, though he had not envisioned at the outset that before long Mangaldan airfield would become one of the busiest airports in the Western Pacific.
The arrival of two Marine air groups on Luzon and preparations for close support of Sixth Army ground troops on the island during most of January tended to overshadow the activities of MAGs-12 and -14 on Leyte and Samar. During the month of January, MAG-12 flew 306 missions, most of them in support of the Lingayen operation, while MAG-14 flew 1,590 sorties.14
Following completion of an improved landing strip at Tanauan on Leyte, operations of MAG-12 could be carried on under somewhat more normal conditions than had been the case on the overcrowded and treacherous Tacloban strip. For the Marines of MAG-14 stationed at Guiuan strip on southeastern Samar, problems grew from the lack of dispersal areas, adequate taxiing strips, and a field lighting system. These conditions inevitably resulted in a number of operational accidents; during January alone, MAG-14 lost 19 aircraft from this cause.
A spectacular accident, somewhat akin to the disaster that had struck at Tacloban on 13 December, marred operations at Guiuan on the morning of 24 January. During takeoff, a Corsair blew a tire, went out of control, and smashed into the revetment area shared
jointly by VMFS-212 and -222. Within a matter of seconds the tents housing the intelligence section, oxygen, and other supplies were completely destroyed. In a desperate effort to rescue the pilot, Marine aviation personnel rushed to the blazing wreck, reaching it just as the plane exploded. The explosion snuffed out the lives of 11 Marines, including the pilot; more than 50 Marines were injured, many of them seriously.15
The occurrence of such accidents was unavoidable under existing conditions. By late January, the military situation in the Philippines had radically changed in favor of the Allies. Massive Kamikaze attacks had hurt the huge Allied invasion fleet headed for Luzon, but had failed to interfere with the actual landings. In effect:
The submarine blockade, four months of carrier strikes overwhelming the Japanese air garrisons and destroying their merchant shipping, the destruction of their fleet in the great battle of October, and the attrition of their surviving air, of their transport, and other installations . . . made possible the invasion of Luzon under militarily ideal circumstances. Unopposed on the beaches, our troops went ashore to fight a campaign at their leisure against an enemy disorganized and demoralized, badly equipped and badly supplied, isolated beyond hope of remedy; a campaign in which every aircraft in the sky was friendly.16
A large number of the friendly aircraft sweeping ahead of and clearing the path for the advance of the Sixth Army were the dive bombers of the Marine air groups based at Mangaldan, and a historical account of the Army sweep through Luzon also becomes the story of Marine aviation close support.
Map 19: Luzon
These disadvantages did not prevent the enemy from offering determined resistance, but during the latter part of January Sixth Army made important gains. The I Corps had driven 50 miles southeast of Lingayen Gulf to Talevera. (See Map 20). By the end of January, the XIV Corps had seized Clark Field and Fort Stotsenburg and was advancing westward into the Zambales Mountains. Elements of the XIV Corps had in fact reached a point only 25 miles from Manila. Other units landed on western Luzon near Subic Bay on 29 January and pushed eastward. Two days later, American paratroopers descended on Batangas Peninsula to the south of Manila. The stage was set for the envelopment of the capital of the Philippines.
Following the completion of the airstrip at Mangaldan, the Marine aviators of MAGs-24 and -32 had anticipated immediate close support operations for the Sixth Army advance across Luzon. It quickly became apparent, however, that the missions assigned to the Marines differed little from those flown on Leyte by MAG-12, and were directed against targets far behind the front lines. Beginning on 27 January, Marine aviators from Luzon raided San Fernando and Clark Field; in four days' time they had flown 255 sorties and dropped 104 tons of bombs, at the cost of one aircraft. The missions flown were assigned the evening preceding the attacks; moreover, control of the air strikes followed a cumbersome chain of command which led through the Army Air Forces 308th Bombardment Wing all the way to the Sixth Army, a far cry from strikes directed on target from jeep-mounted air liaison parties in the front lines.
Nevertheless, the dive bombers of the two Marine aircraft groups on Luzon performed creditably during the early phase of their employment on the island. The use of the Douglas Dauntless dive bombers by the Marines was unique in at least one respect, for the Marine squadrons were the only units still flying that type of aircraft during this phase of the war. The Army had discontinued use of dive bombers as early as 1942, and during the summer of 1944 the Navy had turned to more heavily armed and faster aircraft. Despite the valiant service the dive bomber had rendered for Marine aviation from Midway to Bougainville, due to the accuracy obtained with the aircraft in pinpointing targets, the SBD was rapidly becoming obsolete. This was due particularly to its limited combat radius of only 450 miles. The Luzon campaign was to become its swan song and the plane was scheduled for retirement at the end of the Philippines campaign. But Marine aviators in their outmoded aircraft were to have one more chance to show what they could do with the dive bombers in which they had so carefully trained in the Solomons. The opportunity was not long in coming.
It came with the arrival of the Army 1st Cavalry Division on Luzon on 27 January. The division had fought on Samar and Leyte before moving to Luzon. On the following day, the cavalrymen moved to an assembly area near Guimba, 35 miles inland from Lingayen, where the division was assigned to the XIV Corps. When General MacArthur visited the troopers on 31 January,
he gave them an electrifying order, which was to:
. . . go to Manila. Go around the Nips, bounce off the Nips, but go to Manila. Free the internees at Santo Tomas. Take Malacanan Palace and the Legislative Building.18
To sustain this daring 100-mile dash through enemy territory, the 308th Bombardment wing alerted all seven Marine squadrons on Luzon to provide a screen of nine planes from dawn to dusk over the 1st Cavalry Division.19 Here was an assignment that the Ma- [sic] Lieutenant Colonel McCutcheon formulated his doctrine of close air support back in the Solomons. For the first time, Marines would be able to fly close support with their own ALPs functioning right in the front lines. The teams, working closely in conjunction with the ground force commander, could call for air support when opposition was encountered, guide the aircraft to their targets, observe the effects of bombing or strafing, and correct any pilot errors without delay. For the dive bomber squadrons of MAGs-24 and -32, this was the long-awaited chance to prove their value to the ground forces.
At 0001 on 1 February, a specially organized "flying column" under the command of Brigadier General William C. Chase set out on the dash to Manila. There was an element of risk involved in the venture, for at such short notice the cavalrymen had not been able to reconnoiter routes of advance. Intelligence concerning the enemy was vague. The only transportation available consisted of vehicles organic to the 1st Cavalry Division and attached units. The advance, carried out over primitive roads, began in a complete blackout; the columns crossed rivers and rice paddies. At dawn the troopers approached Cabanatuan, their first major objective. There, the enemy offered determined resistance which continued throughout the day.
Despite enemy opposition, the column was not long delayed, and the high degree of mobility of the task force began to pay off. Included in the force were reconnaissance, antitank, medical, field artillery, tank, engineer, and infantry heavy weapons units, all working together to form a balanced striking force. Mindful of the mission they had received from General MacArthur, the cavalrymen did not waste any time on a costly frontal assault but, approaching Cabanatuan, converged on the town from three directions. Bypassing the Japanese stronghold, the main body of the task force continued on towards
Manila. The tactic of bypassing the Japanese wherever possible was followed on successive days, for:
The mission of the 1st Cavalry Division was not to become embroiled in a large scale battle with the enemy, however, but rather to dash through him using such force as was necessary to get to Manila where the internees were waiting for liberation.20
During the three day sweep to Manila, the nine Marine dive bombers screening the advance and flanks of the column maintained a continuous vigil during the daylight hours. The planes were not utilized for bombing or strafing as the troops were ab;e to cope with whatever resistance was encountered. Even though this state of affairs was disappointing to the pilots, "the very presence of the planes contributed greatly to the advance of the Division. The planes in effect were the flank guards and were used for observation and recco missions to provide information to the ground units on the status of roads, bridges, etc."21
From the very outset of the operation, an excellent relationship prevailed between the Marine air liaison parties attached to the task force and the cavalrymen. The Marine ALP consisted of two radio jeeps and a radio truck, manned by personnel of MAGs-24 and -32. Each jeep carried a Marine officer and one enlisted man, while the communications officer of MAG-24 and two enlisted men manned the radio truck.22 Indicative of the matter-of-factness and cordiality which the Marine ALP received from the cavalry troopers is the reception accorded them by General Chase, who was in charge of the expedition. When informed of the presence of a radio jeep carrying two Marines, he merely ordered the occupants to stay beside him and his jeep at all times. Since the jeeps travelled well forward and were very useful in getting information from the planes direct to the unit commanders, it was not long before a battalion or regimental commander became a passenger in one of the radio jeeps.23
It was apparent that the simplicity of the Marine air-ground communications setup appealed to General Chase, as did the idea of literally having nine SBDS at his fingertips. Droning overhead in a lazy circle, the dive bombers were ready to pounce downward to stop any threat to the flanks of the column. Subsequently, the Marines were to learn to their astonishment that the 308th Bombardment Wing had also attached a formidable air liaison party to the "flying column." This party consisted of:
. . . a DUKW (complete with Filipino houseboy), a weapons carrier, a jeep, 27 men and 2 officers . . . but its equipment was such that it couldn't keep up with the advance or semi-exposed positions.
Map 20: Route to Manila (1st Cavalry & 37th Infantry Divisions)
XI Corps Landings
Besides, for air support through that channel, requests would have to be forwarded and approved first by Division, then Corps, then Army and finally by 308th Bomb Wing.24
For three days the Marine dive bombers rode shotgun over the exposed left flank of the advancing column. Tirelessly, the Marine aviators searched an area 30 miles ahead and 20 miles behind the advance ground patrols, reporting all enemy troop movements that could conceivably interfere with the cavalrymen's ever lengthening lines of communications.
Aside from the nine SBDs flying over the task force, other Marine aviators bombed and strafed ahead of the column. On 1 February, while fighting at Cabanatuan was still in progress, two separate nine-plane flights attacked ahead of the cavalrymen in air strikes directed against Angst and San Jose del Monte, where enemy troops were known to have concentrated. On the following day, aircraft of VMSBs-133, -142, and -241 bombed and strafed San Ildefonso just ahead of the "flying column." Later on 2 February, after having passed through Baliuag, vanguards of the column linked up with elements of the 37th Infantry Division near Plaridel and crossed the Angst River, where strong opposition was encountered.
To the southeast of Baliuag, near Santa Maria, the cavalrymen encountered a well-entrenched enemy battalion occupying high ground which commanded the road and the river valley. In a situation where a costly firefight appeared unavoidable, the Marine aviators distracted the Japanese through a ruse which had worked once before during the capture of Hellzapoppin Ridge on Bougainville.25 Since friendly troops were too close to enemy positions for a conventional dive bombing and strafing attack, "the dive bombers of MAG-32 made several strafing passes at the Japs without firing a shot . . and enabled the squadron to slug its way into the defensive position and rout the occupants."26
The end of the second day of the drive towards Manila found the vanguard of the column within 15 miles of its objective. As the cavalrymen continued their advance south along Route 5, they ran into a road junction just north of Novaliches which was heavily defended by the Japanese. This junction, quickly dubbed "The Hot Corner," protected the approaches to a vital bridge in the path of the column. When the Marine aviators reported that this bridge was still intact, the cavalrymen rushed the Japanese defenses at the road junction and made for the bridge. Braving a hail of enemy fire, a Navy mine disposal officer ran onto the span and cut a burning fuze to a large mine which would have blown the bridge to bits within seconds.
At 1835 on 3 February, the vanguard of the "flying column" crossed the Manila city limits. The cavalrymen slipped
into the city just as dusk was settling, Guided by two Filipinos, the troopers began to roll past the Chinese Cemetery, where they became embroiled in a running battle with the enemy who sought cover behind the tombstones. The column kept moving through the darkness toward Santo Tomas University. Shortly before 2100, the 3,700 emaciated and tattered internees huddled inside the compound heard the clanking of tank treads.
Indistinct voices floated up to the internees leaning out of the windows bent on missing nothing. A flare was sent up. Its light showed the time to be 8:50 P.M. Everything was quiet.
A voice cut through the darkness: "Where the hell is the front gate?" The Americans had arrived for sure.27
Thus ended the 100-mile dash of the 1st Cavalry Division to Manila. In 66 hours after setting forth from Guimba, the task force had reached its objective, though driving the enemy out of Manila was to prove a costly and time-consuming process which was not due to be completed until 3 March.
For the part they had played during the dash for Manila, the Marine aviators received generous praise from the cavalrymen. The 1st Cavalry Division history evaluated the contribution of the Marines as follows:
Much of the success of the entire movement is credited to the superb air cover, flank protection, and reconnaissance provided by the Marine Air Groups 24 and 32. The 1st Cavalry's audacious drive down through Central Luzon was the longest such operation ever made in the Southwest Pacific Area using only air cover for flank protection.28
Major General Verne D. Mudge, commanding the 1st Cavalry Division, was equally unsparing in his praise. Commenting on the support received from Marine dive bombers, the general had this to say:
On our drive to Manila, I depended solely on the Marines to protect my left flank against possible Japanese counterattack. The job that they turned in speaks for itself. I can say without reservation that the Marine dive bombers are one of the most flexible outfits that I have seen in this war. They will try anything once, and from my experience with them, I have found out that anything they try usually pans out in their favor. The Marine dive bombers of the First Wing have kept the enemy on the run. They have kept him underground and have enabled troops to move up with fewer casualties and with greater speed. I cannot say enough in praise of these men of the dive bombers and I am commending them through proper channels for the job they have done in giving my men close ground support in this operation.29
General Chase remarked "that he had never seen such able, close and accurate air support as the Marine fliers were giving him,"30 and this was ample praise, indeed, from the man who had fearlessly led his "flying column" into the heart of Manila.
Events in the progressing Philippines Campaign did not permit the Marine aviators to rest on their laurels, and other missions, equally as challenging as the drive to Manila, awaited them.
SUPPORTING GUERRILLAS31The excellent record which the Marine aviators of MAG-24 and -32 established in rendering close support to the 1st Cavalry Division on Luzon did not end with the liberation of Manila. While fighting for the capital of the Philippines continued throughout February and into the early days of March, another unusual assignment awaited the Marine pilots. Once again they were called upon to provide close air support, but in this instance the support was for Filipino guerrilla bands which were attempting to drive the Japanese invaders from Philippine soil.
The insurgent movement dated back to the early days of World War II, when U.S. Army officers organized remnants of cut-off Filipino forces into guerrilla bands. At the time that American resistance on Bataan ended, two U.S. Army officers, Major Russell W. Volkmann and Captain Donald D. Blackburn escaped and made their way to Northern Luzon, where they reported for duty to Colonel Martin Moses, the senior U.S. Army officer in that area.32 It was estimated that "five regiments of these natives roamed the mountains and jungles of Northern Luzon,"33 though a more conservative breakdown in the official Army history lists guerrilla strength on Luzon prior to the Lingayen landings at about 8,000 men, of whom only 2,000 were well armed.34 This figure subsequently increased to more than 20,000 men.
Following the Luzon landings, Sixth Army took official cognizance of these insurgents by organizing them under the designation of United States Armed Forces in the Philippines (USAFIP or USFIP), North Luzon (NL). By any standard, the equipment of the guerrillas was primitive and consisted primarily of small arms. They had no artillery, only a few mortars, and very few machine guns.
From the Japanese point of view, even prior to the Lingayen landings, the guerrillas had already become annoyingly active. The Area Army was apprehensive lest all the natives become partisans whenever U.S. troops landed on Luzon. From the middle of November 1944, the Japanese therefore began to suppress the armed guerrillas. The outnumbered and ill-equipped insurgents proved no match for the Japanese, for they were not organized to engage major Japanese units in a sustained effort. At the outset it appeared unlikely "that Volckmann's or any other guerrilla unit, would ever become effective combat organizations."35
Increasing guerrilla strength and successes prompted General Krueger to reassess the role that the insurgents
were to play on Luzon. In the course of February more and more of the irregulars were equipped with arms and uniforms. In addition to harassing the Japanese, guerrillas also were increasingly active in reporting Japanese troop movements and gun positions on northern Luzon by means of radio equipment controlled by Colonel Volckmann. The rapid growth of the guerrilla forces on northern Luzon permitted an expansion of the role that the irregulars were to play. In addition to harassing raids, sabotage, and intelligence, the guerrilla mission was enlarged until in clue time Colonel Volckmann's insurgents were able to substitute for a full combat division.
By mid-February 1945, Sixth Army was aware of the close support work that Marine aviation had been doing on Luzon. Since the Marines had trained ALPs which had already been successful in coaching dive bombers to their targets near Manila, the 308th Bombardment Wing decided to attach Marines to Colonel Volckmann's guerrillas to direct close support missions. Once again, the Marine aviators were confronted with a situation that even a few months previously no one could have anticipated. On 20 February, four officers from MAG-24 and -32 held a preliminary conference with Colonel Volckmann, the purpose of which was to plan methods of giving close air support to the guerrillas on northern Luzon.
As a result of this meeting, three officers, three enlisted men, a radio jeep, and a radio truck were loaded on an LCT and put ashore on northwestern Luzon about 50 miles behind the enemy lines and attached to Colonel Volckmann's guerrilla headquarters at Luna, where they arrived on Washington's Birthday. From the point of view of Marine aviation, the assignment promised to be of more than casual interest, for:
. . . there the airplane could prove itself as a weapon against enemy troops because there was no confusing it with the field artillery and naval gunfire. If a dead Japanese was found who hadn't been drilled by a .30 caliber bullet, the chances were he owed death to the close-support airplane.36
The first mission awaiting the Marine ALP was the elimination of Japanese entrenched on a ridge just east of the enemy-held port of San Fernando. The ridge ran from north to south; in the hands of the guerrillas this terrain feature would afford control over the port city from the east. The trouble was that the Japanese were well dug in on the ridge and held the highest parts of it. The terrain was devoid of cover and with no supporting weapons to assist them, the Filipinos were stymied.
The arrival of the ALP offered new possibilities, which were realized at once. The resourceful guerrillas cut a trail from the north to the top of the ridge. Under cover of darkness, they dragged the radio jeep up to the top, where it was concealed behind a rise in the ground about 50 yards from the front line. A remote control was run from the jeep to a good observation post at a high point just behind the dug-in troops. The radio truck remained a few miles to the rear at a
location where it could function as a direct link between the jeep and MAGsDagupan 50 miles to the south. In order to eliminate any chance of having an air strike hit friendly troops, cloth panels were displayed to mark the front line, a procedure that had already been tested and adopted prior to World War II.
The first strike aircraft to arrive were 12 Army planes, which were guided to the ridge and flew over its entire length until the pilots had a clear picture of the front lines. What followed next has been described in the following words:
All was now set for the strike. Running from north to south at a minimum altitude in three plane sections, the planes released 100-pound parafrags [fragmentation bombs dropped by parachute, fuzed to go off instantaneously on contact] to hit less than 200 yards beyond the front line panels, and at minimum intervals on down the ridge. The result was a complete plastering of the entire ridge and the Jap entrenchments for 1,000 yards ahead of the Filipinos. At the completion of the bomb runs the planes returned and made very low altitude strafing runs, starting in hardly 100 yards ahead of the guerrillas and raking the ridge for a little over 1,000 yards. After three or four live runs were made by the planes everything was set for the troop advance.37
Following a prearranged signal, the guerrillas charged out of their holes while the aircraft, forewarned of the forward movement of friendly troops by radio, skimmed over the heads of the insurgents in dry runs. The Filipinos advanced 1,000 yards to a high point on the ridge without incurring a single casualty, encountering only dead Japanese and seizing a quantity of abandoned materiel en route. About 59 Japanese attempting to withdraw from the ridge were spotted and strafed by the Army aircraft.
Once the aircraft left the area, however, the Japanese rallied and began to inflict casualties. Once more, the Marine radio truck called for air support. On this occasion five Marine dive bombers carrying 500-pound general purpose bombs pounded and strafed the Japanese positions on the center of the ridge. Again the Japanese were forced to pull back from the hill, but on this occasion the radio jeep "talked" the dive bombers onto houses in the valley where a number of the enemy had been observed taking refuge. Both houses and occupants were eliminated after final corrections had been made by dry runs on specific buildings.
On 26 February, as the fight for San Fernando continued, the guerrillas encountered difficulty in driving well dug in Japanese from Reservoir Hill, an elevation just north of the city. Once again, using the same tactics previously employed in driving the enemy from a hilltop at San Fernando, Army and Marine aircraft bombed and machine-gunned the Japanese on the hill, knocking out individual pillboxes during the attack. While aircraft buzzed over their heads, the guerrillas occupied the hill. Later that day the Japanese counterattacked with artillery support and recaptured the height. As a result, on 28 February, the Marine dive bombers and Army fighters had to repeat the entire performance, though on this occasion
napalm was added to burn down bamboo thickets. This measure was effective, and guerrilla capture of Reservoir Hill proved permanent.
In many other instances too numerous to mention here the coaching of air strikes by Marine ALPs in the front lines was similarly successful. In one instance, the air strikes killed 137 out of 150 enemy troops. As to the remainder, the guerrillas reported: "Of the 13 who were still alive, we have killed seven and are hunting the other six in the woods."38 As the guerrilla movement on Luzon grew in size and insurgent operations increased in momentum, the Marines continued to give such close air support as was required. On 1 March, one of the Marine officers serving as a member of the ALP with USAFIP, Captain Jack Titcomb, was killed by a sniper's bullet "while asking for more planes for a strike, microphone in hand."39
Between 5-31 March, a total of 186 missions were flown in support of guerrillas on Northern Luzon. As the guerrilla operations spread to other islands in the archipelago, the Marines provided additional ALPs where needed, as well as the necessary close support. In each instance, the results obtained were the same. The Japanese either died in place or were forced to pull back. Of one position where the Japanese had decided to stick it out, a report of the position after it had been pasted by close support aircraft described it as "a stink hole of dead."40
On northern Luzon, guerrilla operations finally reached proportions where Colonel Volckmann's force was able "to substitute for a full division, taking the place of the regular division that Krueger had planned to send up the west coast in a series of shore to shore operations, an undertaking that by mid-February, USAFIP (NL) successes had rendered unnecessary."41
Once again, as in close support of regular forces, the versatility of Marine aviation had vindicated Lieutenant Colonel McCutcheon's doctrine. Before the liberation of the Philippines was completed, Marine aviators were to make further important contributions to the campaign.
FINAL MARINE AVIATION ACTIVITIES ON LUZON42The arrival of the 1st Cavalry Division in the city of Manila in early February did not mean the end of fighting for the capital of the Philippines. An additional month was required before the last Japanese resistance was wiped out. In the mountains northeast of the city, about 80,000 Japanese were holed up in caves and pillboxes. The Japanese line of defense known as the Shimbu Line, generally extended for about 25 miles, from north to southeast. The
50,000 Japanese comprising the Shimbu Group, firmly entrenched in excellent defensive positions, posed a threat not only to the city of Manila but also to the vital reservoir on which the city depended for its water supply.
Even though Marine aviators had given an excellent account of themselves in supporting the 1st Cavalry Division Drive to Manila and in assisting guerrillas in northwestern Luzon, a number of Army commanders still were unaware of the type of air support available to them or otherwise remained skeptical. It became incumbent upon the Marine aviators to make their capabilities known to high-ranking Army officers. As commander of the Marine air base at Mangaldan, Colonel Jerome approached Major General Innis P. Swift, Commander of I Corps, and the Commanding General of the XIV Corps, Major General Oscar W. Griswold, urging these commanders to make maximum use of close air support. In the final analysis, the division commanders had to be convinced that close support would materially help the infantry.
The task of making the rounds of infantry divisions fell to officers of Colonel Jerome's staff. The efforts of these officers to sell Marine close support to the division commanders did not always fall on fertile ground. One of the division commanders, Major General Edwin D. Patrick, USA, commanding the 6th Infantry Division was particularly hard to convince. Captain James L. McConaughy, Jr., one of the assistant MAG-32 intelligence officers, summed up the division commander's attitude as follows: "He (the general) was scared of airplanes; that is, scared of their accuracy and lack of ground control. He was polite but absolutely firm."43
On 8 February, when the 6th Infantry Division and the 1st Cavalry Division faced formidable Japanese defenses east of Manila, the division commander experienced a change of heart. General Patrick happened to be visiting the 1st Cavalry Division zone of attack when General Mudge, commander of the cavalry division, called for an air strike to help his troops seize a ridge from which the Japanese were pouring heavy machine gun and mortar fire on his troops. When the leader of the air strike arrived overhead, the Marine air liaison officer instructed him to hit the Japanese on the reverse side of the hill in order to preclude any chance of hitting friendly troops. As the two division commanders watched, the target was marked with white phosphorus smoke. Shortly thereafter, the first bomb hit near the crest of the ridge, on the reverse slope. As seven dive bombers in succession unloaded their bombs on the target, "the cavalrymen cheered like football fans."44 After the dust had settled a patrol gingerly moved up to the crest of the ridge. There was no opposition. What was left of 8 machine gun and 15 mortar emplacements offered mute testimony to the effectiveness of close air support. Three hundred enemy dead lay nearby. In
addition, the troopers picked up 11 unmanned heavy machine guns.
Two days later, in the biggest strike of the Luzon campaign, 81 aircraft from VMSBs-241, -142, -243, -244, and -341 attacked Japanese oil dumps, antiaircraft artillery positions, and a number of towns serving as enemy strongpoints. Once again, with the help of guerrilla-supplied information, the bombs landed square on target.
By this time General Patrick required no further urging. When the 6th Infantry Division launched an attack against the Shimbu Line on 24 February, the division commander saw to it that Marine aviators were coached to the target by an air liaison officer. The first bombs hit targets 1,000 yards from the friendly troops, but on subsequent runs bombs were dropped within 500 yards or less from the American lines. All the tricks of the trade, including dummy runs while the infantry advanced, were employed.
General Patrick was so impressed with this performance that henceforth he not only began to insist on close air support but also required all units of his division to submit accurate evaluations of air strikes. As they arrived, such evaluations bore additional witness to the value of Marine air support. One of the regiments of the 6th Infantry Division, the 1st Infantry, staunchly refused to have anything to do with air support--Marine or otherwise. Colonel James E. Rees, the regimental commander, had been leery of aircraft ever since 4 February when Fifth Air Force B-25s, making an unscheduled strafing run across the regimental front, had killed 2 and wounded 25 of his men near San Jose north of Manila.45 However, on 28 February a situation arose which made it incumbent upon the regimental commander to call for the assistance of Marine aircraft. During the heavy fighting then in progress at the Shimbu Line to the east of Manila, most of a group of 15 or 20 men withdrawing from high ground near Mount Mataba lost their footing and tumbled into a 40 foot ravine. Eventually a lieutenant and a dozen men wound up in the ravine. which was covered by enemy fire. The men refused to abandon the lieutenant whose leg was injured and who was unable to walk. A member of the Marine ALP in the vicinity has described the situation as follows:
There were Japs a couple of hundred yards away, though because of the terrain it might take them an hour to reach the stranded party. We said we could help. After a very thorough briefing, all by radio, the regimental commander said the lead plane could drop one wing bomb. It was beautiful to watch. We were on a high cliff on one side of the valley and it was a clear day. The first drop was dead on. The colonel was impressed and allowed that we could let the lead plane come in again and drop his belly and other wing bomb. It took the SBD 20 minutes to climb up again. His second dive was fantastically accurate, too, and the colonel said he was convinced, so the other eight planes followed the squadron leader down. The bombing was fantastically successful--the farthest one of 27 bombs being 30 yards off the target. They got the party out thanks to this discouragement to the Nips and from then on this colonel couldn't get enough planes for his regiment. Literally,
he asked for nine flights (nine planes each) as a standing, daily order.46
One of the bystanders closely observing the air strikes was General Patrick, commander of the 6th Infantry Division. In a letter of commendation, the division commander had this to say about Marine air support and this incident:
The close air support given this Division by the 308th Bombardment Wing and Marine Air Group, Dagupan (MAGD), in the operations now being conducted in the Marakina Watershed area has been outstanding. The advance of our troops over difficult mountainous terrain against a well-armed determined enemy is being made possible in no small part by such air strikes.
Particularly noteworthy have been the skillfully coordinated and accurate air strikes of the SBD's of the MAGD based at Mangaldan Field. In one strike made on 28 February against Mt. Mataba, these Marine pilots dive-bombed a pinpointed target located between two friendly forces with accuracy comparable to that obtained by field artillery. The courage, patience, and willingness displayed by these men deserve high praise.47
Throughout the month of February, while bitter fighting continued in and around Manila, Marine aviation remained much in evidence in the Philippine capital. In addition to providing close air support to the ground troops, SBDs of MAGs-24 and -32 dive-bombed Nichols Field, attacked docks and buildings on Corregidor, struck at derelict shipping that served as enemy nests of resistance in Manila Harbor, and otherwise harassed the Japanese at every turn. Marine aviators, never loath to improvise when the situation called for it, soon took advantage of one of the broader Manila avenues:
Within three days after the American entry into Manila, the 1st Cavalry Brigade had established itself in the vicinity of Quezon City, a suburb in the eastern outskirts of Manila. A widened Quezon boulevard turned into a makeshift airstrip, became a familiar roosting spot for SBDS. Especially did it facilitate pilot forays to front lines for ground liaison duty or observation. A MAGSDAGUPAN skeleton crew later was maintained on the "strip" to service Marine planes landing there, and two jeeps were kept on hand for transportation forward.
* * * * * * *The boulevard-strip, as an emergency landing field during these (close support) operations, had something more than incidental utility. For a time, an average of one SBD per day had reason to seek refuge there because of damage from antiaircraft fire, mechanical difficulties or fuel shortage.48
For the remainder of February and during early March the SBDs gave close support to the 6th, 25th, 37th, 38th, 40th, and 43d Infantry Divisions, as well as the 1st Cavalry and the 11th Airborne Divisions. In the case of each division the Marine aviators found acceptance once the quality of their air support had become recognized. Far from being content to rest on their laurels, Marine aviators continued to perfect air-ground coordination of air strikes. One innovation tested on 19 February was the use of an airborne coordinator. A single plane, piloted by the air coordinator, reported to the
U.S. ARMY 37TH INFANTRY DIVISION troops move up Highway 5 on Luzon after Marine dive bomber attack on enemy hill positions. (USMC A700603).
MARINE DIVE BOMBERS returning from close air support mission for Sixth Army troops on Luzon. (USMC 109092)
SAP and ALP prior to arrival on target of the strike flight. Ground radio tendered him all target and friendly troop identification and, upon the arrival of the flight over the target, he would make a marking run on the objective for their benefit. This run could be followed by an immediate attack.
Aside from an occasional air alert, the air base at Mangaldan escaped enemy attack throughout the month of February. Early on 2 March, the Japanese struck back in retaliation for all the indignities Marine aviation had heaped upon them since the invasion of Luzon. At 0200 a Japanese twin-engine bomber (commonly known as Betty), flying at a high altitude, was picked up by the searchlights. While every antiaircraft gun in the area opened up on this lone intruder, almost all personnel stood up in their foxholes to watch the action. Exploiting the diversion, two additional Bettys came over the camp area at an altitude of 300 feet or less and dropped nearly 300 antipersonnel bombs on the unsuspecting Marines. The casualties caused by this air attack were 4 dead and 78 wounded.49 Among the officers wounded were Colonel Lyle H. Meyer, who had assumed command of MAGsDagupan on 19 February, and Lieutenant Colonel Wallace T. Scott, operations officer of MAG-32.
Around a dozen 500-lb. bombs struck the east end of the airfield and burrowed deeply into the ground, but did not explode. A direct bomb hit on an SBD resulted in the total loss of the aircraft; another SBD had a wing torn off by shell fragments. Damage to the telephone switchboard, sick bay area, ordnance and quartermaster tents, and other base facilities was extensive. Nevertheless, the raid did not disrupt flight operations, and squadrons carried out their assigned strikes as usual while the ground echelon went about the business of restoring the camp.
The progress of operations on Luzon and operations planned for the southern Philippines resulted in a reshuffling of Marine aviation units at MAGsDagupan. As early as mid-February Colonel Jerome received word that MAG-32 would be used in the Mindanao campaign and that the ground echelon of the air group would accompany Army assault forces into Zamboanga on 10 March. For the Zamboanga operation, one additional tactical squadron was transferred to MAG-32, bringing the strength of the air group to four squadrons. By 20 February the ground echelon of MAG-32 had moved to the vicinity of San Fabian, and departed in LSTS on 23 February. Some members of the MAG-32 headquarters staff left Mangaldan during the last two days of February by air transport.
Even though the landings at Zamboanga took place on schedule on 10 March, the flight echelon of MAG-32 remained on Luzon until 24 March, the last aircraft of the air group departing from the island on the 26th. MAG-24, now reduced to three squadrons, remained at Mangaldan. For the ground echelon of MAG-24, the departure of MAG-32 planes and pilots represented a major relief, since the movement of the ground echelon of MAG-32 on 23 February had imposed on the MAG-24
ground crews the necessity of servicing both air groups. Combat operations of MAG-24 continued unchanged until 2 April, when the squadrons were ordered to halt operations and prepare for movement to Mindanao. As the ground echelon of MAG-24 was in the process of boarding ship on 7 April, Sixth Army called for the resumption of combat operations. Torrential rains and extremely heavy mud precluded operational use of Mangaldan until 10 April, when nine aircraft bombed the Japanese near Balete Pass. Four days later, it became evident that rain and mud were washing out the airfield, and all operations ceased as of that date. The flight echelons of the three squadrons moved south to Clark Field. On 20 April MAG-24 joined MAG-32 on Mindanao.
During the time they operated on Luzon, the Marine aviators of MAGs- 24 and -32 had flown a total of 8,842 combat missions. The SBDS fired over one and a half million rounds of .30 and .50 caliber ammunition and dropped 19,167 bombs. Between 27 January and 14 April, the Marines flew an average of 1,000 sorties per week.50 The ground crews at MAGsDagupan kept an average of 81 percent of the SBDS in a state of combat readiness; in many instances individual aircraft were flown up to nine hours per day.
Marine Corps files are replete with letters of commendation from Army corps and division commanders who witnessed the performance of Marine aviators on Luzon. In praising the achievements of Marines on Luzon, General Walter Krueger, commanding the Sixth Army, had this to say:
In the crucial stages of the Luzon Campaign . . . this support was of such high order that I personally take great pleasure in expressing to every officer and enlisted man . . . my appreciation and official commendation for their splendid work.
Commanders have repeatedly expressed their admiration for the pin-point precision, the willingness and enthusiastic desire of pilots to fly missions from dawn to dusk and the extremely close liaison with the ground forces which characterized the operations of the Marine fighter groups. By constant visits of commanders and pilots to front line units in order to observe targets and to gain an understanding of the ground soldier's problems, by the care which squadron commanders and pilots took to insure the maximum hits, and by the continuous, devoted work of ground crews in maintaining an unusually high average of operational crews, the 24th and 32d Marine Air Groups exemplified outstanding leadership, initiative, aggressiveness and high courage in keeping with the finest traditions of the Marine Corps.51
Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (IV-2) * Next Chapter (IV-4)
1 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this chapter is derived from: 1st MAW WarD, Dec44; VMF-212 WarDs, 0ct44-Feb45; VMF-222 WarDs, 0ct44-Mar45; USSBS, Pacific Campaigns; Robert Ross Smith, Triumph in the Philippines--The War in the Pacific--U.S. Army in World War II (Washington: OCMH, DA, 1963), hereafter Smith, Triumph in the Philippines; Samuel Eliot Morison, The Liberation of the Philippines, Luzon, Mindanao, the Visayas, 1944-1945--History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, v. XIII ( Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1959) hereafter Morison, Liberation of the Philippines.
2 The names of squadron commanders during this time period have been included in the Marine Task Organization and Command List which forms an appendix to this volume.
3 1st MAW WarD, Dec44,
4 USSBS, Pacific Campaigns, p. 288.
5 For a detailed account of Marine aviators on carriers, see Benis M. Frank and Henry I. Shaw, Jr., Victory and Occupation--History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War 11, v. V (Washington: HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, 1969), Part III, Chap 2, section entitled "Marine Air on Carriers," passim.
6 USSBS, Pacific Campaigns, p. 288.
7 Morison, Liberation of the Philippines, p. 105.
8 Ibid., App IV, p. 325.
9 USSBS, Pacific Campaigns, p. 289.
11 Smith, Triumph in the Philippines, p. 27.
12 Ibid., p. 28.
13 Colonel Clayton C. Jerome interview by Robert Sherrod, cited in Sherrod, Marine Corps Aviation in World War II, p. 299.
14 Sherrod, Marine Corps Aviation in World War II, p. 289.
15 VMF-212 and VMF-222 WarDs, Jan-Feb45.
16 USSBS, Pacific Campaigns, p. 289.
17 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: Marine Aviation in Close Air Support File; (HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC), hereafter Marine Close Air Support File; McCutcheon Rpt; Philippines Comment File; Maj Bertram C. Wright, USA, The First Cavalry Division in World War II (Tokyo: Toppan Printing Company, Ltd., 1947) hereafter, Wright, 1st CavDiv Hist; Hayashi and Coox, Kaigun; Sherrod, Marine Corps Aviation in World War II.
18 General MacArthur to MajGen Verne D. Mudge, (USA), cited in Wright, 1st CavDiv Hist, p. 126.
19 "The 308th Bomb Wing did not want to authorize the 1st Cavalry Division to levy requests on us directly. Since the Division could not tell a day ahead exactly when and where targets would occur we suggested to them that they submit a request for nine aircraft to be overhead on station continuously from dawn to dusk. These arrangements were made by Captain Francis B. "Frisco" Godolphin of MAG-24. He visited the 1st Cavalry and ran into a staff officer who had been a student of his at Princeton University. Liaison was thus firmly established. The Division requested the aircraft from the 308th Bomber Wing. The 308th flagged us. We took it from there." MajGen Keith B. McCutcheon ltr to Head, HistBr, dtd 210ct66, in Philippines Comment File, hereafter McCutcheon ltr.
20 Wright, 1st CavDiv Hist, p. 127.
21 Mccutcheon Rpt, p. 8.
22 With General Chase and the 1st Brigade was the radio jeep with Captain McAloney, driven by radio operator PFC P.E. Armstrong. With General Hugh Hoffman and the 2d Brigade was Captain Godolphin and his driver-radio man, Technical Sergeant R.B. Holland. In the radio truck, traveling with General Mudge and division headquarters were Captain Titcomb, Staff Sergeant A.A. Byers, and Staff Sergeant P. J. Miller. Captain Samuel H. McAloney ltr to CMC, n.d., in Philippines Comment File,
25 Ibid. For a detailed account of the battle for Hellzapoppin' Ridge, see Henry I. Shaw, Jr., and Maj Douglas T. Kane,Isolation of Rabaul--History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II, v. II (Washington: HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, 1963), Part III, Chap 6, section entitled "Hellzapoppin' Ridge and Hill 600A," passim.
26 Wright, 1st CavDiv Hist, p. 128.
27 Ibid., p. 125.
28 Ibid., p. 127.
29 Statement of MajGen Verne D. Mudge, USA, n.d., in Marine Close Air Support File, p. 9.
30 Ibid., p. 3.
31 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: MAG-32 WarDs, Jan44-Jun45; Wright, 1st CavDiv Hist; Sherrod, Marine Corps Aviation in World War II; Hayashi and Coox, Kaigun.
32 BGen Russell W. Volkmann, USA, ltr to Head, HistBr, G-3 Div, HQMC, dtd 21Nov66, in Philippines Comment File, hereafter Volkmann ltr.
33 Sherrod, Marine Corps Aviation in World War II, p. 307,
34 Smith, Triumph in the Philippines, p. 466.
35 Ibid. The above is disputed by General Volckmann who claims that after January 1944 the Japanese forces presented very little overall threat to USAFIP. Volkmann ltr.
36 Sherrod, Marine Corps Aviation in World War II, p. 308.
37 Samuel H. McAloney, "Air support," in Marine Corps Gazette, v. 29, no. 11, (Nov 45), pp. 38-43, hereafter McAloney, "Air Support."
38 Ibid., p. 40.
39 Comment of Capt Samuel H. McAloney, as cited in Sherrod, Marine Corps Aviation in World Way II, p. 310.
40 McAloney, "Air Support," p. 41.
41 Smith, Triumph in the Philippines, p. 467.
42 Unless otherwise noted, the material in this section is derived from: MAG-24 WarD, Mar45; MAG-32 WarDs, Feb-Mar45; Marine Close Air Support File; Boggs, Marines in the Philippines; Sherrod, Marine Corps Aviation in World War II.
43 Capt James L. McConaughy, Jr., Itr to Robert Sherrod, dtd 13May48, as cited in Boggs, Marines in the Philippines, p. 84. hereafter McConaughy ltr.
44 Sherrod, Marine Corps Aviation in World War II, p. 304,
45 6th InfDiv Jnl and Jnl File, 4Feb45; 1st InfRpt Luzon, pp. 23-24 as cited in Smith, Triumph in the Philippines, p. 198.
46 McConaughy ltr.
47 MajGen Edwin D. Patrick ltr to CO, 308th Bombardment Wing; CO, Marine Air Group, Dagupan (MAGD) Thru: CG, XIV Corps, dtd 1Mar45, in Marine Close Air Support File.
48 Boggs, Marines in the Philippines, p. 90.
49 MAG-24 WarD, Mar45.
50 Figures taken from Marine Corps statistics as cited in Sherrod, Marine Corps Aviation in World War II, p. 311.
51 General Walter Krueger ltr to CO, 1st MAW, dtd 16May45, in Marine Close Air Support File.