Batangas, Lzon, Philippine Islands. April 1945. Shows beach operated by 592 EBSR for the Base. Shore Engineers direct unloading Boat Battalion LCMs.

 

 

 

6

The 592d's "Inland Navy" should not be forgotten in recalling those days on Luzon. "Laguna de Bay" is a large freshwater lake lying southwestward of Manila Bay with which it is connected by the Pasig River.  This lake was the center of operations for two units of the 592d.  The southern part of Laguna de Bay was under the control of General Griswold's XIV Corps. After attempts to clean out the Japs from the shores and islands of the lake proved difficult by land, the 592d were called upon to supply an "inland Navy." Pontoon bridges across the Pasig River prevented the entrance of even small boats, so the LCVPs chosen for the operation had to be taken overland on huge trailers and launched in the lake.  1st Lieutenant James Amory of Hilton, Virginia had six LCVPs operating under XIV Corps while 1st Lieutenant Albert Gappelli of Providence, Rhode Island, had four LCVPs in operation under General Swift's XI Corps.  Both detachments did invaluable work running patrols and combat missions to various points around the shores and on the islands of Laguna de Bay.

In March of 1945 a task group was organized to move to Batangas on Southern Luzon to help establish a new base. This group consisted of Company C that was at Nasugbu and Company E that was stationed at Subic Bay. The task group was under the command of Major Rex K. Shaul.  Company E with Major Shaul left Rifle-range Beach and proceeded to Nasugbu where they rested for a few days prior to moving on to Batangas. When the whole group finally arrived at their destination, work was started once again.  The Boat Company provided lighterage and ran some combat missions while the shore company constructed roads and supply dumps. 1st Lieutenant John Kentzel of San Francisco, California, earned undying fame at Batangas in his position as labor king and mayor of the town.

By the middle of May most of the 592d Regiment had moved to the city of Batangas-that "garden spot of the Philippines." Major Frank L. Mann had left the regiment for assignment to the Amphibious Training Command and his Subic Bay detachment of Companies A and F were once more back in the regimental fold. Colonel Keyes returned to the United States for a well-deserved rest and Lt Colonel Kaplan assumed command of the regiment.  For the first time in more than two years it looked as though the regiment was in for a relatively long spell of inactivity, so Colonel Kaplan made an all-out effort to make living conditions as pleasant as possible.  In preparation for the rainy season all tents were given bamboo floors and frames, while drainage ditches and duck walks were laid throughout the area.  Clubs were constructed for both officers and enlisted men.  Dances, movies. And occasional USO shows provided them with adequate entertainment.

But even during this period of relative ease the 592d was not completely out of action, because part of Company B was still conducting missions along the southern shore of Luzon between Batangas and Legaspi.  They had a detachment at Guinayangan and from there made the first landing at Pasacao after which re-supply missions were run between the two places.  This detachment moved back to Legaspi, but on the 15th of May moved again from Legaspi to Mauban. After the fall of Manila portions of the Japanese Army fighting there with a particularly large number of "attached" personnel including Formosan and Korean slave laborers, retreated in a more or less orderly fashion south and east into the mountains and rougher country which offered better protection. Since there were no overland roads, the best approach to these Jap remnants was by sea. This was a made-to order job for the Amphibians.  Part of Company B with their CMS and a rocket boat were sent from Legaspi to perform it.

The Japanese forces were holed up in the barren mountains south of Dilvgalen Bay and were a mixture of Jap regulars with some Jap civilian workers and a great many Formosan and Korean "slave" laborers. Our LCMs worked as far north as Infanta, 300 miles up from Legaspi.

There was good evidence that the non-military part of the enemy population wanted to surrender but were held back by the military command.  The 592d found itself engaged for the first time in a new type of warfare - psychological.  This consisted of the installation of a high volume loudspeaker on the side of an LCM which was to cruise up and down the coast for a distance of about forty miles, going just as close to shore as they safely could.  From the barge an American Neisi interpreter talked to the surrounded Japs.  He urged them to surrender and explained just how it could be accomplished. This novel idea could not be considered a tremendous success for only a few women succumbed to the wiles of the loudspeaker. In dealing with the Japs it seems that bullets speak louder than words.

With the completion of their fifteen combat landings and the retreat of the japs into the hills, the 592d's job on Luzon was finished.  What they had set out to accomplish was done. Corregidor had been recaptured and Manila was once again under American control.  But the war was not yet over. Ahead of the American Army lay their one last objective on the road to Tokyo - the Imperial City itself.

Until that invasion would take place, the 592d EBSR, Brigade Headquarters, and the 287th Signal Company waited on Luzon; the 532d EBSR on Panay; the 542d EBSR on Cebu; and still on Leyte the remaining elements of the brigade including the Quartermaster Headquarters and Headquarters Company, the 162d Ordnance Maintenance Company, the 262d Medical Battalion, and the 562d Engineer Boat Maintenance Battalion. Everyone wondered what would happen next.

 

Men of Regimental Headquarters, 592 EBSR.
Batangas, Luzon, P.I. May 1945

 

 

Officers of the 592 Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment.
Batangas, Luzon, Philippine Islands. May 1945.

 

 
 
 
 

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