"REPORTS OF GENERAL MACARTHUR"

(The 503d PRCT
in Northern Negros)

_________________
 

 

Map 30
Clearing the Central Visayan Islands

 

Map 98 (section)
Operations to clear Northern Negros
18 March - 20 June 1945

 

Not Airborne - Trainborne, from Fabrica to Malapasoc -   Within 5 minutes of this picture being taken, the train would be bombed by a cowboy in a B-24 - Maurice St. Germaine is pictured.

 

3d Squad, 1st Platoon, "D" Co. on Patrol,
Negros, July 1945. 

 

John Reynolds ("D" Co.) on patrol, Negros, July 1945. 

 

D Company on Patrol, Negros, July 1945. 

 

John Grubb and John Mara relaxing on patrol, Negros, July 1945

 

 

The Reports of General MacArthur were printed by General MacArthur's Tokyo headquarters in 1950. Since they were Government property, the General turned the reports and their related source material over to the Department of the Army in 1953.  In Army and National Archives custody these materials have been available for research although they have not been easily accessible.  While he lived, General MacArthur was unwilling to approve the reproduction and dissemination of the Reports, because he believed they needed further editing and correction of some inaccuracies. His passing permitted publication, but not the correction he deemed desirable. In publishing them, the Department of the Army disclaimed any responsibility for their accuracy. But the Army also recognized that the reports have substantial and enduring value.

The preliminary work for compiling the MacArthur volumes began in 1943 within the G-3 Section of his General Staff, and was carried forward after the war by members of the G-2 Section, headed by Maj. Gen. Charles A. Willoughby with Professor Gordon W. Prange, on leave from the University of Maryland, as his principal professional assistant. The very large number of individuals, American and Japanese, who participated in the compilation and editing of the Reports would make a complete listing of contributors relatively meaningless.

 

The Attack on Negros Occidental

On 29 March the 40th Division, less one regimental combat team, crossed Guimaras Strait from Iloilo and landed at Pulupandon on Negros Occidental. There was no preliminary naval bombardment and the landing was made without opposition. The landing force pushed rapidly inland and the strategic Bago River Bridge was secured after a brief skirmish. Lack of initial resistance was largely due to the assistance of the strong guerrilla units of Colonel Abcede, which were instrumental in confining the enemy principally to the north and northwest coasts of the island.

Troops of the 185th Regimental Combat Team moved northward, crossed the Magsungay River in the face of intense enemy fire and began their attack on Bacolod.42 After destroying a portion of the city, the Japanese garrison had withdrawn to the north and east, leaving a small delaying force capable of only limited action. Bacolod and its airdrome were secured by 30 March, and the outskirts of Talisay were reached the following day. By this time it had become apparent that the enemy did not intend to defend the coastal areas but would make a strong stand in the rugged high ground of the north-central part of the island.43

The Japanese fought tenaciously at Talisay but the town and airfield fell on 2 April. Silay, a small barrio to the north, was taken the next day. Meanwhile, the 160th Regimental Combat Team had moved into positions at Bacolod vacated by the 185th Regimental Combat Team in its drive northward. The primary objectives in Negros Occidental had been secured; the 40th Division controlled the most important section of the west coast, extending from Silay to Pulupandan, while the area south of Pulupandan was mostly in guerrilla hands.

The division's next attack was directed inland against the Japanese prepared defenses in the mountain ranges of north-central Negros. This eastward advance was rapid and opposed only by delaying actions of a minor nature. By 4 April, the only remaining enemy defense areas in Negros Oriental were the pockets in the central mountain range and the fortified town of Dumaguete.

On 8 April, the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team made an overwater movement from Mindoro to assist the 40th Division. Taking charge of activity on the left flank, it began a concerted attack against the enemy main defense line the next day. Japanese resistance to the 40th Division's advance increased with time, bearing out intelligence predictions that the thrust would encounter the enemy's main defenses.44 Following the first day's operations in the division's assault, it became evident that progress would be slow and tedious for the Japanese were well-entrenched in rugged terrain.

In spite of this vigorous opposition, the attacking forces advanced steadily as the Japanese fell back from strong point to strong point. During the latter part of April the enemy defense deteriorated more quickly; however, it was not until mid-May that operations in the hills were considered to have passed into the mopping-up stage. Even then, with close support from bombers of the Thirteenth Air Force and guerrilla reinforcements, the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team made but slow progress in the hill mass south of Fabrica. Isolated though they were, the Japanese in that area continued to resist until the cessation of hostilities on 15 August.

Reconnaissance elements of the division meanwhile swung around the north coast of Negros and advanced down the east coast almost to Dumaguete. Here they were met by a combat team of the Americal Division which had landed on 26 April as a part of the Victor II operation. In this eastern area no organized enemy resistance was found and, by the end of May, pursuit of these fleeing remnants was taken over by Filipino guerrillas. In the mountains southwest of Dumaguete, United States forces encountered strong Japanese defenses which were not overcome until the second week in June. On 9 June the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team received orders to relieve the troops engaged in Negros Oriental and garrison the island. It thereupon assumed the responsibility for all further operations on Negros.45

 

 

The report gave reasons for the stiffening enemy resistance - reasons just as valid for the 503d PRCT as for the 164th RCT about which they were written:

"..the Japanese had taken advantage of the commanding terrain to create a formidable series of cave and pillbox defenses from which they could be ejected only with great difficulty. Meanwhile, the enemy had an unobstructed view of American movements and could put up a tenacious and effective resistance to delay the progress of the attacking forces. Reducing the well-entrenched Japanese forces became a slow and tedious process. Direct infantry assaults in the face of suicidal opposition became the pattern of combat. The American tactics of sustained assaults upon position after position, however, proved effective."

 

More -  The 503d PRCT at Corregidor

RETURN TO 503D HERITAGE BN CONTENTS PAGE

 

 

 

ROCK FORCE CORREGIDOR is privately supported by The Corregidor Historic Society/The 503d PRCT Heritage Battalion, and by donors like you.

Join us, and make sure we're here the next time you are.


Editorial Heritage Bn. Policy
Board Members

Copyright 1999-2010, All Rights Reserved to the named authors, The Corregidor Historic Society & The 503d PTCT Heritage Bn. 
Last Updated: 24-04-11

Footnotes

42 Lt. Col. Shigekatsu Aritomi, Staff Officer of the 77th Infantry Brigade, Japanese 102nd Division, revealed that it had been planned to destroy all bridges on the route to Bacolod, but the rapidity with which the American forces secured them, plus the fact that the detonators of the explosive charges were mechanically defective, prevented their destruction. Continuing, Colonel Aritomi said: Since our supplies were cut off, our policy was to obstruct the Americans as long as possible and to destroy the airfields so that they would be useless to the Americans. We also planned to destroy all the bridges but failed in this. "10th Information and Historical Service, HQ Eighth Army, Staff Study of Japanese Operations on Negros Island.

43 Panay-Negros-Cebu Operations, pp. 27-35.

44 G-2, GHQ, SWPA, Monthly Summary of Enemy Dispositions, Mar 45 .

45 Op. cit., Apr 45; 40th Div, Victor I Report; CO 503rd PRCT, Report to TAG, "Historical Report for the Operation V-1, 7 April-20 June 45, (503rd RCT)" G-3, GHQ, SWPA Journal, 20 Jun 45 (S); CO 164th Inf. Report to TAG, "Operations Report, Cebu, Negros, 164th Inf." G-3, GHQ, SWPA Journal, 30 Jun 45 (S).