Sabado, Mayo 11, 2013

BATTLE OF PIIS LUCBAN,QUEZON DECEMBER 26 1941







      withdrawal of the American and Philippine troops south of Manila

he withdrawal of the American and Philippine troops south of Manila began at the same time that General Wainwright's forces evacuated the D-1 line. At about 1000, 24 December, General Parker had turned over command of the South Luzon Force to General Jones and left for Bataan. Jones, who retained command of the 51st Division (PA), inherited four American officers from Parker's staff. It was fortunate that he did, for there were none on his division staff.
Jones' orders when he assumed command of the South Luzon Force were to "block the enemy advance" and, "when forced to do so," withdraw past the open city of Manila and join Wainwright's forces north of the city. While USAFFE orders directed General Jones to "harass and delay to the utmost the advance of the enemy," they made clear that his primary mission was to get his troops out of south Luzon and into Bataan.
The force under General Jones' command was much smaller than Wainwright's North Luzon Force. It consisted primarily of the 1st Infantry of the 1st Division (PA) and the inadequately trained and poorly equipped 51st Division (PA), which had for its artillery component only one battalion of eight British 75s. The 42d Infantry, 41st Division (PA), was assigned to beach defense on the west side of the island. The rest of the division had gone with General Parker to Bataan. Artillery support for the South Luzon Force was provided by the three batteries of 155-mm. GPFs of the 86th Field Artillery, defending the beaches in southwest Luzon, and three batteries of 75-mm. guns (SPM) organized into the 2d Provisional Group. Armored support was limited to one company--Company C of the 194th Tank Battalion--detached from the parent organization with the North Luzon Force.
The Japanese force in south Luzon was numerically smaller than the composite American and Philippine force defending the area. Drawn from the 16th Division and led by the division commander, Lt. Gen. Susumu Morioka, it consisted of the 20th Infantry, the 16th Regiment, and supporting arms and services.


GENERAL ALFRED M  JONES
                         JAPANESE LANDING FORCES DECEMBER 1941


General Morioka's route to the Philippine capital was not as broad or as smooth as that followed by General Tsuchibashi in the north. The Japanese in northern Luzon had the wide central plain to traverse; the path of the 16th Division was blocked by mountains
 and broad lakes. Immediately after landing at Lamon Bay, Morioka had crossed the steep Tayabas mountains with the major part of his force. Before him were the towering heights of Mt. Banahao. To reach Manila he would have to skirt the southern slopes of this obstacle and follow Route 1 westward. Once beyond Mt. Banahao he could turn north toward the huge inland lake called Laguna de Bay, follow Route 1 along its western shore, thence through the narrow corridor between the lake and Manila Bay into the city of Manila itself. The smaller force which had landed at Mauban would have to skirt the northern foothills of Mt. Banahao, move along the south shore of Laguna De Bay to Route 1, then northward to the capital city. The two enemy forces would have to act independently until they were halfway to Manila.


                                   JAPANESE FORCES AT THE BEACH

If the Japanese advance westward in two columns made mutual support of the two columns impossible once Mt. Banahao was reached, it also presented General Jones with a serious problem: to maintain contact between his units in order to avoid hostile flanking movements. he solved his problem by assigned a half-track patrol from Company C, 1946h Tank Battalion, to patrol the north-south road in front (east) of Mt. Banahao. This patrol was charged with maintaining contact between the 1st Infantry to the north and the 52d and 53 Infantry to the south



Withdrawal From Mauban
Of the two Japanese columns moving west from Lamon Bay, the northernmost, which had landed at Mauban, was the weaker, its mission the less important. This force, led by Colonel Tsunehiro, was numerically small, about the size of a battalion combat team, and consisted of the 2d Battalion, 20th Infantry, supported by a battery of the 22d Field Artillery. Unless it was allowed to advance entirely unchecked, Tsunehiro's force could have no decisive effect on the outcome of the action. Its mission was merely to advance along the south shore of Laguna de Bay toward Manila. If necessary, Tsunehiro could turn south shortly after capturing Lucban to aid the main force of the 16th Division advancing from Atimonan.
Opposing Colonel Tsunehiro was the 1st Infantry (less 3d Battalion) of the 1st Regular Division (PA), dug in near Sampaloc, seven miles west of Mauban. At 0300 on Christmas Day it began an unauthorized withdrawal toward Lucban, about eight miles to the west. General Jones did not learn of this move until noon when, as he was about to begin his Christmas dinner, a motorcycle messenger from the half-track patrol of Company C, 194th Tank Battalion, came in with the news. He immediately

: Withdrawal in the South-
went forward to stop the retreat. Meanwhile, the Japanese reached Sampaloc, which they took without opposition. From there they pushed on toward the barrio of Piis, four miles distant.


                                                 JAPANESE SOLDIER
Lt General Susumu Morioka reported Japanese Casualties from 24 December through, January 1 as 128 killed and 260 wounded in action 16th Division Operation. ATIS enemy pub 355. pp .11



                        MOTORCYCLE MESSENGER CATNAPPING
General Jones located the headquarters of the 1st Infantry near Luisiana, about six miles northwest of Lucban on Route 23. Angered by the retreat, he demanded of Maj. Ralph E. Rumbold, the senior American instructor, "just what the devil" he meant by pulling back. Rumbold replied that he had been ordered to do so by the commander of the South Luzon Force, "General Parker." Jones thereupon informed him that he, Jones, now commanded the South Luzon Force, and that the 1st Infantry was to establish contact with the enemy immediately. With a half-track from the tank company General Jones set out in his own vehicle ahead of the 1st Infantry to seek a suitable delaying position. At about 1900, near Piis, he met an enemy patrol. The Japanese, equipped with machine guns, opened fire on Jones' party and disabled the half-track. The patrol was finally dispersed and Jones returned to the 1st Infantry, the half-track crew hiking back carrying its machine guns. By this time Rumbold had pushed forward toward Piis buthad been halted by a combination of rain, darkness, and enemy fire.
On his return to the 1st Infantry lines late that night General Jones ordered Major Rumbold to fight a delaying action until he was forced to withdraw. he was to retire northwest along Route 23 to a point above Luisiana and hold there until further notice.
The next morning, 26 December, Rumbold ordered the 2d Platoon, Company C, 194th Tank Battalion, which General Jones had attached to the 1st Infantry the previous evening, to attack the Japanese in Piis. Lt. Robert F. Needham, the platoon leader, suggested a reconnaissance first, but was told that it would be unnecessary since the enemy was understood to have nothing larger than .50-caliber machine guns. Advancing in column along the narrow road, the tanks ran into a strong Japanese roadblock consisting of antitank guns, 75-mm. guns, and several machine guns. The enemy block had been prepared the previous evening, after the fight with General Jones' half-track, in expectation of an American mechanized attack. During the action that followed, the platoon's lead and rear tanks were knocked out, immobilizing the others on the narrow road, and Lieutenant Needham and his crew in the lead tank killed. The surviving tanks managed to escape, to drift back finally into the American lines at the end of the month.
Deprived of tank support, the 1st Infantry fell back to the junction of the Mauban road and Route 23. Here it was joined shortly before noon by more than three hundred retired Philippine Scouts led by Maj. Montgomery McKee, a retired Scout officer. These grizzled veterans, trained and disciplined by a lifetime in the Scouts, had long since served their time. Called on to bolster the raw Filipino troops, they assembled hurriedly near Fort McKinley and, in a fleet of taxicabs, rushed to the front. General Jones immediately attached them to the 1st Infantry and replaced Major Rumbold with McKee, their commander. These "seasoned, trained men," wrote Col. Stuart C. MacDonald, South Luzon Force chief of staff, "definitely stiffened the green 1st Infantry."
Meanwhile, Colonel Tsunehiro had been advancing along the Mauban road. When he reached the road junction where the 1st Infantry and the Scouts were dug in, he was met by determined resistance. For several hours there was a hard fight; finally at about 1400 the defenders were forced to pull out and fall back along Route 23 toward Luisiana to the northwest. The Japanese did not follow immediately but continued southwest to Lucban, only a short distance away, which they reached at dusk.
The next morning reports of Japanese troop movements northward began to reach the 1st Infantry. These reports were accurate. Minor elements of the 16th Reconnaissance Regiment, which had landed at Atimonan, had come west and north along Route 23 to join Tsunehiro in Lucban about noon. The 1st Infantry thereupon continued to withdraw that day and the next. Part of Tsunehiro's force was pushing northwest toward Luisiana along Route 23 and another column had struck out along an unimproved road west of Lucban. The first and stronger element entered Luisiana

about noon of the 28th while the column to the west occupied Majayjay at about the same time.
The Japanese advance in two columns constituted a real threat to the 1st Infantry. If the element to the west pushed on rapidly it might reach the south shore of Laguna de Bay before the Philippine regulars and cut their line of retreat. The 1st Infantry, therefore, at 1000 on 28 December, began to fall back to Calauan on Route 2 which paralleled the south shore of Laguna de Bay. Withdrawal to Calauan meant a circuitous march of twenty-five miles, first north and northwest along Route 23 to Santa Cruz, then southwest along Route 21. The regiment began its march at 1000 on 28 December, but before it could reach its destination and set up defensive positions it was directed to proceed to Los Banos, seven miles farther along Route 21. From Los Banos it was a short distance to Route 1, the main road northward to Manila.The 3d Battalion of the 1st Infantry, stationed originally to the north, pulled back at the same time to Pililla on the north shore of the lake, where it was in position to halt an enemy advance to Manila from that direction.
By 29 December the 1st Infantry, forming the north flank of the South Luzon Force, had withdrawn successfully from Mauban on Lamon Bay to Los Banos along the south shore of Laguna de Bay, a distance of thirty-five miles. It was now in position to move quickly around the lake and northward past Manila through San Fernando, thence to Bataan.




                                                            2nd Lt. Robert F. Needham

 What is known about 2nd Lt. Robert F. Needham was that he was born on October 8, 1916, to James F. Needham & Maude L. Jones-Needham.  With his two brothers, he grew up in Hanford, Washington.  He attended Washington State University and was a member of the Army ROTC program.
    After college, Robert was an adding machine salesman.  With his wife, Patricia, he lived at 1530 West Dean Avenue, Spokane, Washington.  When he was inducted, he entered the army as a second lieutenant.  He was assigned to C Company, 194th Tank Battalion during its training at Fort Lewis, Washington.
    Receiving orders that they were being sent overseas, the 194th traveled to San Francisco.  At 9:00 PM on September 8, 1941, the 194th sailed for the Philippine Islands from San Francisco.  The ship reached Hawaii at 7:00 AM on September 13th.  At 5:00 PM the same day, they sailed for the Philippines and arrived at Manila on September 26th.
    Robert and the other members of the battalion spent their time in  the Philippines by  training and readying their equipment for use in maneuvers.  At this time, Robert assumed the command of a platoon of C Company tanks.
    The morning of December 8, 1941, the tankers heard that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor ten hours earlier.  The tank company was ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  All morning long, the sky was filled with American planes.  At 12:30, the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch.
    Around 12:45, the tankers were having lunch when planes were seen approaching the airfield from the north.  As the tankers watched the planes, they believed that the planes were American.  When bombs began exploding on the airfield, they knew that the planes were Japanese.  Enormous explosions filled the ears of the tankers while smoke seemed to be everywhere. Being that their weapons were not meant to fight planes, the tankers could do little more than watch.
   After the attack, the 194th was ordered to Mabalacat a few miles from Clark Field.  The battalion remained in the area until December 12th, when they were ordered to Fort McKinley.  The tankers were now part of the South Luzon Force and positioned south of Manila.
    On December 22nd, the Japanese landed a large invasion force at Lingayen Gulf.  Company  A of the battalion was ordered to the Agno River on December 24th, while C Company remained south of Manila.
    On December 26th, Robert's platoon of tanks received orders to proceed to Lucban because the Japanese had landed troops in the area.  When the tankers got to the Lucban area, an American officer ordered the tanks up Route 3 to see how strong the Japanese forces were in the area.  Part of the reason for the tanks being called to do reconnaissance was that the American command wanted to impress the Filipino troops.  Robert protested this move since no reconnaissance had been made of the area.  He believed that the tankers could be entering a trap.  In spite of his protests, he was ordered to proceed up the road.
    Being a platoon commander meant that Robert's tank was the first tank in the column.  As the tanks went down the trail, the trail made a sharp turn.  His tank made the turn and was hit by a shell from a Japanese 47 millimeter antitank gun.  The shell came through the front hatch and killed his tank driver  immediately.  The explosion also blew off Robert's legs killing him.  The tank swerved off the road into a ditch.  The explosion had caused the front hatches of the tank to be blown off.  This left the surviving crew members exposed to enemy fire.  As the surviving tank crew members attempted to escape the tank, they were machine-gunned by the Japanese.
    2nd Lt. Robert F. Needham was Killed in Action outside of Lucban on December 26, 1941.  Since his final resting place is unknown, his name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery at Manila.  He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star.
   After the war, a United States Recovery Team was sent to the Barrio of Piis in the Philippine Islands to recover remains.  Local residents claimed that the remains of two Americans were still inside an American tank which had been destroyed during a tank battle in December of 1941.  One man was found in the tank driver's side of the tank and the other was found in the assistant tank driver's position.  The residents did not bury the soldiers but filled the tank with dirt.  When the bodies were removed, remains of both men were found in each position.  They were buried at Batangas as Unknowns X-7 and X-8.  In addition, the remains of a third American were found outside the tank and buried by the team.

    The remains of one soldier were exhumed from  Plot: 1, Row: 11, Grave: 323, and reburied in Plot: 4,  Row:  8,   Grave:  999 as Unknown X-3677 at Manila #2 on August 13, 1947.  He was designated as Unknown X-4702 when the remains were moved to the new American Cemetery at Manila.




                                                           Sgt Glen Dale Brokaw
                                                                 Cpl  Joseph Gillis


                                                        Pvt  James Addison Hicks


                                                                 Pvt Harry Virgel

                                                              Cpl  Joseph Gillis

                                                 
                                                       Pfc.Edward Clemente Degotardi

                                                                  Sgt. Emil S. Morello

    Sgt. Emil S. Morello was born on May 8, 1907, in Gardane, France.  His nickname was "Frenchie."  He was the oldest of two sons born to Jean B. & Victoria Morello.  His family lived in Watsonville, California.  In 1930, Emil enlisted in the California National Guard in Salinas, California.  In 1940, he and his brother, Louis, were living at the armory in Salinas as caretakers. 
      Emil was inducted into federal service on February 10, 1941, at Salinas Army Airfield.  With his company, now designated C Company, 194th Tank Battalion he traveled to Fort Lewis in Washington State.
    In late 1941, the United States was attempting buildup its military force in the Philippine Islands.  The 194th was sent to San Francisco and on September 13th sailed for the Philippine Islands on the President Calvin Coolidge.  After a one day stop in Hawaii, the ship sailed for Manila.  It arrived there on September 26th.  The soldiers were disembarked at sent to Ft. Stotsenburg.
    The 194th spent the next two months preparing for maneuvers.  On December 8, 1941, Emil lived through the Japanese bombing of Clark Airfield.  That morning, the tankers were informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  The tanks of the Provisional Tank Group were ordered to the perimeter of the airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers.  Around 12:45 in the afternoon, the tankers watched as planes approached the airfield from the north.  At first, they thought the planes were American.  It was only when bombs began exploding on the runway that the tankers knew the planes were Japanese.
    The tanks of the 194th were ordered  to Mabalacat.  They remained there until December 12th, when A Company was sent north to the Agno River area.  C Company remained south of Manila.
    On December 25th, the five tanks of the tank platoon of 2nd Lt. Robert Needham were sent to an area on the east coast of Luzon near Lucban. The Japanese had landed troops in the area, and the American Command wanted to see what the strength of the enemy was in the area.  
    The tanks were ordered by a major to proceed,  without reconnaissance, down a narrow trail.  Since the area was mountainous, the tanks had a hard time maneuvering.  As they went down the trail, the tanks attempted to keep their spacing so that the driver of each tank could each see the tank in front of him.  At one point in the trail, the tanks found that the trail made a sharp turn.  Emil's tank made the turn.   His driver, Joe Gillis, realized that he could not see the lead tank.  In an attempt to find the lead tank, he sped the tank up. 
    As it turned out, this maneuver saved the lives of the tankers. Just behind them a shell exploded.  The shell had been fired by a Japanese anti-tank gun.  Joe drove faster to prevent the gun from getting off another shot.  Emil's tank zigzagged and crashed into the log barricade that the Japanese had built across the road and took out the gun.
    The tank crew continued forward until they reached a opening at a rice paddy where the tank could be turned around.  Emil realized that the only way out of the situation was the same way the tank had come in, so he ordered his driver to turn the tank around.  
    As Emil's tank approached the destroyed barricade, he and the other members of his tank crew saw Lt. Needham's tank off to the side of the road.  It had taken a direct hit from the antitank gun and been knocked out.  The impact from the shell's explosion had knocked the hatch coverings off the front of the tank.  From what the tankers could see, the Japanese had machine-gunned the crew while they were still in the tank.
    Believing they were safe, the members of Emil's crew began to celebrate their good luck.  Suddenly, the tank took a direct hit from another Japanese anti-tank gun.  The explosion knocked the track off the tank.  The tank veered off the road and went over an earthen embankment.  The tank came to a stop in a rice paddy.  Emil's crew had no idea that their little reconnaissance mission had taken them straight into the main Japanese staging area.
    As Emil and his crew played dead, the Japanese repeatedly tried to open the hatch of their tank.  When a new group of Japanese arrived in the area, they too attempted to get into the tank.  The Japanese pounded on the tank and shouted to the crew, "Is anyone in there!"  The tankers sat quietly in the tank, without food or water, until seven the next morning.  The temperature inside the tank became unbearable.  For water, the tankers licked the sides of the tank.  
American guns began shelling the area.  They destroyed three Japanese trucks and the kitchen the Japanese had set up.  The Japanese evacuated the area believing that the Americans were lunching a counter attack.  When the crew left the tank, they made their way toward the American lines.
    The tank crew, with the help of Filipino guides, walked for the next six days attempting to reach their lines.  At Nagcarlan, a Catholic priest gave them food.  He also informed them that the Japanese were approaching the barrio and told them which trail to take to reach the coast.
    The tankers made their way toward the coast and were able to get a boat to take them to Manila.  There, Emil's tank crew caught the last boat leaving Manila for Corregidor.  From Corregidor, the tankers were taken by boat to Mariveles.  They later rejoined their tank battalion.
    On April 9, 1942, Emil became a Prisoner of War.  He took part in the death march from Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan to San Fernando.  The POWs went days without food and water.
    At San Fernando, the POWs were packed into small wooden boxcars.  The cars could hold forty men or eight horses.  The Japanese packed 100 men into each car.  The POWs were so close together that those who died remained standing until the living left the cars at Capas.  From there, the prisoners walked the last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell.
    Emil was held at Camp O'Donnell.  Conditions in the camp were extremely bad.  For the 12,000 POWs in the camp, there was only one water spigot.  Men literally died for a drink.  Conditions in the camp were so bad that the Japanese opened a new camp at Cabanatuan.  
    It is not known if Emil went out on any work details.  When it became apparent to the Japanese that it was just a matter of time before American forces would land in the Philippines, they began to evacuate POWs to other parts of their empire.
    In July 1944, Emil was taken to the Port Area of Manila and boarded onto the Canadian Inventor.  The ship sailed for Formosa on July 4, 1944.  After stops at Takao and Keelung, Formosa the ship sailed for Naha, Okinawa.  It finally arrived at Moji, Japan on September 1, 1944.  From Moji, he was taken to Fukuoka #17.  The POWs in the camp worked in a condemned coal mine that was owned by the Mitsu Mining Company.
    One day, the POWs who were too ill to work told the POWs returning from working in the mine about the large mushroomed shape cloud that had appeared over Nagasaki.   A few days later the POWs were given their first day off of work.  This was the first holiday that the POWs had ever been given.
    One morning, an American reporter, George Weller, of the Chicago Daily News came through the gate of the camp.  After meeting with the camp commandant, Weller informed the POWs that the war was over and that they soon would be going home.
    Emil was returned to the Philippines to be fattened up.  He later was sent to a Veterans Administration Hospital.  He was discharged, from the Army, on April 5, 1946.
He would marry and become the father of three daughters. He was self-employed until his retirement.
    In 1983,  Emil was awarded the Silver Star for his destroying the Japanese roadblock and antitank gun at Lucban, Philippine Islands.  He married and spent the rest of his life in Salinas.  Emil S. Morello passed away on October 16, 1990.



                                                               General Fidel V. Segundo
Fidel V. Segundo is a West Point-educated soldier. Upon his return from his studies abroad, he taught military science at the University of the Philippines and was appointed as the chief of staff for intelligences, operations and training in the Philippine Army. When WWII broke out, the officers and cadets of the Philippine Military Academy was activated as an instrument of war and renamed the 1st Regular Division, with General Segundo as commander. He led the reinforced division that defended the Morong sector, during the historic battle of Bataan. Segundo was still holding his line when the order to surrender Bataan came on April 9, 1942. After his release from Capas concentration camp in Tarlac, he stayed in Santa Ana, Manila. On December 19, 1944, he and his son, Fidel Jr. were arrested by the Japanese. After having been brutally tortured, both father and son were tied, back to back and beheaded. 



                             
                                               
General Santos' military career started when he was appointed probationary Third Lieutenant on June 8, 1936, after five years of civil engineering practice. He entered the Reserve Officer Service School (ROSS) at Camp Henry T. Allen in Baguio City, where he was made the 1st Battalion Commander during the Japanese Invasion on December 24 1941 at Lamon Bay Mauban Quezon  Sampaloc and Lucban were the battle in southern Luzon started. He graduated at the top of his class, and twenty years after, he was honored as its Most Distinguished Alumnus.
Then Captain Santos was the most decorated Unit Commander of the 1st Regular Division in the memorable  Bataan campaign, even dubbed by Commanding General, Brigadier General Fidel V. Segundo, as the "Hammer of the Division" when he brilliantly outmaneuvered and outsmarted the enemy during their attempt to pocket their area. In both attempts, his unit successfully broke through the Gogo-Cotar and Tuol Pockets, thus earning for himself the moniker "hero of the pockets"
For his heroic feat in battle, he was promoted to Major in the field. Two days after, he was decorated with the United States Army's  Distinguished cross for "extraordinary heroism in combat in Bataan" and the Silver Star for "gallantry in action". Later, the Philippine Government awarded him the equivalent Distinguished Conduct Star and Gold Cross for the same combat action.

                      LIST OF OFFICER  OF IST REG. DIVISION 
                                 ON  DECEMBER  24,1941

1LT FELICISSIMO AGUINALDO      3rd Bn Commander
1LT HONORATO RAMOS                 2nd Bn Commander (KIA)
                                              
                                             BATALLION STAFF

CAPTAIN. RODOLFO PALMA                  LT ALFRED FILART
LT.JOB MAY0                                          LT. MANUEL YAN
CAPTAIN ADAMIN TALLOW     (ENGINEERING COY COMDR.)
CAPTAIN ANACITO DIOKNO
.                                 
                                     COMPANY COMMANDER

  A,COY.   LT. ASPILLERA
   B. COY. CAPTAIN SIMPLICO DE CASTRO
   C.COY   LT. ARCADIO MAYOR    (kia) Battle of Piis Dec,26 1941
   E COY.   LT ARTURO ADAMOS.
   D.COY    LT JOSE JAVIER 
   I.COY     LT. DANIEL LEDDA
   F. COY   LT. NAPOLEON MANGONON 
   G.COY    LT. DAVID PELAYO

PLATOON LEADER
    LT.Pedro Dulay, LT Lucendro Galang,LT Delfin Argao,LT Ed Navarro,LT Joe Esguerra
                LT Charles Corpuz; LT JOSE ACAO SPM (WIA) Battle of Piis etc.


THE LONE SURVIVOR OF MORE THAN 100 MEMBER OF COMPANY OF THE 1ST DIVISION USAFFE PERISHED TO THE BATTLE OF PIIS ON DEC 26,1941 AFTER 60 YEARS HIS DREAM TO COMMEMORATE HI FELLOW SOLDIER FALLEN IN THE FIELD OF BATTLE FULFILL

                            Today Marker of Battle of Piis  it was Inaugurated on May 2, 2011                                              

                                                    The Battle of Piis  December 26, 1941
                                                 A trueStory of Late Cmdr.Francisco Cedula


                   It was dawn of December 22,1941,When our long convoy of Civilian buses , commadeered by Military,reached the outskirts of Pagsanjan, Laguna(Now a tourist town)where our battalion strong force disembarked and bivouacked to await further orders.

A fresh graduate of high School with 2 month summer cadre training,rendering me a reservist,I was inducted into the USAFFE an assigned to the Combat Company,1st Regular Division,together with other 6 Month trainees and volunteers hardly any Military training.We were part of hastily organized force that ,I was learned later,was intended to oppose an expected enemy landing in the eastern coast of Luzon,later known as Southern Front,Th following night,We were re-assessed and divided into several groups,with our groups,proceeding to Mauban, a Coastal town facing Lamon Bay.

Shortly after our Convoy crossed the Pagsanjan River Bridge,We heard a loud explosion,We did not know then what the explosion was.As Historical facts state,the USAFFE  Engineers destroyed the vital bridge connecting Pagsanjan with eastern towns of Laguna.Clearly,our force had  become dispensable and meant to sacrificed as a rear guard unit.
This was the first time in my 17 years of existence that I am reaching a far place away from home.There was much excitement within the Group,equally young and full of Energy. Inspired by superior’s claim that we Filipino soldiers will easily defeat the Enemy,(A we considered Japanese residents in Manila as an Inferior race). We flashed the Victory sign to the people watching the road side as the applause our passing.
We passed by column of several medium-sized U.S. tanks,parked on the roadside(Identified later as 194rth tank Battalion attached to the USAFFE. Never imagining that these tanks would support us the following day in our attempt to break the enemy roadblock.

An hour later,as we spend towards the East we were forced to scamper several times from the bus to seek cover from Japanese seaplanes hovering above.There were less jokes and laughters by now.Finally as the convoy reached the outskirts of the town of Sampaloc,A tall.lean Man American Officer 9Later identified as Gen .Albert M  Jones appeared from nowhere and signaled the vehicles to stop.Then our immediate officers and commanders ordered us to formed a defensive position and dig foxholes.As Anticipated the Japanese Forces,Identified later as 20th Regiment 16th Division,swept-Shore on Christmas Eve of 1941,supported by Naval Gun and Planes.

With the superior artillery they overwhelmed The PC-USAFFE first line of defense by the morning of Christmas day was probing on our line,outside Sampaloc Our rifles (1907 model Enfield) were no match to their machine guns and mortar fire we had to retreat several times to regroup but by the late afternoon,The Battalion was reduced to half.Men crawled in their line,who did not hear the whistle to withdraw,were killed or captured in the foxholes.about a third of the Battalion was destroyed.others may escaped in the forested area. To avoid captivity.It was indeed the most unforgettable Christmas Day of my life
.Before twilight,the remnants of Combat Coy. Joined by the stragglers from other Companies was about 150 men with only one commissioned officer left.Exhausted by the continuous exchange of fire and forced marches I quickly fell sleep together with buddies under the trees, A kilometer beside a coconut  Plantation where sought cover During the night,We could hear the Japanese vehicles and Artillery in the Highway moving westward to Lucban.The next town.

A Filipino 2nd Lieutenant, Arcadio Mayor,Fresh from the Military Academy who took command of the- organized  Company,decided to stay put sheltered.By the  Morning of December 26.LT Mayor sent courier,guided by a native,familiar-with the mountain trails,to Contac the American tank to give support to our intended breakthrough of Japanese roadblock,a kilometer from our lines.The courier may have never returned.But LT. Mayor watching the hours until late hours of the same day,with the agreement of several sergeants and Corporals,ordered the Company to take to the Highway.We were then in the Village of Piis Lucban,then next town
As Company rushed forward columns of both sides of road heavy machine guns fire up opened up pinning us to the grounds we returned fire,which quickly diminished as he crumpled with a bullet in his steel –helmeted head.

Flashes and gunfire coming from the other side of he hill made me realize that the American tanks were firing in an attempt to break the roadblock from their side of the Line.This action emboldened me and my comrades,still alive to rush through the gap created by fire of American tanks.several of us,dashed to gap,with fixed bayonets.but waiting Japanese suddenly stood up and confronted us with Bayonets as I parried with one,something struck me in the back of my heads,and fell down I felt Bayonets stabs on my Chest and shoulders

I gained consciousness by early morning of December 27 but could not get up because of extreme pain and weakness. I  laid together with my dead comrades,hovering between periods of consciousness until 5 days later, a burial party of residents of the village found me still alive and brought me to their mountain evacuation center ,where I was given first Aid.

Military Historian are not Familiar with this Battle of December 26,1941 in the Village of Piis.Lucban,the second town from Mauban the Invasion port but the facts spell out the significance of the Battle.It successfully enabled the surviving American tank Battalion Operators Including.Parker in command of the Southern front to escape and reach Bataan to fight again.About 10 bodies of American tankers were counted and buried in the spot of the Battle.Close to 100 Filipinos of Combat Company were killed in hand to hand encounter.They were buried in the site of the Battle by the Natives of Piis .Lucban,remaining there for 5 years,until a US graves recovery team,transferred the remains without any identification what so- ever,to other Military Shrines

 As Japanese losses ,I have no knowlegde nor of the able and wounded Filipino who escaped.I avoided Japanese Captivity as a POW3. After recovery from the wounds I joined the resistance movement during the entire 4 years of Enemy occupation.But this is Another story






   TODAY SITIO KINALIGAWAN ROAD  BARRIO PIIS    WHERE THE BATTLE OF PIIS TOOK PLACE ON DECEMBER 26 1941


                           

1 komento:

  1. Is there any remnants of "old tanks" or "mortars' used during WWII that still can be found in that area where the "Battle of Piis" took place? I think it is better to be exhume from the ground (if it is already buried with dirt?) and preserve it for its historical importance that it may contributes for Lucban and to our nation. Thanks..

    TumugonBurahin