April 1, 1942

HQ, MIS, BATAAN

 

Awakened by “Photo Joe”. Name given to Jap observation plane by Bataan boys is “Photo Joe”. Leonie said: “That means bombing around ‘brunch’ time.” Fred, usually more grim, said: “That also means deaths.”

Major Javallera who was O.D. said that there was continous artillery firing the whole night. “It must be hell at the front,” he remarked.

After brunch, I prepared to go to the eastern sector. While crossing the stream to the Motor Pool, Jap planes commenced bombardment.

Japs were throwing small bombs, a lot of them. At first, I thought they were leaflets. But when I heard the swishing sounds and the detonations, I ran to a ditch near the traffic officer at the foot of the bridge in Base Camp.

Several bombs dropped near the trucks parked under the trees at the curve of the stream. One exploded a few meters away from the Igorot chauffeur. I saw him shaking and pouring water over his head. Men have funny reactions to a bombardment.

I rode on one of the jeeps. Had to stop three times because of strafing planes. Around Limay, I did not notice a low-flying Jap plane until I saw a truck full of Americans put on the brakes and stop dead in its tracks and all the soldiers jumped out and took cover under the brushes along the road. My chauffeur jammed the brakes and I dove into a bush. The U.S. truck was hit by five .mg bullets but it was able to run because the meter was not hit at all.

Saw the Limay schoolhouse burning, it was hit by incendiaries. An officer stopped our jeep and he asked for a ride till the next intersection. He said the Japs have a system of rotating cannons so that they do not stop pounding our lines. They are sending wave after wave of fresh troops and it was a question of time for the lines to break. I remember the General’s statement about the limit of human endurance. The officer said: “We kill and kill but more and more came…”

Scouts have been placed on the eastern sector. The Philippine Scouts have a fine record. One officer of high rank said that if all troops in Bataan were as well-trained as the Scouts, the Japs would have a very much harder time.

Bulk of troops in main-line however are mostly ROTC boys, cadre-trainees and volunteers. They are not professional soldiers like the scouts. But after all these months of fighting, they have gained valuable experience and according to an American officer from West Point “they are behaving like seasoned troops, like veterans.”

Saw several stragglers. They can’t find their units. Some said they belonged to the 41st, others to the 51st, others to the 31st. My driver said “those are running away from the fighting.”

The sight of those five or six stragglers reminded me of the retreat from the northern front in Pangasinan. When the fighting there was getting very hot, the divisions who were still new, started to get disorganized and many of the troops were lost. “Bad sign,” I said to myself.

On the way to one of the trails leading to the front, our jeep ran out of gas. I stayed on the roadside till dark waiting for someone who would be kind enough to share a bit of fuel. Slept an hour and when I woke up I was covered with dust.

There is no doubt by now that the Japanese are putting their “main effort” on the center of the front line, between the divisions of Gens. Capinpin and Lim. They are trying to drive a wedge where the two divisions meet. Here the maximum amount of fire power is being concentrated and although I have not noticed any sign of the lines folding in this region, when it does break it will be sudden and rapid, like a dam that suddenly cracks, and there will be a stream of blood.


February 3, 1942 

Scouts mopping up on Agl. Pt. Rumored that Japs broke through our line, no confirmation. Sqd’n put on alert

Dyess received new orders this day to take his men back to Quinauan Point to reinforce the 45th Philippine Scouts, who had been unable to wipe out the dug-in Japanese during their six days of fighting, even with the addition of three light Stuart tanks. That afternoon, Dyess reported in to the Executive Officer of the 45th, who briefed him and his men on the gravity of the situation. 


January 28, 1942 

Scouts in, a good looking bunch of men. Beat the brush and went back to our old camp. Clean clothes, bath, etc. sure good. Dyess made Capt. today. I’m sweating out silver bars.

This morning, the 21st Pursuits men were ordered back to their camp area, along with men of the Philippine Constabulary and Company A of the 803rd Aviation Engineers, who had proved ineffective in containing the Japanese at Quinauan. They were being relieved by the 500 men of the 3d Battalion, 45th Philippine Scouts, a crack unit of professional infantry. That evening Company B of the 57th Philippine Scouts joined them as reinforcements. 


January 27, 1942 

With own outfit today. In a secondary line for 1st time. Spotted Jap barges up coast, got 37 mm and shelled it. One meal and some sleep. The scouts are supposed to come in tomorrow.

Another landing of Japanese had been made the night before on the promontory area between Silaiiam and Anyasan Bays. The men of the 17th Pursuit Squadron were sent in to oppose the 200 men. 


Dec. 25, 1941

At seven oclock Lt Gasperini and I started for the top of the Mt. The worst hiking I have ever done. Several times I was just all in. The old pump just would not work. Finally I sent Gasperini on. Told him to leave me and take care of himself. Ten minutes short of Jorgensens I gave up. Layed on the trail an hour when Capt Jacobs and two men came down to meet me. Was somewhat rested and went on to Jorgensens, just seven and a half minutes away. Was just all in. realized that I was no longer a young man. Upon arriving there I found that I was nearly the first one of the 43rd there. The others were the Amer QMC det and WPPS boys. Maj Fellows, Lt Simpson, Lt Jensen went on right away with fourteen Americans. I told all American officers and enlisted men to go on ahead an I would stay with the PS det. The next morning Major Allen, Capt Jacobs and most of the Amer EM went on. Had Christmas dinner with Jorgensens that night. Also Miss Bradley, Miss Chambers, Capt Praeger and Lt Jones. We slept on the ground that night as we did the night before.


Dec. 24, 1941

Received word from USAFFE to Sabe your command. Take to Mt. Trails” ordered Col Bonnett to take all PA troops with him to Bobok by motor, thence over the easy ten percent old Spanish trail to Aritao where buses would meet him. He should have arrived there by the 27th. Hope he made it. I personally took the CJH personnel to Itogan and thence down the Agno River and up the Mt. to the Jorgensen saw mill on Mt. Lusod. I sent the Americans officers and Enlisted men ahead and waited for the 43rd to come in from Kennon rd and Naguilian trails. When Co A was ready and Co B distributing their loads I started off with Lt. Gasperini. The trail was not bad as far as the Agno. Then it was sure hell. Straight up an old Igorote trail. There was a ten percent easy new trail but it was pitch dark and we could not find it. Our group hiked until 6:00 AM when we reached the first piers of the cable way from Station D. Heall Lumber Co. Here we found Maj Fellows, Lt. Simpson, and Lt Jensen. They had been sleeping since midnight. (They went on and our group spent an hour or two sleeping.


Saturday Aug 12/39

Conference w/ Eisenhower on various matters, re Velasquez & Garcia etc. He tells me about Gen V not being able to function on the basis of principles, that he always work on the basis of personal loyalty. This statement was made when I told him about Gen V promising the Scout officers their assignments. He said that he had told Gen V not to make any commitments in order to retain the freedom of assignments later.