it was decided that the 3d Battalion 145th Infantry would continue to hold POLO and MALINTA, and deny the enemy this route of escape. On 9 February the 2d Battalion had completed the seizure of the TONDO Peninsula. The 145th Infantry (less 1st Bn), which was holding the North bank of the PASIG from MANILA BAY to the Presidential Palace, was then reinforced by 1 platoon of tanks, 1 company of mortars, and 11 amphibian tractors, and moved to MALINTA the night of 9 - 10 February. On the morning of the 10th an attack was launched North and West of MALINTA and at the road-junction East of PASOLA. Both of these positions were reduced by artillery and mortar fire and at 1800 10 February a vigorous assault was launched on POLO by the 3d Battalion while the 2d Battalion occupied MALINTA to preclude enemy withdrawal across our main supply lines. During the night of 10 - 11 February, the 3d Battalion occupied POLO and proceeded to OBANDO, which was seized against light opposition at 1330, 11 February. Continuing to the South the Battalion secured PACA at 1600. One company was then dispatched to TAWIRAN, another crossed the DAMPALIT RIVER just South of DAMPALIT, while a third established a road block 1000 yards Southwest of PASOLA. On the 12th, the 2d Battalion launched an attack from Southwest of PASOLA and secured the crossing of DALWALIT CREEK despite enemy machine-gun and mortar fire. Companies G and K cleared the enemy from the area bounded by the DAMPALIT - POLO ROAD, DAMPALIT and TINAJEROS RIVERS, and the PASOLA -TINAJEROS road on the, 13th of February. In this action anti tank rocket launchers and mortars were used against enemy concrete pillboxes. The fight at POLO was further complicated by jealousies arising between guerrilla units. USAFFE guerrillas had been disarmed by other guerrillas, and it was necessary for the 145th Infantry to disarm the latter. Throughout the 14th all elements of the Regiment continued to clear enemy pillboxes along the DAMPALIT - OBANDO - BINUANGAN ROAD. At 1215 on the 14th a strong armored patrol, supported by M-7's and tank-borne infantry cleared the enemy from the TINUANGAN -TAWIRAN -OBANDO area. It appearing that the enemy resistance in the POLO area was about broken, the 3d Battalion was sent to an area near the Presidential Palace in MANILA on the 14th, while the Regiment (less 2d Bn) from the 14th of February to the 17th continued to attack North and West of DAMPALIT against scattered enemy resistance. On the 18th the area of POLO was considered cleared of enemy. The Regiment (less 2d Bn) then moved South of the PASIG RIVER. The strength of the enemy in the POLO area was never definitely ascertained; however, it must have approximated 2000, as in the first 13 days of fighting 1104 Japanese had been counted dead. Later reports from captured enemy indicated a good many Japanese succeeded in reaching the SHIMBU LINE East of MANILA.

The Eighth U. S. Army had landed the 11th Airborne Division (reinforced with two battalions, 19th Infantry) by water and air in the area between NASUGBU and TAGAYTAY RIDGE on 31 January 1945.

(See Sketch 16) These units moved East and North along Highway 17 toward MANILA, where they met little resistance until they approached LAS PINAS and PARANAQUE. Continued pressure by the 11th Airborne Division drove the enemy back upon the NICHOLS FIELD area where he had constructed permanent emplacements of concrete and steel. The artillery accompanying the Airborne Division consisted of two battalions of 75nun howitzers and one battalion of 105mm M-3 Infantry howitzers. These weapons were not designed for heavy duty, and consequently were amost ineffective against the heavy concrete pillboxes held by Japanese in the NICHOLS FIELD area. On the 9th of February 1945 the 11th Airborne Division requested artillery support from XIV CORPS. Rendering this support meant that the Corps Artillery, emplaced North of the PASIG RIVER, had to fire directly into the front of the advancing 11th Airborne Division. On the 9th and 10th of February the Corps Artillery fired sixteen missions for the 11th Airborne, all of which were done with 155mm or eight inch caliber pieces. Much credit must be given to the units of XIV Corps Artillery in the accuracy of their fire, particularly so since observers in light planes, aloft were greatly hampered by the heavy smoke drifting over NICHOLS FIELD from the burning structures of MANILA, and by the Japanese anti-aircraft fire which prohibited free movement over the target area. The reduction of NICHOLS FIELD and the subsequent investment of the area of foot troops of the 11th Airborne Division was due in no small measure to the effectiveness or this artillery support. However, concrete pillboxes, the most formidable of enemy defensive works, could be reduced only by direct fire from tank destroyers. Fire from artillery and tank destroyers forced the Japanese to flee their emplacements to the open, where American infantry slaughtered them with rifle and machine-gun fire.

The advance of the 11th Airborne Division Northward and the continued movement of XIV CORPS troops Southward necessitated unification of command. GHQ directed that the 11th Airborne Division be transferred from the Eighth Army to the Sixth Army, and the Sixth Army subsequently directed by radio that the Division come under the control of XIV CORPS at 0001 10 February 1945. Thus to the two divisions which had entered MANILA from the North, there was added the third division moving in from the South.

At the time the 11th Airborne Division came to the XIV CORPS, the Division held a line which ran from one thousand yards North of BACLARAN on MANILA BAY, South and East to the junction of the highway with the railroad. (See Sketch No. 19). Units in the line from North to South were the 2d Battalion 187th Infantry; 3d Battalion 511th Infantry; 2d Battalion 511th Infantry; 1st Battalion 511th Infantry; 1st Battalion 187th Infantry; and the 1st Battalion 188th Infantry. The 2d Battalion 188th Infantry was in reserve South of the 1st Battalion 188th Infantry, and the 2d Battalion 187th Infantry was in the vicinity of PARANAQUE.

On the 10th of February 1945, the first day under XIV CORPS operations, the 511th Infantry and the 188th Infantry attacked at 0800 against enemy defenses on NICHOLS FIELD. The 1st Battalion 188th Infantry in its attack to the North advanced 800 yards against pillboxes and emplacements. The Battalion captured three five-inch naval guns, one 90mm anti-aircraft gun, and large stores of ammunition. At 1300 this unit reversed one of the captured five-inch guns and put it in action against the enemy. The 1st Battltion 187th Infantry on the 10th of February advanced 300 yards toward the North and South runway of NICHOLS FIELD. The 2d and 3d Battalions of the 511th Infantry made a coordinated attack toward the Polo Club against strong enemy resistance from concrete pillboxes and well dug-in emplacements. This advance was supported by an air strike. The 2d Battalion 187th Infantry replaced the 2d Battalion 511th Infantry at 1400, and at the end of the day (10 February 1945) the North tip of the 11th Airborne Division was about a thousand yards South of the Polo Club.

The enemy defenses in the NICHOLS FIELD area were known as the GENKO LINE. The plan of maneuver followed by the 11th Airborne Division was to circle Northward and turn the right (West) flank of the enemy line. The 511th Infantry (less 2d Battalion), with the 2d Battalion l87th Infantry attached, attacked at 0800 on the 11th of February 1945. Pushing ahead with the 2d Battalion 187th Infantry on the left and the 3d Battalion on the right, the troops moved through sporadic automatic-weapons fire and reached Libertad Avenue, where they held a line along the Avenue from MANILA BAY to Taft Avenue. Here they were ordered by the XIV CORPS to stop their advance Northward (so as not to mask artillery fires from the North), and only patrols were permitted to move beyond that line. One patrol at 1800 on the 11th of February made contact with E Troop 8th Cavalry at the Philippine Racing Club. In the advance to the North on the 11th of February, the 511th Infantry (with 2d Battalion l87th Infantry ettached) captured 110 pillboxes, two 40mm antiaircraft guns, one 5-inch naval gun, and eight Japanese airplanes. While the attack was progressing on the 11th of February, the 188th Infantry consolidated positions ·on the South and Southeast of NICHOLS FIELD, while the 187th Infantry continued the security of rear areas.

At 1100 on the morning of 12 February 1945, following an effective air strike by SBDs, the Division launched an attack against NICHOLS FIELD from the West and Southeast. The main effort was made from the Southeast by the 188th Infantry (with 1st Battalion 187th Infantry attached). The 2d Battalion 187th Infantry attacked to the East along the NICHOLS FIELD access road. The 188th Infantry was able to advance slowly across NICHOLS FIELD in the face of heavy automatic weapons and artillery fire from the front, and from FORT McKINLEY on the East. At 1600 the 2d Battalion 187th Infantry. and the 188th Infantry made contact at the administrative building of NICHOLS FIELD, despite the fact that the enemy at 1300 had launched a counterattack from the ridges South of FORT McKINLEY. Though our men had possession of the administrative building, NICHOLS FIELD was not ready to receive American planes. The field was heavily mined and was covered with weapons ranging from 6-inch naval guns through 40mm and 20mm guns to machine guns. While the attack was being launched against NICHOLS FIELD by the 188th Infantry, the 511th Infantry ferreted out snipers behind its lines in the vicinity of the Polo Club. At 1030 on the morning of 12 February a patrol from the 3d Battalion 511th Infantry made contact with Troop G of the 5th Cavalry. While the NICHOLS FIELD area was considered cleared on the 13th, for many weeks roving groups of Japanese were found in the area. Although this condition persisted until early June, these enemy troops were relatively impotent.

Having reduced NICHOLS FIELD, the 11th Airborne Division turned its attention to FORT McKINLEY. On the 13th the 2d Battalion of the 188th Infantry advanced along the FORT McKINLEY - NICHOLS FIELD road. This advance was opposed by machine guns, 20mm anti-tank guns, and heavy artiIlery from FORT McKINLEY. By 1800 on the 13th the 2d Battalion 188th Infantry was in position 200 yards West of the Manila Railroad (See Sketch No. 20).

The 511th Infantry (less 2d En) advanced East at 1200, 13 February 1945 with the 1st Battalion on the right (South flank), and the 3d Battalion on the left (North flank). The Regiment crossed the PARANAQUE RIVER and pushed 2500 yards East through an area studded with pillboxes and heavy emplacements, and covered by heavy artillery fire from FORT McKINLEY. On the 14th, the 11th Airborne Division occupied positions along the Manila Railroad from the division boundary to the Southeast, with elements from North to South as follows: 3d Battalion 511th Infantry; 1st Battalion 511th Infantry; 2d Battalion 187th Infantry; 2d Eattalion 188th Infantry. (See Sketch No. 20). The attack continued throughout the day and into the night following. On the 15th of February the 2d Battalion 511th Infantry replaced the 3d Battalion, and at 1330 the Regiment launched an attack to the East with the railroad as a line of departure. On the South the 2d Battalion 187th Infantry attacked along with the 2d Battalion 188th Infantry, and advanced against pillboxes and gun emplacements on the ridge East of the Manila Railroad. The 1st Battalion 188th Infantry, which had been in the line, was withdrawn as regimental reserve.

The advance of the 511th Infantry (less 3d Bn) continued throughout the 16th, encountering only light opposition. The same was true of the 188th Infantry and the 2d Battalion 187th Infantry. Throughout the day of the 16th tank destroyers fired on targets in FORT McKINLEY. At 1130 on the 17th, following an effective air strike on the Southeast corner of FORT McKINLEY, the 188th Infantry occupied and secured the Fort McKinley Annex, accounting for 102 Japanese in the advance. On the 18th Fort McKinley Annex was completely secured, and a patrol sent into FORT McKINLEY reported no enemy activity. At 0930 on the 19th the 1st Cavalry Division entered the fort.

The 1st Battalion of the 511th Infantry continued to occupy positions in the Polo Club area, maintaining contact with the Cavalry Division on the North. On the 20th of February this regiment left its 2d Battalion at the Polo Club and sent the 1st Battalion to MUNTINLUPA. The 3d Battalion was in position South of MAULIN RIVER.

On the 17th of February the boundary between the 1st Cavalry and 11th Airborne Divisions was modified to run along Libertad Avenue to the railroad, thence along the CULI CULl - FORT McKINLEY road to the TAGIG RIVER, thence along the TAGIG RIVER to LAGUNA DE BAY. This same order directed that the Division invest TAGIG and HAGANOY; protect the Corps South flank; continue to attack CAVITE; and prepare to carry out the LOS BANOS special mission.

On the 19th and 20th the Division readjusted its troops to carry out its mission assigned by the field order. The 511th Infantry (less the 3d Battalion) protected the North flank of the Division with the 2d Battalion at ALABANG and the 1st Battalion at MUNTINLUPA. The 188th Infantry, with 2d Battalion 187th Infantry attached, patrolled East of the TAGIG RIVER and held its 1st Battalion on alert South of IMUS. A special force known as the Pearson Force, consisting of the 3d Battalion 511th Infantry and 1st Battalion 187th Infantry attacked heavily fortified Japanese positions North of the MAULIN RIVER. By 1800 on the 20th of February the enemy positions were completely surrounded, and the force was clearing up Japanese stragglers.

When the 148th Infantry started across the PASIG RIVER on the 7th of February, the 2d Battalion 129th Infantry took over the North shore of the PASIG RIVER from the Presidential Palace to the East edge of SANTA MESA. This relief permitted the entire 148th Infantry Regiment to complete the crossing of the PASIG RIVER by 2400 and secure a bridgehead line. At 0930 of the 8th, the Regiment launched an attack to the South and West from the bridgehead line and by 1800 held the line Cristobal Street, Southeast of Figuerao Street (See Sketch No. 20). At 1655 on the 8th of February, the 1st Battalion 145th Infantry had crossed the PASIG and went into assembly areas as Division reserve. Preceding the 1st Battalion of the 145th Infantry, the 129th Infantry (less 3d Bn) had crossed the PASIG and moved to take its place on the right of the 148th Infantry. This relief was effected by the 1st Battalion, l29th, passing through the 2d Battalion, 148th, in a vigorous attack against

 

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Sketch No. 20 - Key Elements

 

 

 

 

In the early hours of January 31, 1945, American troops of the 11th Airborne Division (commanded by Major Gen. Joseph Swing) landed in Nasugbu, Batangas, led by Lt. Gen. Robert Eichelberger, Commanding General of the US Eight Army. By afternoon, Nasugbu was completely liberated.

The Japanese forces in the region had already vacated and moved further south, and the Eighth Army forces moved quickly towards Manila, where they would come up against the heavily fortified GENKO defense line. Airborne troops are, of necessity, lightly armed, and thus were at a disadvantage when confronting Japanese forces that were solidly entrenched in defensive lines.

ABOVE: The liberation forces going past the Nasugbu Municipal Building.