Defenders of the Philippines

picture of captivity and picture of release form captivity
U. S. Asiatic Fleet Report on Action of Longaskawayan Point Against Japanese Forces

Actual report given to ADBC museum by John Olson

UNITED STATES ASIATIC FLEET

 

HEADQUARTERS, U.S. NAVAL

BATTALION, MARIVELES, PI

February 9, 1942

 

From:               The Battalion Commander

To:                   The Commandant, SIXTEENTH NAVAL DISTRICT

 

Via:                  The Commanding Officer, U.S. Naval Units

                        Ashore, Mariveles, P.I.

 

Subject:              Action of Longaskawayan Point against Japanese Forces

 

Enclosures:            (A)  Naval and Marine Officers engaged

(B)     Army Officers engaged

(C)    Reports of individual performances of Army and Navy and Marine

Officers as observed

(D)    Reports and commends on U.S. Navy and Marine

Enlisted personnel

(E)     Casualties

 

1.                  Essentially, this action by the Naval Battalion, Mariveles, consisted of clearing Mount Pucot, after occupation by the Japanese, localizing the Japanese at their prepared position on Lapiay Point, at the foot of Mount Pucot, and on Longoskawayan Point, clearing Lapiay Point and localizing and attacking the enemy on Longoskawayan Point.  Continuous action for five days and four nights was required.  Final annihilation of the enemy was accomplished in two days on Longoskawayan Point by the Fifty-Seventh Regiment of Infantry (P.S.), USA, under the command of Colonel P.T. Fry using his Second Battalion commanded by Lieut. Colonel H.C. Granberry. Two additional days wee occupied in mopping up operations directed against isolated groups of enemy personnel along the beach of Kinalalakan Bay. Two units, each consisting of a lightly armoured motor launch and a motor whale-boat, were used for this purpose.  After clearing up coastal points occupied by the enemy these boat units closely examined the balance of the coast line from Biaan Point to Cochinas Point and found it clear of the enemy.

 

2.                  An outstanding feature of the engagement was that practically all elements of the armed forces of the United States in this are were represented in the action and they operated smoothly and with coordination to achieve a minor but most decisive victory in an area of vital strategic importance to the Army and Navy in Bataan Peninsula, Mariveles Harbor and Corregidor.  It is believed that weight of artillery support and vigorous continuous offensive action were responsible for the destruction of the Japanese force.  It is significant that Japanese naval support was not forthcoming.

 

3.                  Although minor in nature, from the standpoint of his forces originally engaged (a characteristic of Japanese landings in the Bataan Peninsula), the loss of Mount Pucot would have resulted in:

 

(a)    Control with light artillery by the Japanese of main road down the western coast of Bataan.

(b)    Control of Mariveles Harbor

(c)    Control of the main road leading to the east coast of Bataan.

(d)   Partial control of the Mariveles cut-off road.

 

All these elements are in the rear of the U.S. Army forces on Bataan.  It was previous realization and study of the value of Mount Pucot and adjacent areas (although within the area covered by gunfire from Corregidor), which led to immediate action when the Naval Battalion lookout station on Mount Pucot reported the presence of Japanese Forces at 0840 local DST January 23, 1942.  This plan of action had been discussed and agreed upon with General Clyde A. Sellock, U.S.A. in command of the Army forces in Western Bataan.  The time element, inaccessibility of the coast, lack of water, comparative accessibility by small boat, and joint interest led to this agreement under which the Naval Battalion would move in immediately should the area become threatened prior to Army occupation.  The concise western limit of the Naval Battalion area was noted to General Sellock and USAFFE Headquarters on Bataan.  This limit extends north from Apatot Bay.

 

4.         The Japanese force was estimated by U.S. Army and Navy Officers at 200.  A Japanese prisoner later stated that 7 officers and 294 men were landed.  The Naval Battalion, Mariveles, consists of 602 men.  It is a self contained unit with many duties other than field service and its activities are spread over a large area.   In spite of this, it was possible to muster approximately 200 men on the front line on Longoskawayan Point on the fifth day of action.  It was fully realized that the Naval Battalion forces were overextended but against this was balanced the necessity for continued offensive action in order to contain the enemy.

 

5.                  At the end of five days and four nights of action, relief became absolutely essential.  It was furnished without hesitation by Colonel P.T. Fry and Lieut. Colonel F.M. Brokaw, who dispatched the Second Battalion of the 7th Regiment (P.S.) to the scene under the command of Lieut. Colonel H.C. Granberry.  Although supported in the area by other United States Forces, this battalion through its own operations thoroughly and decisively polished off the Japanese in smart fashion.  Too much credit cannot be given to the officers and men of this unit.

 

6.                  Japanese and Naval Battalion Forces as stated before:  23 January 1942:

 

Missions accomplished-Mount Pucot retaken, Slopes cleared of machine gun nests.

 

Reinforcements received-From Colonel S.A. Hamilton, 60 men from the 301st Chemical Company under command of Lieut. Colonel L.E. Roemer.  From Second Regular Division Philippine Army, 3rd Lieut. A.A. Peroz with 8 men and a mountain pack howitzer.

 

Disposal of Forces for the night. 301st Chemical Company on the north slope of Mount Pucot, which placed them in contact with the 3rd Pursuit Squadron who maintained a line from Km 180 to Biann Point.  Battery “A” Marines and Blue jackets), Aircraft Asiatic, and Naval Ammunition Depot Companies along mountain ridges form Mount Pucot to Talaga Bay.  General Detail company as reserve along main road from 178 to Km. 179.  The howitzer was assembled and located at the saddle southeast of Mount Pucot.

 

7.                  24 January 1942:  The enemy had reoccupied certain positions on the west and south slopes of Mount Pucot.  These were attacked and the enemy localized at the tips of Longoskawayan Point and Lapiay Point.  Night positions were taken along the ridges commanding these points.  Enemy 37 mm trench mortars and machine guns were operating on the points, and it was evident that artillery support would be necessary to reduce them.

 

8.                  25 January 1942:  At 0000 the 59th Coast Artillery, 12” mortars from Corregido under the command of Colonel N.B. Simmons and D.D. Edison delivered a bombardment on Longoskaway Point which appeared from the observation posts at Mount Pucot at the time to be most effective.  Two trench mortars from the Fourth Marine Regiment, Colonel F.L. Howard, under Lieut. M.E. Peshek arrived at 1400 and took up positions on reverse slopes northwest of Mount Pucot.  The infantry attack was continued under cover of mortar fire with machine gun fire being encountered at the tips of the Points the same as the day before.  Enemy trench mortar fire from Longoskawayan Point continued.  Evening positions were the same as the day before.

 

9.                  26 January 1942:  Light infantry attacks were made on this day as time was required for artillery preparation.  Fire was delivered by the trench mortars under Lieut. Peshek on both Longoskawayan Point and Lapaiay Point.  Lapaiay Point was evacuated by the enemy leaving Longaskawayan Point and their remaining beach head.  The loss of one side of Kinlallakan Bay prevented its use by the enemy for further landings.

 

10.              27 January 1942:  At 0700 bombardment commenced wit the 12” mortars from Corregidor, 75 mm of the 88th Field Artillery, mountain pack howitzers under Lieut. Perez, and 81 mm field mortars under Lieut. Peshek, the latter using one light and one heavy fire.  At cessation of the artillery fire the morning attack was delivered by a maximum of 200 men of the Naval Battalion.   In this attack the left flank, reportedly having retired, had in fact advanced quickly and opened the line following infiltration.  Retirement was effected under cover of the trench mortars under Lieut. Peshek and the mountain pack howitzer, under Lieut. Perez.  Both of these units proved themselves efficient and effective.  Without their help it is doubtful whether retirement could have been effected certainly heavier losses would have resulted.  At 1800 the Second Battalion of the 57th Regiment Philippine Scouts under Lieut. Colonel Granberry moved in to relieve the Naval Battalion and to take over the offensive.  The Naval Battalion, Mariveles, from this time acted as a supporting unit to the 2nd Battalion, 57th Regiment.  The Fourth Marine artillery and machine gun company commanded by Lieut. Peshek remained at their position in the field.

 

11.              28 January 1942:  The 2nd Battalion developed the approaches to Longoskawayan Point maneuvering sweeping elements with the 57th Regiment Sniper Company, Captain Wermouth, WA.  Accurate fire by the 88th Field Artillery, Major Howard, continued.  The trench mortar under Lieut. Peshek were in use.  The mountain pack howitzer, Lieut. Perez was removed from the exposed position.

 

12                29 January 1942:  At 0700 the 12” mortars of the 59th Coast Artillery, 75’s of the 88th Field Artillery, trench mortars of the 59th Coast Artillery, 75’s of the 88th Field Artillery, trench mortars of the Fourth Marines, Lieut. Peshek, 50 caliber machine guns of the Naval Battalion, and two 3-inch calibers of the USS QUAIL, Lieut. Comdr. J.H. Morrill, USN, were brought to bear on the Japanese position.  The position of the QUAIL was exposed to possible fire from a Japanese cruiser reported to be 30,000 yards from Corregidor.  Several dive bombers were operating in the vicinity but did not attack.

 

 

13.              30 January 1942:  Scouting in the vicinity of Logoskawayan and Lapaiay Points was continued by the 57th infantry.  Enemy were reported in the vicinity of Lalium Point about 1400 necessitating placing of Naval Battalion units in reserve positions along the ridges leading to Mount Pucot.  Major Scholes and Lieut.  Hogaboom with a small detachment of scouts proceeded to Lalium Point and wiped out a group of  7 enemy.  No other enemy being encountered Naval Battalion units were returned to their base camps.  During the day the U.S.S. CANAPUS completed preparing a 40 foot motor launch with light armour.  A 3/8” shield of boiler plate was installed in front of the engine extending aft about eight feet.  Similar plating was placed on the bow.  The gasoline tank was protected by sandbags. One 27mm and tow 50 caliber machine guns were place in the bow and two 30 caliber machine guns installed in the waist.

 

14.              31 January 1942:  The armored motor boat and unit under command of Lieut. Comdr. R.W. Goodall proceeded to Lapaiay Point where beach line was inspected.  One Japanese was captured and one killed.  In the afternoon this unit scouted Longoskawayan Point shore line.  Three more Japanese were captured in caves and four killed.  The three captured surrendering to Major Scholes.

 

15.              1 February 1942:  One motor boat unit continued the beachline search under Lieut. Comdr. Goodall accounting for four enemy.  A second unit under Chief Radio Electrician B. C. Fuller accompanied by Major Scholes scouted the beach line north of Mount Pucot finding no enemy in any of the coast caverns.

 

16.              The elements of material and substantial assistance to the ground troop of first, the Naval Battalion, and second, the 2nd Battalion of the 57th Regiment during the entire engagement were:

 

(a)  The Eighty Eighth Field Artillery with 75 mm guns:  Major C.E.N. Howard, Jr. Major C.L. Johnson, Captain F. Ginsberg, Captain E. Camelguard, and 1st Lt. C. Francis.

 

(b)   The Fifty Ninth Coast Artillery of Corregidor:  Colonel P.S. Bunker, Colonel N.B. Simmons, Major D.D. Edison, 2nd Lieut. R.P. Fulner and Lieut.  F.W. Bliss.  Night artillery fire was conducted effectively in addition to day firing.  The orders were change during the barrage adding to its effectiveness.

 

(c) The heavy and light firing by the unit of the Fourth Marine Regiment, Colonel F.L. Howard and Lieut. M.E. Peshek.  It was most effective.

 

(d)  The firing of the guns of the U.S.S. QUAIL, Lieut. Comdr, Morrill, USN Commanding was most accurate and the conductance of the ship in accordance with the best Navy tradition.  The fire of this ship on the enemy rear was a factor in the ultimate success of the U.S. Forces.

 

(e)    The mountain pack howitzer, 3rd Lieut. A.A. Perez, was fired accurately and with telling effect when most needed.  The performance of this officer was outstanding in that it was his and his crews first firing of this gun.  The accurate fire delivered when needed was point blank and from a position on Mount Pucot’s slopes exposed to return point blank fire of the enemy

 

(f)     The U.S.S. CANAPUS-Comdr. E. L. Sackett, USN, cooperated fully in furnishing supplies, water and aiding the large problem of supporting the troops on his seaboard slopes.  In addition armored forty foot motor launches equipped by the CANAPUS permitted complete mopping up operations.

 

17.              The complete and thorough cooperation of the U.S. Army General officer personnel and that of the Commandant, Sixteenth Naval District, was a factor of importance. The experience, advice and counsel of Colonel W. T. Clement, USMC, was made available by Admiral F.W. Rockwell, USN, after the second day.  Colonel Clement gave his full time unhesitantly to the Naval Battalion and his action in conjunction with Lieut. Colonel Brokaw of the 57th Regiment brought reinforcements at a very critical time of the engagement.  Had this been delayed or not forthcoming, the work of the first five days could well have been rendered useless.  Lieut. Cmdr. M. Cheek, USN of Admiral Rockwell’s Staff coordinated many elements used in the engagement and his work was an additional factor to the ultimate success.  The coordination of Captain H.G. Thorne, Jr. AC, USA, on the right flank at Biann Point was complete.

 

18.              Enclosure (A) lists those Naval and Marine Officers engaged.  Enclosure (B) lists those Army Officers engaged.  Enclosure (C) comprises reports on individual performances of on the Army and the Navy as observed.  Enclosure (D) are reports and recommendations on U.S. Navy enlisted personnel.

 

19.              Naval casualties are listed in Enclosure (E).

 

Total casualties in action were:

 

Navy and Marine Corps:  11 dead, 26 injured

Army:                               11 dead, 27 injured

Total U.S.:                        22 dead, 53 injured

 

Japanese casualties were between 200 and 300

 

 

 F. J. BRIDGET

 

CERTIFIED A TRUE COPY:

 

STUART A. HAMILTON,

Colonel, C.W.S