Presentation on theme: "Journal of Commodore Ramon A. Alcaraz February 1942."— Presentation transcript:
Journal of Commodore Ramon A. Alcaraz February 1942
February 1, 1942 The conference at USAFFE Hq presided by Col R. Marshall G-4 that I attended addressed the acute food shortage of our Bataan troops. Among others present in that conference were Lt Col Andres Soriano of San Miguel (CAD & asgd w/G-4) and my friend Capt Juan Panopio OSP (Res) former Capt of Pres Yatch "Casiana" and now CO, MS Kolambugan, a freighter. In that conference, it was decided that Q-112 escort MS Kolambugan break through enemy blockade under cover of darkness and sneak to Looc Cove, Batangas where a G-4 officer will deliver to us the foodstuff he procured. This mission is difficult as there are no aids to navigation and the approaches to Corregidor is blockaded. After giving detailed instructions to Capt Panopio and lending him my signalman, Q-112 with Kolambugan following shoved off Corregidor after sunset Jan 30 darkenship, radio silence. After passing the mine fields, I headed to Cavite coast hugging the coastline 2 miles off until we reached Looc Cove.
February 1, 1942 - continued By prearranged signals, I contacted the G-4 Officer who turned out to be my townmate, Maj Jose Ruedo '27. He directed us to a concealed anchorage where loading of rice and cattle started at once, continued the whole day of the 31st up to 1600 when 5,000 tons of rice and 300 heads of cattle were loaded aboard the MS Kolambugan. In addition, Maj Rueda gave me a gallon of pancit molo (native dumpling noodle soup) for Pres Quezon. We left Looc Cove at 2000 tracing back our former route. The moon was bright and about midnight, my lookout reported seeing the snorkel of an unidentified sub, confirmed by my Exo, Lt Gomez. I signaled the Kolambugan what to do, sped to the reported location and dropped four dept charges, after which Q- 112 and MS Kolambugan resumed course to Corregidor arriving thereat 0700 today. Col Marshall and Lt Col Soriano were so glad to welcome us back bring food stuff whose weight is equivalent in gold for our starving Bataan troops.
February 1, 1942 - continued After passing the mine fields, I headed to Cavite coast hugging the coastline 2 miles off until we reached Looc Cove. By prearranged signals, I contacted the G-4 Officer who turned out to be my townmate, Maj Jose Ruedo '27. He directed us to a concealed anchorage where loading of rice and cattle started at once, continued the whole day of the 31st up to 1600 when 5,000 tons of rice and 300 heads of cattle were loaded aboard the MS Kolambugan. In addition, Maj Rueda gave me a gallon of pancit molo (native noodle/dumpling soup) for Pres Manuel Quezon. We left Looc Cove at 2000 tracing back our former route.
Pres. Manuel Quezon was very upset that no reinforcement was coming and our troops were suffering for lack of food and medicines in early Feb 1942.
February 1, 1942 - continued Later, I proceeded to the Lateral of the Quezon Family to deliver Maj Rueda's pancit molo. Mrs Quezon was delighted saying it is the favorite soup of her husband. Mrs Quezon brought me before the Pres who was with Col Charles Willoughby G-2. After thanking me for the pancit molo, Quezon resumed his talk with G-2. He seemed upset that no reinforcement was coming. I heard him say that America is giving more priority to England and Europe, reason we have no reinforcement. "Punieta", he exclaimed, "how typically American to writhe in anguish over a distant cousin while a daughter (Philippines) is being raped in the backroom".
February 3, 1942 At high noon today, enemy planes bombed Lamao area where Capt Jurado's OSP Inf Bn is deployed. Patrol Boat 'Danday', Lt Abraham Campo USNA '40 CO was a direct hit to pieces. Luckily, Abe, who used to be my ExO and his crew were taking their lunch ashore, are spared. There are no casualties but a few buildings were razed. The "Danday" under Lt Campo, had several successful night missions before smuggling PC intelligence operatives from Bataan to Manila and back. Gen Simeon de Jesus PC Chief of Intelligence laments the loss of "Danday." Together with the "Baler" of Lt Carlos J Albert USNA '39 they augment our east Bataan coast patrol the enemy seems to respect as no enemy landings have taken place in the eastern coast unlike what is happening in the west coast.
February 3, 1942 - continued While the "Danday' is our first boat casualty, I noted since Jan 31 that PT Ron 3 with original six boats are ony four now. When I asked my friend Lt Bulkeley about it, he told me that during that surprise encounter with enemy landings on western Bataan coast below the I Corps MLR, PT 31 under Lt E de Long and PT 35 under Ens A Akers went aground, destroyed and abandoned. At least our three torpedo boats are all intact as "Danday" is not a torpedo boat but only a patrol boat.
February 3, 1942 - continued From accounts by the Voice of Freedom, it is clear that since the enemy have frontal difficulties with our MLR, they decided to land troops on west Bataan coast way below I Corps MLR at Lapiay-Longoskawayan Pt; Quinauan-Aglaloma Pt; and Silaim- Anyasan Pt. Some of the landings were attacked by PT Boats of Lt Bulkeley and those that landed are fiercely opposed by the 71st Div, PAAC Inf Bn & 2nd Reg Div and even Ateneo ROTC Volunteers as described by the Voice of Freedom that claimed the enemy troops that landed at Lapiay- Longoskawayan are totally annihilated now. This battle is called the Battle of the Points.
This is PT 41, Lt Bulkeley's flagship on PT Ron 3, the same boat used by MacArthur and family to escape from Corregidor on March 11, 1942
February 3, 1942 - continued I also learned today that the Roberts Commission in Washington DC that investigated Pearl Harbor have rendered a verdict of "Dereliction of Duty" on both Gen Walter Short USA Hawaiian Department Comdr and Adm Husband Kimmel USN, Fleet Comdr during the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor.
February 7, 1942 I was at Corregidor Wharf to welcome M/S Kolambugan that arrived 0730 today from another "smuggling trip to Looc Cove" similar to what we did a week ago. This time Q-111 is the escort with Capt Navarette CO & Sqdn Comdr and Capt Panopio with the Kolambugan, a confident veteran now. After our successful "smuggling opn" a week ago, USAFFE Hq adopted the SOP I established specially the coastal zigzag route. The indefatigable Maj Rueda was able to procure another 3,000 tons of rice and 200 heads of cattle for USAFFE Hq to risk another attempt. I briefed Capt Navarette and Capt Panopio on the SOP and the trip is successful. There is another "garapon" of pancit molo for the President from Rueda so I accompanied Navarrete to deliver it as he did not know the Quezon Lateral.
February 7, 1942 - continued I was surprised to see the president very sick, constantly coughing still upset no reinforcements are coming. However, his eyes brightened when I gave him the flag of his sunken "Casiana" retrieved by my Gunner Sgt Figuracion. Considering the 100,000 people in Bataan we have to feed which includes 20,000 civilian evacuees, the foodstuff smuggled by Kolambugan twice is just a drop in the bucket but it helps postpone the half rationing schedule being planned. Meanwhile, fighting continuous in the Battle of the Points behind the II Corps of Gen Wainwright with the enemy slowly being decimated every passing day.
February 7, 1942 - continued On my way back to Q-112 at the wharf, I encountered my classmates Lts Bartolome Cabangbang, Tomas Tirona, Damian Pavon and Alberto Aranzaso all PAAC pilots now without planes assigned to the AA Batteries in Corregidor. Aranzaso is one of our early heroes with Capt Villamor shooting down enemy planes. It was a happy brief mini- reunion. I felicitated them for their accomplishments as well as their comrades with the PAAC Inf Bn under Capt Pelagio Cruz, my provincemate, that fought and defeated the enemy that landed behind our MLR in the battle of Aglaloma Pt. The Voice of Freedom announced the heroism of this Bn as a Unit and cited the following officers awarded the Silver Stars (SS) for gallantry in action at Aglaloma: Capts. Pelagio Cruz; Eustacio Orobia; Pedro Q Molina (Quezon's nephew); and my Mistah Lt Victor Osias. With the 5 SS earned by PAAC last Dec, they now have a total of 9 SS according to my book.
February 7, 1942 - continued Amazing planeless PAAC, they still manage to earn SS as foot soldiers to show the world how versatile the USAFFE men are fighting in the jungles of Bataan that included young boys of a tender age like those Ateneo ROTC Volunteers very loyal to their Commandant, Capt Eugenio G Lara '38. News report states that the Japanese are poised to land in Singapore which is supposed to be impregnable and defended by the British Forces.
February 10, 1942 All's quiet in the Eastern Bataan Front as seen from our Q-Boat east coast patrol. It is now 65 days since the war started-15 days more than what Gen Homma predicted it to be over. Despite their great air and sea power superiority generated from the sneak Pearl Harbor attack, as well as superiority in number of troops and ability to reinforce, all the incessant enemy assaults are check-mated at Bagac-Orion Line in Bataan since Jan. 24.
February 10, 1942 - continued In a desperate attempt to outflank I Corps on the Western Front, crack enemy units tried to penetrate through the Tuol River area while others landed west Bataan coast far below Bagac in three areas named Points. Despite heavy damages inflicted by Lt Bulkeley's PT Boats, several thousand enemy troops managed to land that resulted in three ferocious battles of the Points: Jan 23 to 29, battle of Lapiay-Longoskawayan Pts where US Sailors & Airmen and Phil Scouts wiped out the enemy; Jan 23 to Feb 7, battle of Aglaloma-Quinauan Pts where PAAC& 71st Div defeated the invaders; the only battle still going on which began Jan 24 is the Silaim-Anyasan Pts. The enemy Units that penetrated through Gogo-Cutar-Tuol River area were also annihilated by USAFFE Units on Jan 30. These four distinct battles are won by us.
Lt John D Bulkeley Lt John D Bulkeley, Comdr PT Ron 3 with 6 Torpedo Boats. Together with our 3 Q-Boats, we were the main naval USAFFE defense in Bataan. His remaining 4 PT Boats were used by Gen MacArthur and party escape Corregidor to Cagayan de Oro thence to Del Monte Bukidnon March 11,1942
February 10, 1942 - continued I would like to beleive that due to above setbacks, the Japanese High Command decided to finally land their troops in Singapore two days ago (Feb 8) probably to save face with a quick victory there. Singapore is supposed to be impregnable and hope the British Forces can handle them. The Voice of Freedom extols today the 1st Reg (PMA) Div of Gen Fidel Segundo as a Unit for their courage and tenacity annihilating the enemy that penetrated through Tuol River, The fol Os are awarded decorations for gallantry in action: DSC for Lt Napoleon Mangonon '42 (a plebe in my squad at PMA); Silver Stars for my Mistah Lt Faustino Sebastian '40; Capt Alfredo Santos ('35 UP) my former TacO at PMA; and Capt Simplicio de Castro, former Olympic Boxer.
February 21, 1942 Finally, a composite unit from the PC, 26th Cavalry, 71st Div, PAAC and even Ateneo ROTC Volunteers annihilated the remaining enemy forces at Silaim-Anyasan Pts thus ending the so-called Battle of the Points in West Bataan two days ago. And so, Alas and Alackay, I can now say "All's Quiet in All Bataan Fronts. Have not seen any enemy plane whole day. At Malinta Tunnel where I saw Maj Huff, he informed me that Pres Quezon and party left last night aboard submarine USS Swordfish headed presumably to Australia. He also told me cooler heads (Osmena, Roxas, Abad Santos) convinced him to leave Corregidor. He did not like the idea of leaving which he felt was abandoning his loyal people. Among those I presumed with that party aside from the Quezon family, are VP Osmena, CJ Abad Santos, Maj Manuel Nieto, Maj Jaime Velasquez and Virginia Bewley.
February 21, 1942 - continued At Major Romulo's Lateral Office, I learned from Lt F. Isidoro that the M/V Don Isidro under Capt Rafael Cisneros OSP (Res) that left Manila last Dec. 15, broke through the enemy blockade, managed to reach Brisbane, Australia mid January. Capt Cisneros volunteered to return with his ship to the Philippines. She was fully loaded with supplies for the starving USAFFE troops and left Brisbane Feb. 15 headed for the Philippines. Four days later, enemy planes found and attacked her near Weasel Island where she was sunk Feb. 19. Nothing is reported about casualties but I hope Capt Cisneros is safe.
February 23, 1942 All's quiet in all Bataan Fronts from the vantage point of our Q-Boat Patrol. Still feel uncomfortable and have not adjusted to this quiet. Learned that USS Swordfish that took Pres Quezon and party Feb. 20 is back. Will find out what happened later, perhaps. All nine Torpedo Boats of USAFFE have powerful main engines using aviation gasoline. They are supposed to be overhauled every 700 hours. Although our Q-Boats have registered more than 800 hours each, through the efforts of Lt Jose Zulueta and his engineering gang, all Boats are ready for sea (RFS) every day since the war started. PTs have the luxury of having spare Packard engines to replace bad PT engines. The Q-Boats have Cruising Engines that save hours for our Main Engines. The PTs, on the other hand, have no cruising engines. Lately, however, I have noted that some PTs were not RFS and remained tied up at their "wharf," tugboat TRABAJADOR anchored at Sisiman Cove.
February 23, 1942 - continued The time for overhaul schedule starts today for Q-111 by Lt Zulueta and his gang with assistance from USS Canopus to take advantage of the lull in Bataan. It will take a week for Q-111 to be not RFS. USAFFE Hq must have taken note of Lt Zulueta's efforts to maintain all Q-Boats RFS since the start of the War and promoted him to 1st Lt, the second OSP officer given spot promotion so far.
February 25, 1942 All Quiet continue in all fronts. Major Sidney Huff summoned me to USAFFE Hq and his purpose is to "borrow" the inflatable rubber raft of Q-112 to serve as sample for additional such rafts he will order. I learned that my raft is the only one still usable among the Torpedo Boats and so I left it at Malinta Tunnel. I also learned from Maj Huff that USS Swordfish that took Pres Quezon and party from Corregidor four nights ago, for reasons unknown to me, unloaded her passengers at San Jose, Antique, returned to Corregidor, picked up U.S. High Commissioner Francis B Sayre and party and quietly departed last night presumably for Australia. It was my presumption also that when Pres Quezon and party left, they were headed for Australia. It seems his desire not to abandon his countrymen is still paramount in his mind so he is still in the Visayas.
February 25, 1942 - continued While our troops apparently appear to have good morale, the non-arrival of expected reinforcements - that imagined miles and miles of convoy of ships - plus the food shortages, difficulties in the Bataan jungles with its fierce mosquitos, all these contribute to doubts and apprehensions. Due to lack of food, the Cavalry horses were all eaten by this time and many edible items are being discovered in Bataan forests. A group of young american soldiers calling themselves "Battling Bastards of Bataan" even composed a song which goes something like this: "We're the Battling Bastards of Bataan. No Mama, No Papa, No Uncle Sam. No Aunts, No Uncles, No Cousins, No Nieces. No, Pills, No Planes, No Artillery Pieces..... And Nobody Gives a Damn."
February 25, 1942 - continued Now that Q-111 main engines are being overhauled to take advantage of the lull, Q-112 and Q-113 will alternate in the nightly patrols of Manila Bay. The officers and men of USS Canopus well-comouflaged to blend with Gorda Point west of Sisiman Cove are of invaluable assistance keeping our torpedoes charged and their shops ready to help us anytime. We, from OSP, are very grateful to them.