Yes it's been a while. Don and I were busy preparing for the Bataan reenactment. Unlike the Reading events this "Tactical" event demanded more in terms of authenticity. John sent us a guideline which we tried to adhere to. Plus we had to get blank firing adapters and blank ammunition. Something always kept cropping up in regards to what we needed. We had to get cartridge belts since we were equipped with the M1. We had only the regular web belts and m1912 holsters. It was an interesting and fun couple of months leading to the actual reenactment. I tried to document as much of the events leading to the event. I had to take the cheap way out in somethings so that we could come up with an acceptable impression.
Equipment Standards Defense of the Abucay Line Bataan 1942 31st Infantry Regiment
Head Gear: M-1917A1 Helmet (Kelly Helmet) - Acceptable substitutes is the M1917 helmet with Leather WWI lining Campaign Hats, Pith Helmets, and Khaki O/S caps without piping are also acceptable substitutes and may be worn on a case by case basis. ID Tags
Uniform: Khaki Cotton Service Shirt (Enlisted or Officer variants) with Philippine Scout Patch and appropriate rank insignia Khaki Service Trousers M1938 – Dismounted leggings Type II Service Shoes - Rough-out service shoes or WWI service boots are acceptable substitutes) White Cotton T-Shirt Variations are authorized. - Privates / Junior NCOs are authorized to wear the blue denim fatigue uniform or mix the two uniforms (Denim / Khaki) ID Tags with proper chain (Not the beaded variety)
Equipment: 1 x M 1928 or 1917 / 18 Cartridge Belt 1 x M1910 Canteen w/ cover 1 x M1923/ 1910 First Aid pouch 1 x M1923 / M1910 Haversack with Meat Can pouch 1 x M1910 – T Handle Shovel or M1910 Pick Maddox 1 x Wool Blanket 1x M1928 / 1910 Meat Can w/ utensils 1 x M1938 Dismounted Raincoat or WWI Issue Rain Coat
Officers and Soldiers Manning Crew Served Weapons M-1936 / Pistol Belt M1936 Combat Suspenders (Officers Only) M1936 Musette Bag (Officers Only)
Weapons: M-1 Garand w/ 16" Bayonet (Bayonet scabbard must be the canvas covered M1910 variant) the preferred bayonet is the Wood handled 1905 variant but the plastic handled 1942 variant is acceptable. (The M-1 Garand is the standard acceptable weapon for the Infantry Soldier; the 31st IN REGT was issued this weapon in Fall 1941. Soldiers carrying this weapon will only be allowed to carry 5 en-bloc 8rd Clips for the Garand. Remaining ammunition will be carried in 5rd stripper clips. Soldiers will be restricted to carrying a total of 150 rds of rifle ammunition)
M1911 Service Pistol (Officers / Weapons Crews) w/ appropriate holster M1917 Service Pistol (Officers / Weapons Crews) w/ appropriate holster
M1918 BAR (With a maximum of 260 rds – 13-20 round magazines) M1917 Machine Gun M1919 Light MG M1928 Thompson SMG (These will be allowed on a case by case basis and must have the appropriate 11" barrel and vertical handgrip) M1903 Service Rifle (These will be allowed on a case by case basis and will only be carried by those portraying HQ or support soldiers)
Rations: Soldiers will not be allowed to bring food into the field all food will be issued on site by the event organizers. Comfort items such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, etc should also be carried sparingly.
Web Gear must be the early war khaki color. Later variants of dark green are later production and are not authorized
Post by legionnaire on Sept 4, 2009 5:09:43 GMT -5
Again Congradulations for assembling all the gear and a small unit together. I'm glad you all had a great time! Welcome to the world of reenacting! ;D Specially for honoring the Veterans! Great to hear from you again that the spirit of the PS is still alive! hope to see more of the documentations.
Thanks for looking at the pictures and all your kind comments. It was very difficult to take pictures during the event. I don't think I was able to take any action shots. Most of the pics were at rest or posed. We always had our rifles at the ready just in case we had an encounter with the Japanese reenactors. Even if it was just make believe the situation can be very intense.
When we arrived that evening we had to gear up as fast as we could so that we could immediately march to our defensive position.
Jay was our armorer. He was in charge of attaching the Blank Firing adapters on our M1s.
We forgot to bring flashlights and there were no lights around. We had to check our weapons by cel phone light.
It was pitch dark and I couldn't see 3 feet in front of me.
I relied on the guys footsteps in front of me to guide me. I was so worried that I might get separated and get lost. The occasional flare and sporadic gun fire added some "ambiance". Once we reached our lines we were ordered to "dig in" and defend our position in case we were attacked. Don, Jay and I took our positions. I lay prone behind a fallen log with my rifle at the ready. There were some probing patrols by the Japanese and occasional gunfire. We couldn't see anything and a muzzle flash with gun fire was greeted with return fire. It was difficult reloading the M1 in the dark. I dropped the clip several times while reloading and had to feel for it on the the jungle floor. It was also a struggle trying to open the cartridge belt pocket to get a fresh clip. We didn't know if we were shooting at the Japanese or our own troops. There was an incident when the Japanese taunted us in "Tagalog". Don was the only one who answered them back with the appropriate colloquial response plus a couple of 30.06 rounds. The jungle floor was damp with some thorny vines which got caught with our equipment and uniform. In the silence of the night I'd swear the jungle floor was rustling or moving. Some small animals or insects were probably complaining about or presence in their habitat. At about 0300 the alert was lifted and we were told that we could take a breather. By this time we were tired, hungry, sweaty and sleepy. The break was a welcome respite. We tried to get some sleep. I was itchy and the gear was tight. It was a relief to take of my helmet and undo the buckle on my cartridge belt. However, I did not take off my gear just in case the Japanese made a surprise Banzai charge or if we needed to move out fast. I used my haversack as a cushion and lay on my back with my helmet as my pillow. I had my rifle cradled in my left arm with the safety on. The t-handle of the shovel was causing some discomfort on my coccyx. I finally found a comfortable position slightly turned to my left side. Jay and Don fell sleep ahead of me. I swear that our snoring would have given away our position if there was a Jap patrol nearby. Someone even commented that we were having a concerto.
We were up by about 0630H. We checked our gear and surroundings. We went ahead to get a little breakfast and some water. Our C.O. (Carter) passed by and told us that we will be moving out by around 0830H. I was able to take a couple of pictures. This is when we realized that we had a couple of guys to the left and right of us, plus there was an MG position across from the field in front of us. That was the area where the muzzle flashes and gunfire came from last night. That was also the area where we aimed and fired our rifles.
It was around 0730H, while we were chatting and relaxing, when a Jap patrol slipped behind our line and attacked us from the rear. We were totally un- prepared. We fumbled with our gear but regrouped quite promptly. We returned fire. But the enemy could not be visualized. we tried to pursue them - but, where were they? I didn't see a single Japanese soldier. I didn't know of any casualties on our side. Once the Japanese threat was overcome we received orders to move out.
to be continued.
Last Edit: Sept 18, 2009 10:08:03 GMT -5 by milspec
This was our first tactical re-enactment, and we represented the 57th Infantry Philippine Scouts. I tell you this, next time we do it I will be in better shape. Carrying the M1 with more than a hundred rounds of ammo in the belt and bandolier plus the back pack, canteen, bayonet, shovel, gas mask bag (where I put my sandwiches, that's what we ate Vic) then being ordered to march, advance, take the hill... was so taxing. I was in the service, but that was along time ago and not in the army. Just imagine Bos carrying his BAR!
Adding to Jobert's story... It drizzled three times that night as we tried to get some sleep in that jungle. Daylight reveals what kind of place we had for our bed. Rotten log, vegetation with torns, several kinds of bugs, we even found some leach. The surprise attack from behind by the Japanese that morning really woke us up. The guy on our right made the scene so realistic, he pretended to be panicking and started yelling, "Where's our reinforcements? No reinforcements? I can't stand this anymore!!!". As Jobert said we tried to pursue the Jap patrol, but they were gone.
At 0830 we moved. The scouts were ordered to spearhead the advance. We moved thru some thick vegetation then got into a trail that leads to a creek, then shots were fired. The Japs were occupying the high ground with thick bushes, vegetation and trees. You know that they're there but you couldn't see them. We were pinned down and couldn't move. We can see our CO ordering the machine gun crew to set up and give us cover. I was behind a tree when suddenly I heard one of the Japanese started to communicate with us in Tagalog!
Japanese: HA! Magandang umaga! (Ha! Good Morning!)
Scout (me) : Hindi Maganda ang umaga! Ito ang para sa iyo! then gave him a 3 round burst Bang! Bang! Bang! (This is not a good morning! this is for you! Bang! Bang! Bang!)
I gave him more rounds. By then, the guys from the 31st caught up with us. We moved forward and cross the creek then up the hill. This guy from the 31st moved so close that he was able to get one Jap but himself was shot. I moved up next to him, all I can see was bushes. Suddenly part of the bush went up and the next thing I saw was a flash! The Japanese soldier was well cammouflaged and shot me with his Nambu pistol. That was the end for my action on that round. But I will have my revenge... to be continued.
I almost forgot about the rain but Don was right we had some occasional drizzling that night. We shared Don's, I believe, meatloaf sandwich for breakfast. We drank water from our WWI vintage aluminum canteens. I really cleaned those out the night before. I must have done a good job since there was no aluminum after-taste.
Don's account of the morning action was pretty much how I remember it. What I recall most distinctly were the thorny vines and bushes as well as the prickly leaves. This was when I greatly appreciated my M1938 leggings. They were effective protection from the thorns. We also kept our sleeves down for that reason. My hands weren't as lucky. I got a couple of scratches ripped skin and also some thorns embedded in my hands. The taking of Hill 131 or 31(?) was our first firefight. I tried to outflank the Japs by crawling and dashing from one tree to another. Crawling with all that equipment strapped to you was a very grueling experience. Branches, vines and twigs would get caught in the webbing and sometimes threw me off balance. There were several times that I tripped on a vine. The M1917A1 helmet had the tendency to slip down over my brow obstructing my view. This would often happen when I was in the prone position and the haversack or the meat-can pouch would push the brim of the helmet over my eyes. I constantly had to adjust my helmet. The chin strap was fastened on securely to prevent losing the helmet. This was so annoying especially when I was maneuvering and trying to get a shot at the enemy. The gas mask bag was another piece of useless equipment. I brought it along because that is were I kept my camera,a water bottle, and the all important toilet paper - for quick access. By the time I was in position the encounter was over. The enemy was either neutralized or got away. We then took a break after-wards and got to know our fellow reenactors. One of them shared his rations of boiled potatoes, Cheese and I think Beef Jerky. No hand washing or hand sanitizer .
This was a long break so Jay was able to take a nap.
Don taking a break beside the hand cart.
After the break we were told that we would be heading back to the assembly point and that we (the Philippine Scouts) would be the rearguard for the column. We were told to keep our eyes open for possible Japs in the area.
Our last action against the enemy would be the most exciting one.
to be continued
Last Edit: Sept 18, 2009 11:25:43 GMT -5 by milspec