Just doing some internet research to find where the Abucay Hacienda is. Maybe I can visit the place next time I go home. Unlike the Mabatang battlefield, the area is a lot wider and it's hard to pinpoint a specific battlefield. The whole area had many series of engagements.
General Parker had recognized the gravity of his position almost as soon as the 51st sector gave way. At about 1200 of the 16th he had ordered Brig. Gen. Maxon S. Lough to move his Philippine Division (less the 57th Infantry) to the left of the 41st Division and to counterattack the next morning with two regiments abreast. The 31st Infantry (US)-not to be confused with the 31st Infantry (PA), a regiment of the Philippine Army's 31st Division which was also in the II Corps sector at this time- moved out early in the afternoon and about 1900 reached its destination, approximately one mile east of Abucay Hacienda. The 45th Infantry (PS) left its bivouac area at 1700 of the 16th but lost its way and when the counterattack began the next morning it was about 5,000 yards to the southeast.
.... At 0815, 17 January, the American troops of the 31st Infantry, led by Col. Charles L. Steel, jumped off from the line of departure and advanced north along Trail 12, nearly a mile east of Abucay Hacienda. On the left was the 1st Battalion; next to it, astride and to the right of the trail, was the 2d Battalion. The 3d Battalion was in reserve. The 1st Battalion on the left met little opposition and was able to reach the Balantay River by nightfall. The 2d Battalion on the right was not so fortunate. About 400 yards from the line of departure it encountered enemy resistance and, despite numerous attempts to break through, was unable to advance farther that day. To fill the gap between the 1st and 2d Battalions, which had developed as a result of the unimpeded advance on the left, Company K from the reserve battalion was sent into the line.50
Plans for the next day's action were drawn up at a predawn conference held at the 41st Division command post. Present at the meeting were General Lough, Philippine Division commander; Col. Malcolm V. Fortier, 41st Division senior instructor; Col. Thomas W. Doyle, commander of the 45th Infantry, which had finally reached the scene; and Colonel Steel of the 31st. After some discussion it was agreed that a co-ordinated attack by all present would be made that morning. The 31st Infantry was to attack north, and the 45th, echeloned by battalion to the right rear, would deliver the main assault between the 31st and 43d to the right. The 43d Infantry was to maintain its position along the regimental reserve line. Artillery support for the advance would be furnished by 41st Division artillery.
As his 45th Infantry moved forward to the line of departure early on the morning of the 18th, Colonel Doyle learned that the 1st Battalion of the 31st was under strong enemy pressure and in danger of being outflanked. A hurried conference between Doyle and Steel produced a revised plan of operations. The 3d Battalion, 45th Infantry, was now to move to the left of the 31st Infantry, supporting the 1st Battalion of that regiment on the extreme left of the Abucay line. The rest of the units would continue the attack as planned.
The 45th Infantry attack began later than planned, but proceeded without major mishap. The regiment-less the 3d Battalion, which had lost its way and overshot the mark-advanced between the 31st and 43d but was unable to reach its objective, the Balantay River, before dark. The 3d Battalion, after a false start which found it "climbing the backs" of the 31st Infantry's left company, finally reached the river by 1630. There it settled down to hold a front of 1,400 yards, with no protection on its left except that offered by the jungle. The 1st Battalion, 31st Infantry, to its right was at the river line, but the 2d Battalion was still short of the river, as were the 45th Infantry elements to its right. Thus at the end of the second day of counterattack the Japanese still held the salient above Abucay Hacienda.
---- On the 19th the American and Scout regiments resumed the attack. Starting just before noon the 31st Infantry hit the enemy salient only to be repulsed. Time after time the American infantrymen re-formed and attacked, but with no success. Efforts to bring tanks into the action failed when Parker's request for tank support was refused on the ground that the terrain was unsuitable for tank operations. Sending armor into such an engagement, wrote Weaver, would be "like sending an elephant to kill flies."51 On the west, the 3d Battalion, 45th Infantry, now attached to the 31st Infantry, was under fire throughout the day from troops of the 141st Infantry who had infiltrated into the American line. Only on the right did the Philippine Division make progress that day. There, elements of the 1st and 2d Battalions, 45th Infantry, were able to reach the Balantay early in the afternoon.
--- On 20 and 21 January the Americans and the Scouts again made numerous unsuccessful efforts to restore the original line. The terrain, dense vegetation, and the lack of accurate information about the enemy prevented effective co-ordination and made contact between front-line units extremely difficult and sometimes impossible. During these two days the Japanese made their preparations for the scheduled offensive. Leaving enough men in position to contain the two Philippine Division regiments, Colonel Imai gradually shifted the bulk of his men westward to the extreme left of the II Corps line. At dawn of the 22d these men began crossing the Balantay northwest of Abucay Hacienda, to the left of the 3d Battalion, 45th Infantry. By 1000 enough men and heavy weapons had been put across to begin the attack.
The offensive opened shortly before noon with an air attack and an artillery barrage, directed mainly against the 1st Battalion, 31st Infantry, immediately adjacent to the 45th Infantry's 3d Battalion on the corps left flank. Colonel Imai then sent his men into the attack. Whether by chance or design, the weight of the infantry attack fell upon the same battalion that had suffered most from the artillery preparation, and the 1st Battalion, 31st Infantry, began to fall back slowly. Under the threat of envelopment from the east and west, the 3d Battalion, 45th Infantry, broke contact with the enemy and also moved back. The 3d Battalion, 31st, was also exposed by the withdrawal, for on its right was the enemy salient and on its left was the gap left by the 1st Battalion. It, too, began to fall back, refusing its left flank. By late afternoon the 31st Infantry and the attached 3d Battalion of the 45th had formed a new line east and south of Abucay Hacienda. The 2d Battalion remained in place about 1,000 yards east of the Hacienda, along the east-west road leading to that barrio. To its left was the 3d Battalion, 31st Infantry, then the 1st Battalion with its flank sharply refused and facing almost due west. The 3d Battalion, 45th Infantry, was in support about 100 yards behind the 31st Infantry line.
By nightfall on the 22d, the 31st and 45th Infantry were in approximately the same place they had been five days earlier when they began the counterattack. The physical condition of the men, however, had greatly deteriorated. They had been in action almost continuously during these five days and the strain of combat was clearly evident. The men on the front line had received little water or food and practically no hot meals during the battle. Many had been forced to rely on sugar cane to satisfy their thirst and hunger. All the men showed the effects of sleepless nights spent in beating off an enemy who preferred to attack during the hours of darkness. Casualties had been heavy, and the men were particularly bitter about Japanese air bombardment, against which the Americans had no weapon.
hey vic...just yesterday i poured over my "bataan, last ditch" description of the attack at abucay of the 31st inf regmt. as we have discussed in the past about my niece in laws grandfather's part in the abucay action with company G or H of said regiment. i have never been able to find out the dates he served in each company so during this particular engagement he could have been in either unit. my question is....a fairly detailed account is given of companies E, F, and G, but not a thing is said about company H subsequent to saying G company led out in the final march to jumpoff positions. companies E, F & H following. good accounts are given of the following actions of three units (G,E,F) but not a thing about H. its almost like they dropped off the planet. i realize that a lot of action reports,etc were lost during the retreat and final actions so that might be the reason. during reconstruction of the movements by the author, maybe, the activities,etc of company H were just not available to include in the summary. since it was known that G carried the load during the attack of the 2nd battalion, the author didnt attempt to include detailed descriptions of company H, so just let it slide. who knows????maybe better to disregard and omit than to include something that may not be true of factual. whatcha think?
I'm hoping to visit the Abucay Hacienda area next month when I go home for vacation. I'm doing a little bit more internet "recon" of the area trying to match and determine battle positions of the Philippine Scouts and the American 31st Infantry during the battle for the Abucay line.
The Abucay Hacienda area is now turning into a "college town" since the Colegio de San Juan de Letran opened a new campus there. The campus' main building can be seen from the satellite image and looks like it was under construction at the time when the Google satellite image was taken.
Here are some notes and material I came up with:
click for bigger
31st Infantry counterattack/advance:
Here's a random video I found possibly made by some students from the school. It features intramural games and cheering. I wonder if they know the history of the land that their school is built on.
I've been doing some research/internet recon on the Abucay Hacienda area. I'm planning a trip there in a couple of weeks. Last night I was cross checking hand drawn maps, existing photos, satellite images, and descriptions of the battle that took place there. I've been raring to go back since my trip to Mabatang in Dec. 2007.
As I thumbed through the 45th Infantry PS casualty list, I came across the Scout who had the same first and last name as mine. I saw it before and knew he was KIA in Abucay Hacienda, but this time I noticed the date that he was reported KIA. It was January 21st, 1942. Then I looked up at the calendar and realized it was January 21st. ooooh...
I looked him up at the American Cemetery at Fort Bonifacio in Dec. 2007 but he didn't have a marker. He was KIA and body was never found so he only had his name etched on the wall. He's probably still out there in Abucay somewhere.
hey vic....the jan 21, 1942 date thing is kinda eerie. its a good enough "sign" to me that there is a connection between you and that long ago scout. if i were you, i would just assume that this brave guy was a relative and finalize it in your own mind. he had relatives and you just might as well be one of them. the abucay line now has more meaning then ever for you. i was telling my new niece-in-law about this website and have been trying to familiarize her with the whole bataan campaign since (as i have described on this site and the corregidor one) grandpa was a participant in all the actions of the 31st US infantry. she is restoring his uniform and i have told her the meaning of the shoulder patches, etc. she is quite interested in those long ago events that her forebearer was so involved in. i say again, keep up the good work and "adopt" that particular scout as your own.
Okla, PFC Verano may have adopted me, not the other way around haha! Well like I said his body was never found and is still probably in Abucay Hacienda somewhere... wherever he is, I hope I don't meet him when I go there (haha)... nor any of those he fought against. That would make for a really interesting story though
A side story... I exchanged some messages with the student who posted the youtube video of their school events in that newly built college in Abucay. I told him why I was interested in the area and joked about how that would explain if there are any ghosts or hauntings in their school - haha that was just a joke!
Well he replied that there are indeed hauntings in their new school. There are always footsteps and door knocks in the back hallway of the main building.... and same happenings at the dorm behind it! whoa.
Would your niece be able to share pictures of his grandfather's uniform with us here?
hey vic...i am sure my niece in law would be delighted to post pics of her grandfather's restored uniform when it is completed to her satisfaction. she is a perfectionist, i fear. the uni is the one that was issued to gramps upon his return to a stateside army hospital from bilibid. the shoulder patches (one carabao head phil div insignia and one seahorse phil department insignia) are ones that said soldier sent home in letters in the summer of 1941. he, along with most other released enlisted men, was automatically promoted one grade (he from PFC to corporal). niece in law has the original orders for this belated promotion. since she is so interested in the military record of her grandfather, i have been most happy to help fill in gaps and clear up misconceptions in what did and did not happen back in 1942. her mother and uncle (gramps children) were never interested enough to really do any digging into their father's ordeal. all they knew or cared to know was that he was taken prisoner (mistakenly thinking that the capture was on corregidor). i, earlier, posted a correction on the corregidor website when i discovered new information in this man's personal papers and effects. he, instead of being taken prisoner on the "rock" was captured while in hospital number one or number 2 in the mariveles, bataan area. consequently, he was fortunate enough to miss the bataan death march. the wounded were removed to bilibid at a later date. he recovered enough to do labor at clark field while being held at cabanatuan before ending up back at bilibid. i understand that the japs turned wounded filipino troops loose soon after bataan gave up, hoping that they would all head for their home barrios and probably die in the attempt. cuts down on the number of prisoners to deal with. all the supposed able bodies, both filipino and american began the march. many, especially filipino, as we all know never made it to odonnell. i was pleased to clear this up for the girl. she seems so interested, whereas her mom and unc dont seem to really care that much. just getting dad back from the pacific was enough for them. we will probably never know where this misinformation about making it to corregidor had its genesis, but there was another soldier from the same area of oklahoma and who was also a member of the 31st us infantry who did make it to corregidor after bataan threw in the towel, this man perished on one of the "hell ships". i am assuming that maybe this is where the misconception originated. before i get off this posting, i gotta say that i am not so sure that para-"whatchacallits" dont prowl old battlefields. just the other evening there was a piece on the history channel about supposed ghosts at gettysburg. if this is so, why cant there be a few prowling the abucay line????it might not have been such a big affair, as those things go, but to the poor devils involved a bullet hole at abucay is just as painful or deadly as one on the fields of gettysburg. again, i say, keep up the good work. nice talking to you again.
Last Edit: Jan 24, 2009 13:45:38 GMT -5 by oklahoma
Okla, If your niece-in-law's grandfather was with G Company at the time of the Abucay Hacienda fight, here's a pretty good first hand account of G Company's actions. H Company's can't be too far different.
vic...from his reconstructed personnel file, it appears that this soldier spent most of his bataan time, while on the line, with G company. early return addresses (before all mail from the islands ceased) had an H company return address, but his 214 record shows G company as being his primary unit. as you said, though, both companies were eyeball deep in the abucay actions. as for your missing scout "relative", one wonders if maybe some of the locals might have buried the body after the fil/amer withdrawal???wouldnt it be fantastic if the grave might, at this very late date, be found and the remains identified. dogtags???i realize that i am probably drifting into fantasyland. i very much envy you, knowing that very soon you will be prowling the abucay line (along with the "ghosts"). you will post any photos, i assume.
Hey Victor: Funny I just read this and on page's 286- 289 of The Fall of The Philippines by the US Army in WW11 the 1953 series of The War in the Pacific by Louis Morton. Is this were most of the info you guys are providing from?
Try to spend the night by yourself and listen to the ghost, they will come out for you. You will be representing all of us that had relatives on Bataan. Bring a sleeping bag brother and feel the action that happened.
Be safe and do not pick up anything that could "BLOW up UP"
Cya Rudy/nephew of PFC. Saturnino Cabigas and PVT. Alberto Cabigas, F Troop, 26th Cavalry on Bataan
Hi Rudy, Yes, I got a lot of that info from Morton's book... however that book only relates the high level stuff. The grunt level first person accounts I've gotten from these other books:
Bataan, Our Last Ditch The Philippine Scouts (the big book edited by Col. Olson) Death March by Donald Knox Baby of Bataan by John Quitman Johnson
and online by doing a search on Abucay Hacienda and especially this search string: "abucay hacienda john pray"
The Abucay Hacienda was a big battle, bigger than the Mabatang one and over a really wide area. Fortunately, the same road that was used by the troops to get there is still there and paved now. So I'm checking it out. I'll bring back Abucay Hacienda soil for you my friend. I'll take lots of pictures and post them in the forum while I'm there.
No man... I ain't camping out there all by myself!
Hi Okla, No update yet. Today is the day I was supposed to walk the area with Karl. Well I've been laid up for the last few days with flu. I'm better now but still groggy. Travelled so far and saved up precious vacation time only to waste about 3 days of it sick.... I'll try to visit the area in a couple of days.
Karl did go ahead and return. He talked to the owner of the cafeteria just outside of the school. He said that as late as the 1960's, the area on both sides of the road and where the school is was pockmarked with foxholes and that whenever grass was burned down keep fields clear, bullets would sometimes explode.
He also found a Japanese war dead memorial by a hot springs resort nearby.
hey vic...sorry you began your abucay line visit with the flu, but i know you will percevere. when the going gets tough the tough get going, or so they say. since last talking to you i have reread john toland's book "but not in shame" and he notes that in the 1960s when writing the book that he viewed a world war I type trench somewhere on the abucay line. surely if foxholes can be found nowadays that something as large as a WW I type entrenchment would still be visible. toland didnt note whether this trench was in the sectors of the 45th scouts or the 31st US infantry (or philippine divisions who occupied that part of the line prior to the USAFFE counter attack). wouldnt it be great if you found what was left of a helmet or garand rifle to bring home to add to your "museum"? keep all of us statesiders up to date on your pilgrimage. i still envy you, influenza and all.
Re:... just the other evening there was a piece on the history channel about supposed ghosts at gettysburg. if this is so, why cant there be a few prowling the abucay line????it might not have been such a big affair, as those things go, but to the poor devils involved a bullet hole at abucay is just as painful or deadly as one on the fields of gettysburg. again, i say, keep up the good work. nice talking to you again.[/quote]
I find it interesting that you guys were talking about ghosts on battlefields. I was on the Corregidor Forum the other night and read a post between two guys there, who suggested to stay away from "Topside" after dark. It sounds as if there is alot of unexplained activity that takes place there. This would not be surprising, given the amount of concentrated horror and death that happened there during the siege and bombardment in 1942.