G-1 Operations – Davao Gulf Phase

(Author Note): the narrative that follows is divided into sub-paragraphs titled to correspond with the various G-1 activities and a brief discussion of the morale-supporting activities. (Doc Snafu) Note: I will try to illustrate this last part of the archive with photos of the 24th Infantry Division.

Strengths. Records and Reports

Considered under this paragraph are the G-1 Daily Summary (Strengths and casualties), the G-1 Periodic Report, Routine recurring reports, and special reports. With the division partially stabilized in the Davao Gulf, the matter of securing prompt reports on daily strengths and casualties from subordinate units developed into a routine duty. Wire and radio were well established in all major subordinate units at this time. All units normally rendered their reports as of 1600 hours daily by telephone or radio using code for security purposes. These were consolidated by G-1 clerks during the night and a completed report of totals was rendered to G-1, X Corps by radiotelephone or radiogram the following morning. The daily oral reports were confirmed in writing within 12 hours time with a detailed breakdown of strengths and casualties by units. Some difficulty was experienced in securing reports from the small attached units of company, platoon, or section size who were without communication. In cases of this nature, a G-1 clerk attempted to physically locate the unit by jeep, or, if this method failed, a contact was established at the nearby Class 1 supply point when the unit drew rations. The G-1 Periodic Report was rendered weekly to Headquarters X Corps as of 2400 hours of each Thursday for the preceding week. No special problems were involved with the preparation of this report. Statistics required for the periodic report relative to personnel strengths, casualties, awards, and decorations were kept current from day to day in the G-1 section by compilation of the daily summaries. Therefore, unit reports from subordinate headquarters were not required by G-1 as a basis for his periodic report. Any unusual circumstances or requests for inclusion in the report were usually obtained by telephone calls or through the exchange of personal staff visits between the division and lower unit staff or from the commanders themselves.

Special reports of various types were called for from time to time by either Corps or Eighth Army G-1 sections. Normally, these special reports were furnished promptly as called for due primarily to the favorable location of the division Adjutant General in the same area as the G-1. Also, unit personnel sections were within reasonable distances which facilitated the collection of data required and increased the amount of staff supervision and assistance which could be rendered by the division staff to these administrative units. Consolidation of data was accomplished expeditiously by the Adjutant General in every instance. Routine recurring reports were handled by the Adjutant General directly with the unit personnel sections. Reports in this classification included monthly personnel requisitions, personnel rosters, and detailed casualty reports. When appropriate, the Adjutant General furnished G-1 copies of consolidated reports for his Information and for General Staff circulation.

Members of the 24th Infantry Division Philippines 1945Replacements and Casual Camp

As previously mentioned in the G-1 plan, a provisional non-T/O casual camp was operated by the division under the supervision of the G-1, Cadre strength of the camp was one officer and approximately eight enlisted men serving in non-commissioned officer capacities. The personnel served in a detached service status with division headquarters from organic subordinate units. The mission of the camp was the reception and processing of casuals, hospital returnees, and replacements within its capacity, received by the division to include delivery of processed personnel to the rear echelons of their respective organizations. The capacity of the camp was approximately 200 individuals. It was therefore realized at the outset that the camp could not handle the average replacement shipments as the latter always arrived in extremely large numbers. This did not preclude its use for replacements in small increments whenever possible. However, the real value of the camp was in caring for casuals and hospital returnees until their parent organizations could be located. This was frequently a time-consuming process due to the nature of the island-hopping operations typical of Pacific warfare. Under these conditions, some units would be absent on detached missions for periods ranging from a week to two months. Casuals and hospital returnees usually arrived unannounced by ship or air from other islands in numbers ranging from 15 to 200 men at a time. Every effort was made to accommodate these individuals as comfortably as possible under the circumstances once their arrival was made known. For the Mindanao operation, the casual camp was lifted from Mindoro to the objective area with the division rear echelon shipping. Upon arrival at Talomo with the rear echelon, the camp was established at the Daliao Plantation some five miles from the command post.

Members of the 24th Infantry Division PhilippinesSome abandoned warehouses were available for this purpose. The plantation site also possessed a small wharf that accommodated amphibious craft of LSH and LCI classes which were used almost exclusively for inter-island personnel shipments in the Pacific. A truck schedule was operated to provide transportation to the camp from the nearby Libby Airstrip which was the only active air resupply strip operated by the division at this time. No particular problems were experienced in the operation of this camp other than securing grades and ratings for deserving enlisted personnel on duty with this installation.

During the Mindanao Operation, the Eighth Army provided a total of 160 officers and 4451 enlisted replacements to the 24th Infantry Division. This was a total of 66% of all replacements furnished by the X Corps during the entire campaign. To be effective, a study of the replacement strengths must be coordinated with the division casualty record for the same period of time. The total division casualties for the operation were 425 killed in action and 2003 wounded in action or a total of 2428 casualties. The total casualties of all the X Corps units including the 24th Division were 761 killed in action and 5078 wounded in action or a total of 5859. From these statistics, it can be determined that the division suffered 63% of all casualties and received 66% of all available replacements. However, it must be remembered that the division entered combat considerably understrength. Also from a review of the operation, it can be considered that the division made the main effort in the plan of attack.

American soldier with M-1 Garand rifle in the Philippine Islands 1945

Illustration

A total of 4611 replacements for the division were received in two equal shipments of approximately 2300 men each. All replacements arrived at Talomo by water from the 5th Replacement Depot, located on Leyte. Convoys of Navy LCIs were habitually utilized for transportation with each vessel accommodating 200 individuals in addition to the crew. The normal voyage from Leyte to Talomo was of three days duration during which time the replacements subsisted on 10 in 1 ration. No bathing facilities were available to the passengers during the voyage. The first group of 2300 replacements was received during the last week of May 1945, or approximately five weeks after the division assault landing at Parang. At this time the division was heavily engaged in the Mintal-Digos-Panacan Areas. All infantry battalions were approximately 400 men understrength. Replacements had been urgently needed for some time. In this respect, the G-1 had previously prepared in early May several casualty estimates for action in the immediate future. After approval of the Chief of Staff, these estimates together with the division’s depleted strength report at that time served as a basis for the preparation of several urgent radiograms to higher headquarters. The messages outlined the critical personnel situation and requested immediate assistance. All messages were dispatched under the personal signature of the Commanding General after his approval had been obtained. No official replies were received in writing to these messages although further verbal discussions followed during frequent visits on the ground by the Corps and Army commanders with the division commander.

The 8-A replacement SOPs provided that all individual records of replacements in shipments of 200 or larger would be delivered to the division separately by an air courier while the personnel embarked by ship for the three-day voyage to Mindanao. This procedure enabled the division to receive the records a full 48 hours prior to the arrival of the personnel for the purpose of effecting early assignments.

124-RCT Mindanao

Illustration

Due to the critical need for replacement riflemen, the initial group of 2300 was divided equally between the three infantry regiments based on effective strengths at that time. This, of course, had the concurrence of G-5 and the commander. Spot checks of the AGO form 20 by the G-1 indicated that the entire shipment was composed of young draftees in the age group of 18 to 25 years with only a short period of basic infantry training as their only military qualification before being shipped overseas. It was apparent that the group had been inducted from the mid-western farm states and represented an above-average physical profile and higher than the average Army AGCT scores. No more than a dozen non-commissioned officers were included in the group. No specialists were found in the records nor were any other branches of service other than infantry represented. The division Adjutant General affected the assignment of personnel after ensuring an equitable distribution of AGCT groupings was made to each of the three regiments. Assignment orders were published immediately and all personnel records were then turned over to unit personnel officers at least 18 hours before the arrival of the replacements. This enabled the lower units to proceed with their assignments to companies without delay. In most cases, the regimental orders were also published by the time the replacements arrived which aided materially in reducing confusion and delays in handling such a large influx of disorganized individuals. Upon the arrival of the convoy of eleven LCIs at Talomo at approximately 0600 hours personnel were debarked immediately on the beach in a selected coconut grove.

After a brief welcome by the C and the distribution of a mimeographed resume of the division history to each man, the actual breakdown of personnel to regiments commenced. With the aid of a loudspeaker system, the personnel was called out by name and loaded into waiting trucks for movement to the train bivouac areas of the respective regiments. Due to prior planning and organization, this group of 2300 milling replacements was off the beach and en route to regiments within four hours after stepping down the LCI ramps. This permitted the receiving units a full seven hours of daylight to complete their processing, feeding, and distribution to companies prior to dark. This reception plan was initiated and supervised by the G-1 Section due to a reluctance on the part of the Adjutant General to take positive and thorough action in the situation beyond the initial breakdown phase and publication of assignment orders. The second group of 2300 replacements was received the last week in June approximately 30 days after the initial replacement shipment. At this time the division was at the point of completing the decisive defeat of the Jap in the Tamogan-Kibangay Area with the coordinated attack of three regiments. One RCT plus one infantry battalion of the 41st Infantry Division had previously been attached to the division to bolster its depleted strength.

While the infantry regiments were still understrength due to heavy casualties during the previous 30 days other divisional units were also experiencing a critical strength situation. This included the Artillery, the Engineers, and the Medical Battalion. For reasons unknown, the 8-A failed to direct the replacement depot to ship the personnel records of the second group in advance by air as was provided in their SOP. Instead, the records accompanied the troops aboard the ship. No prior notice of the ETA of this shipment was received until 30 minutes before the LCI convoy approached the Talomo Anchorage. At that time a delayed radiogram from the replacement depot was received announcing the ETA of the convoy. As the convoy arrived in the late afternoon it was decided that person would not debark until the following morning, as no facilities existed ashore for a group of this size. In this interim period of 16 hours, the G-1 prepared the debarkation and assignment plan while the Adjutant General classified the personnel. This shipment proved to be a well-mixed group of all ages and varying experiences; both civilian and military. The group consisted of all Infantry except a group of approximately 500 horse cavalrymen which represented the remnants of the Cavalry School cadre from Fort Riley (Kansas). Within the cavalry group were considerable numbers of specialists including horseshoers, harness makers, and saddle makers, however, there was no need for these skills within the division. An inspection of the records by G-1 indicated that the group was representative of the southern and southeastern USA. Physical profiles were average or below and the distribution of AGCT scores was relatively low in comparison with the first shipment. A liberal scattering of non-commissioned officers was included in this group.

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