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Abucay Hacienda, Bataan (Read 26886 times)
victor
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Abucay Hacienda, Bataan
Feb 21st, 2009, 10:23pm
 
Did a WW2 battlefield visit in Abucay, Bataan, in what was called Abucay Hacienda back then.

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Here's a little background info:

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.

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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.

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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-ordinat
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victor
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Re: Abucay Hacienda, Bataan
Reply #1 - Feb 21st, 2009, 10:23pm
 
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 I came up with:

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31st Infantry counterattack/advance:
 
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Re: Abucay Hacienda, Bataan
Reply #2 - Feb 21st, 2009, 10:25pm
 
This is the area that we visited. The place is big and we were there from 9:30 in the morning till about 4pm. We spent the morning checking out the general area where the second battalion 31st Infantry advanced through and defended. In the afternoon we looked at the area northwest of the college close to the Balantay river. This is the 1st Battalion 31st Infantry and the 3rd battalion 45th Infantry Philippine Scouts' area of defense.

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Pictures from the east-southeast area
     

     

Second battalion moved through this area
 

Looking south; the 31st infantry would have advanced coming from this direction towards you looking at the photo


The college can be seen from the east, looking west
   

A century old mango tree that would have been witness to the battle
   

The folks who showed us around their property which the second battalion 31st Infantry fought through


The spot between a tree's roots where he found two grenades. He threw them into the creek at the bottom of the ravine.


Other relics they showed us
 

Mortar shell fuses?
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victor
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Re: Abucay Hacienda, Bataan
Reply #3 - Feb 21st, 2009, 10:25pm
 
This is an old foxhole that they planted on. This one overlooks the ravine


Another one


Pointing to a foxhole or where he found relics... can't remember


The smaller ravine... probably the first one that the 31st infantry ran into
     

A carabao wallowing in the small creek at the bottom of the ravine; Be careful carabao... there are lots of grenades thrown away into that creek.
 

Opposite side of the ravine


Heading toward the second and bigger ravine parallel to the smaller one


However this spot in the ravine may not have been the area that the second battalion crossed
 

Ravine overlooking the Balantay river. This one is northwest of the college in the vicinity of the 3rd Battalion, 45th Infantry PS... or could have been in the 31st Infantry's 1st battalion area
     

An overgrown depression on the ground, don't know if it was an old foxhole but sure had a good field of fire overlooking sloping ground


More info:

The local who showed us around his property have found shells, grenades within his property. He usually gets rid of them by throwing them into the bottom of the ravine into the creek. The last one he found was a clip of garand ammo which he also threw down the creek. I asked him if he usually finds them when digging, he said no. It's usually plainly on the ground but overgrown and it's just a matter of chancing upon them. He also found a sword which he kept in his house in town.

A local woman said when they were growing up and about 12 years old, they'd find bayonets and grenades around. They get rid of them but kept the aluminum canteens to this day for whatever use they have for them. She also said that the area across from the Letran college, there were lots more relics and even bones and skulls.
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Re: Abucay Hacienda, Bataan
Reply #4 - Feb 21st, 2009, 10:26pm
 
The entrance to Bataan at Dinalupihan. Has a death march marker and the monument to the defenders who mistakenly depicted with what look like Japanese helmets


Heading south into Bataan
 

Heading up the Abucay Hacienda road


Halfway up the Abucay Hacienda road... is the Sibul Springs resort being renovated. This is where Karl and George discovered the Japanese shrine to their war dead.
     

My battlefield exploring buddies, Karl on left and George on right


Me posing with the relics and wearing my 1917A1 as a fun prop


Heading back to Manila, going south on the North Luzon Expressway
 

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victor
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Re: Abucay Hacienda, Bataan
Reply #5 - Feb 21st, 2009, 10:27pm
 
Here's a little tribute video I shot and edited.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sSxYk0EHBw
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ithascome
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Re: Abucay Hacienda, Bataan
Reply #6 - Feb 22nd, 2009, 5:56pm
 
Wonderful work Victor.   I wish I could see the Philippines some day.  I can see why my Dad loved it so much.
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Re: Abucay Hacienda, Bataan
Reply #7 - Feb 23rd, 2009, 4:45pm
 
Thank you Victor:

It's wonderful to see the locations that my great uncle fought at.  You do good work, keep it up.

Peter Olsen
West Richland, WA USA
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Re: Abucay Hacienda, Bataan
Reply #8 - Feb 7th, 2010, 8:30pm
 
pls compare your googlemap to our record.your balantay river site is actually labangan river.balantay river is located southeast of letran college.baka kaya sa parte ng salian ang location na tinutukoy mo base sa old map nyo.
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abucay_map3.JPG
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Re: Abucay Hacienda, Bataan
Reply #9 - Feb 8th, 2010, 12:23pm
 
Possibly... I'm just going by this map, and the satellite image matches the Balantay River in the map (where it merges into the Calaguiman river).  

Do you have a higher res version of your map for better comparison?



Old timers from the area including the owner of the cafeteria across the road from Letran said that whole area of the school and cafeteria was littered with foxholes and relics back in the 60's.

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Re: Abucay Hacienda, Bataan
Reply #10 - Feb 9th, 2010, 2:01am
 
I do have higher resolution raster map of
abucay but I don’t know how to insert it.Allowable jpeg is only 250 kb.
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Re: Abucay Hacienda, Bataan
Reply #11 - Feb 9th, 2010, 9:42am
 
Hi Ed,
I sent you a forum PM.

It's entirely possible that the river was mislabeled in history books. It happens. For example in Guadalcanal... what was known as the battle of Tenaru River was actually the Ilu River... it was just mislabeled in military maps. --victor
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Re: Abucay Hacienda, Bataan
Reply #12 - Feb 10th, 2010, 9:13pm
 
Hi victor

Youre right. balantay river was just mislabeled.I look in some other map like NAMRIA map and I found out that  your location of balantay river is similar from them. By the way our map here in Provincial Assessor was traced from blue printed cadastral map (CM) of Bureau of lands. These CMs were originally approved way back 1921 and reconstructed 1946.
Being a Bataeños, i feel glad when i read something historical about our province.So, thanks for sharing your research and wonderful work.Hope to see more works from you.
p.s.Pls check your email, i already sent high res abucay map
for comparison.
Ed
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Re: Abucay Hacienda, Bataan
Reply #13 - Feb 12th, 2010, 6:34am
 
Here's a version of the map you sent me.

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