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Official documents reveal members of the 24th PG fought the enemy as Infantrymen

Discussion in '24th PG - Philippines' started by Robersabel, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. Robersabel

    Robersabel New Member

    Official documents reveal members of the 24th PG fought the enemy as Infantrymen.

    “Like all chronologies, bibliographies, and encyclopedias, Air Force Combat Units of World War II serves a very special historical function.

    It traces the lineage of each Army Air Corps and U.S. Air Force combat group or higher organization active in World War 11, from its origins to 1956.

    It is a concise official record of those units: their assignments, subordinate organizations, stations, commanders, campaigns, aircraft, and decorations. But it is more than that.

    As an important source of ready information, this volume not only serves as a reference tool for historians and researchers; but it also provides commanders with a corporate memory of vital statistics. With these facts, a unit documents its heritage, the basis for unit esprit de corps.

    Originally this volume had been printed in 1961. Its worth has been proven, and the demand for it has been great. With this reprint, it will continue to serve the United States Air Force in all quarters in years to come.

    Richard H. Kohn

    Chief, Office of Air Force History

    United States Air Force Historical Advisory Committee

    (As of September 1, 1983)

    Lt. Gen. Charles G. Cleveland,

    USAF Brig. Gen., USAF, Retired

    Commander, Air University,

    Dr. Alfred F. Hurley

    North Texas State University

    Mr. DeWitt S. Copp

    The National Volunteer Agency

    Dr. Philip A. Crow1

    Annapolis, Maryland

    Dr. Warren W. Hassler, Jr.

    Pennsylvania State University

    Brig. Gen. Harris B. Hull, USAF, Retired

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration

    Mr. David E. Place

    The General Counsel, USAF

    Gen. Bryce Poe II, USAF, Retired

    Alexandria, Virginia

    Lt. Gen. Winfield W. Scott, Jr.

    Superintendent, USAF Academy

    Dr. David A. Shannon (Chairman)

    University of Virginia


    Constituted as 24th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 16 Aug 1941. Activated in the Philippine Islands on 1 Oct 1941. Augmented by two attached squadrons (21st and 34th) and equipped with P-35 and P-40 aircraft, this group comprised the entire pursuit force in the Philippines in Dec 1941.

    When enemy aircraft were reported to be approaching Luzon on the morning of 8 Dec (7 Dec in the US), the 24th group attempted to intercept but failed because radar and visual sighting facilities were inadequate. Later that day, after the group’s planes either had landed for refueling or had run so low on fuel that they could not fight, the Japanese attacked and inflicted heavy losses on the organization.

    In the days that followed, the group’s strength declined rapidly, but the 24th flew some patrol and reconnaissance missions, engaged the enemy in the air, and attacked enemy airfields and shipping. By late in Dec the ground personnel were absorbed by infantry units and some pilots were evacuated to Australia.

    One of these pilots was Lt Boyd D “Buzz” Wagner, who already had become the first AAF ace of World War 11. The remaining pilots continued operations in the Philippines with the few planes that were left. Eventually all of the men, except the few who had gone to Australia, were either killed or captured by the enemy. Although not remanned, the group was carried on the list of active organizations until after the war.

    Iizactivated on 2 Apr 1946.

    SQUADRONS : 1941-1946. 17th: 1941-

    STATIONS: Clark Field, Luzon, I Oct 1941; Mariveles, Luzon, c. I Jan-May 1942.

    COMMANDERS: Co l. Orrin L Grover, 1 Oct 1941 - Apr 1942.

    CAMPAIGNS: Philippine Islands.

    DECORATIONS: Distinguished Unit Citations:

     Philippines, 7 Dec 1941-10 May 1942;

     Philippines, 8-22 Dec 1941 ;

     Philippines, 6 Jan-8 Mar 1942.

     Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. 1941-1946.

    INSIGNE. None. “

    “In an attempt to outflank I Corps and isolate the Service Command Area commanded by USAFFE Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Allan C. McBride, Japanese troops of the 2nd Battalion, 20th Infantry, 16th Division, were landed on the west coast of southern Bataan on the night of January 22. Intercepted by U.S. PT boat PT-34, two barges were sunk and the rest scattered into two groups, neither of which landed on the objective beach. The Japanese forces were contained on their beachheads by members of Philippine Constabulary units, a hastily organized naval infantry battalion, and by personnel of several U.S. Army Air Corps pursuit squadrons fighting as infantry.

    The naval infantry consisted of 150 ground crewmen from Patrol Wing Ten, 80 sailors from the Cavite Naval Ammunition Depot, and 130 sailors from USS Canopus (AS-9) with 120 sailors from the base facilities at Cavite, Olongapo, and Mariveles, and 120 Marines from an antiaircraft battery. Sailors used Canopus machine shop to fabricate makeshift mountings for machine guns salvaged from Patrol Wing Ten's damaged aircraft. The Marines were distributed through the ranks and the sailors were told to "watch them and do as they do." The sailors attempted to make their white uniforms more suitable for jungle combat by dying them with coffee grounds. The result was closer to yellow than khaki, and the diary of a dead Japanese officer described them as a suicide squad dressed in brightly colored uniforms and talking loudly in an attempt to draw our fire and reveal our positions. [2]

    Japanese commanders, in an attempt to hold onto their lodgments, reinforced the beachheads piecemeal but could not break out. Battles were fought ferociously against a company-sized group at the Lapay-Longoskawayan points from 23 to 29 January, at the Quinawan-Aglaloma points from January 22 to February 8, and at the Silalim-Anyasan points from January 27 to February 13. Out of the 2,000 Japanese troops committed to these battles, only 43 wounded returned to their lines. These engagements were collectively termed the "Battle of the Points".

    The 14th Army renewed its attacks on 23 January with an attempted amphibious landing behind the lines by a battalion of the 16th Division, then with general attacks beginning 27 January along the battle line. The amphibious landing was disrupted by a PT boat and contained in brutally dense jungle by ad hoc units made up of U.S. Army Air Corps troops, naval personnel, and Philippine Constabulary. The pocket was then slowly forced back to the cliffs, with high casualties on both sides. Landings to reinforce the surviving pocket on 26 January and 2 February were severely disrupted by air attacks from the few remaining FEAF P-40s, then trapped and eventually annihilated on 13 February.

    A penetration in the I Corps line was stopped and broken up into several pockets. General Homma on 8 February ordered the suspension of offensive operations in order to reorganize his forces. This could not be carried out immediately, because the 16th Division remained engaged trying to extricate a pocketed battalion of its 20th Infantry. With further losses, the remnants of the battalion, 378 officers and men, were extricated on 15 February. On 22 February, the 14th Army line withdrew a few miles to the north and USAFFE forces re-occupied the abandoned positions. The result of the "Battle of the Points" and "Battle of the Pockets" was total destruction of all three battalions of the Japanese 20th Infantry and a clear USAFFE victory.

    24th Pursuit Group (Headquarters, Clark Field) total. HQ Squadron ABMC lists 112 dead.

    The document below reveals the USAR followed applicable guidelines including War Department Circulars 269 and 105, the only two (2) that pertain to the campaign that occurred from 7 December 1941 to 10 May 1942.

    Included in the list are the 21st and 34th Pursuit Squadrons.

    Airmen Authorized CIB.jpg
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  2. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    Here is another source that may be useful even if it appears off topic at first blush but you are researching non-infantry units that ended up fighting with the infantry. The series US Army in WWII includes a volume titled the Fall of the Philippines. I have the hard copy but it is available to download as a PDF at the Army History web site.

    first link: http://www.history.army.mil/html/bookshelves/collect/usaww2.html click on The War in the Pacific
    second link: http://www.history.army.mil/html/bookshelves/collect/ww2-ap.html click on The Fall of the Philippines
    last link, download the PDF: http://www.history.army.mil/html/books/005/5-2-1/index.html

    Yes, you could skip directly to the last link but I thought you might like to see what else they offer.
    25Kingman49 likes this.
  3. terveurn

    terveurn Active Member

    It was pretty common knowledge that most of the ground pounders of both the Bomb Groups as well as the Fighter Groups were left behind to fight as infantrymen after being abandoned by FDR and MacArthur.

    Very few pilot were abandoned in the fall of the Philippines, but the loss of experience mechanics seriously hurt these groups.

    You also have the same problem in the Fall / Winter of 1944 when there was a shortage of infantrymen in the ETO and the 8th and 9th AF was ordered to provide warm bodies to be gang pressed into fighting on the front lines.
    Bomber Command likes this.
  4. Robersabel

    Robersabel New Member

    Lucky Partners,

    Appreciate the sites which offer official descriptions of the battles involving numerous units including AAF personnel who fought as infantrymen against the enemy.

    Is it possible the site may identify the 19th Bombardment Group Philippine Islands?
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  5. Lucky Partners

    Lucky Partners Well-Known Member

    The index of the book The Fall of the Philippines lists 5 references to the 19th BG. Pages 38, 42, 50, 156, and 239. Check the index under Groups. Given that the references are for single pages there probably isn't too much detail but still worth downloading and checking.
  6. Airwar

    Airwar Well-Known Member


    Attached Files:

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