G Company 163 Infantry Assaults Ibdi Pocket
By Hargis Westerfield, Division Historian, G-163

             In gray dawn [of June 26, 1944] on the jungle-shrouded coral ridges, platoon leaders roused us from damp little pigpens of coral where we tried to sleep after being soaked on guard.  "Get up! We're going to make a push", they said.  Shivering, we checked our rifles and grenades.  Our squad even managed to gulp hot coffee before we got into line.

            Then the three under-strength, malarious platoons of G Company moved out to attack, hollow-eyed Yanks under rusted helmets, in jungle-damp green fatigues.  The push was foredoomed.  It must be made against an unbroken enemy.  It must be made up the coral ridges of Ibdi Pocket, a crazy tangle of knife-edged precipices where unburyable dead rotted already and Japs had laid lines for interlocking fire.

            The 2nd Platoon led the main attack. Deep in a green hell, young Pvt Robert C. Holmes of Louisiana spotted a pillbox and rose to his knees to signal the location.  One burst killed him.  Momentarily berserk, Chris Wilson the squad-leader rushed the pillbox and drove out the gun-crew, and the ridge was cleared in a melee of shooting.

            Then the 1st Platoon took over the advance.  Huckaby got five machine-gun bullets in his legs and never fought again.  Then a barrage of knee-mortars blasted us, and Cpl Cayetano R. Porras and Pfc Floyd O. Tholund died.  While picketing the withdrawal, Pvt Samuel G. Cappuccino died from a sniper.

            My 3rd Platoon made an isolated attack up a ridge where an ambush had stopped us on June 19.  Pfc Adelaido Martinez attacked a tall pillbox with his grenade launcher.  Machine guns cut him down, and we could not bring out his body.  In a second attempt, Wilhelmi was crippled by a fall and never fought again.

            With Vilicich battling an enemy automatic weapon with his BAR, Beanne and I had cover enough to grenade a pill-box easier than the one that had killed Martinez.

            Then orders came to G Company to withdraw to our position oof the morning, and we crouched again in our holes with mouldy "K" rations, and remembered our buddies.  At twilight, a sniper killed Hardesty on guard by a machine gun.  We remained on those ridges of Ibdi Pocket until ordered down on July 4; but it was not until July 22 that the Third Battalion's companies followed a heavy barrage into Ibdi Pocket and encountered almost no opposition.

            By June 28, E Company 163 was down to 42 effectives, and G Company down to 65. 

 

Credit:  RR Smith's The Approach to the Philippines, p 388.  The Division History stated that G Company had only to "block and hold".  G Company attacked and did not withdraw to its former position until so ordered, and paid the price.