Operations of the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Parachute Infantry Regimental Combat Team
Recapture of Corregidor Island
February 16 1945 – February 23 1945
Personal Observation of a Parachute Rifle Platoon Leader
1st Lt Edward T. Flash
About the Regiment
The 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment was one of the 4 original Billy Ryder’s Test Platoon Parachute Regiments trained, created and assembled in Fort Benning, Georgia. The 503rd, made of from the split of both Regiments, the 503rd and the 504th. Men and Officers assembled under the 503rd Guidon generated a full size regiment which was activated on February 24 1942 under the command of Brig Gen William M. Miley and Lt Col Edson D. Raff as Executive Officer.
The 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment’s first operation was an unopposed landing at Nadzab, in the Markham Valley, New Guinea, on September 5 1943. Although the landings were unopposed, the troops were later attacked by enemy bombers. The 503rd’s deployment helped force the Japanese evacuation of a major military outpost at Lae. During their overland withdrawal, the third battalion of the 503rd had a major skirmish with the Japanese rear guard. On July 3/4 1944, 1st Battalion and 3rd Battalion of the 503rd were delivered by parachute to Kamiri Airfield on the island of Noemfoor off the coast of Dutch New Guinea, sustaining significant casualties from the jump. To reduce further casualties, 2nd Battalion was delivered amphibiously. At the Battle of Noemfoor, the 503rd played a major role in the elimination of the Japanese garrison on that island.
Orientation & Introduction
This monograph covers the operations of the 5307 Composite Unit (Provisional) on its first mission, the attack on Walawbum, Burma, March 2-7 1944. To orient the reader, it is necessary to briefly review the major events which led up to this action. In Jan 1942, after overrunning nearly all of southeast Asia, the Japanese struck at Burma. In rapid succession, the Japanese took the city of Moulmein, the port of Rangoon, the rail heads of Mandalay, and Myitkyina and the Burma Road. The enemy’s rapid advance and numerical superiority proved too great for the Allies and all resistance crumbled. A general withdrawal was effected and the Allies retreated west into India and northeast into China. By midsummer of 1943 the Japanese had consolidated their gains and were in complete control of all but a small wedge of territory in northwest Burma. This now placed the enemy in the singular position of threatening the exposed eastern border of India as well as cutting the Chinese land supply routes. All attempts by the Allies to alter this situation had been unsuccessful.
On December 16 1944 : Should the German cracks the defenses in the North Shoulder, their forces would be able to surround the 101st Airborne Division and attached units in the Southern Shoulder (Bastogne area), eliminates the US Troops in the Center Shoulder but also cuts the Main Supply Road (Manay – Vielsalm). This would stop not only the US 1st Army but the entire Bradley’s 12th Army Group in the Belgian Ardennes !
1 – The Facts
Reported on the actual map (bellow), the Northern Shoulder of the Allies break true Germany forces at the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge (December 16 1944) can be drawn in the following way :
a. the center axis located at the Losheimer Gap
b. the extreme North flank located in Mutzenich – Imgenbroich – Monschau
c. the extreme South, the Luxemburger border at Ouren
2 – North Shoulder – Allied (mainly US)
Allied Side from North to South
– Höfen, Germany, 99th Infantry Division
– Mutzenich, Germany, 9th Infantry Division
– Monschau, Germany, 9th Infantry Division
– Kuchelscheid, Germany, 2nd Infantry Division
– Wallerscheid, Germany, 2nd Infantry Division
– Krinkelt-Rocherath, Belgium, 99th Infantry Division
– Losheim, Germany, 99th Infantry Division
– Lanzerath, Belgium, 99th Infantry Division
– Manderfeld, Belgium, 106th Infantry Division
– Andler, Belgium, 14th Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mez)
– Auw, Belgium, 106th Infantry Division
– St Vith, Belgium, 106th Infantry Division + 1 CC (9-AD)
– Ouren, Belgium, 28th Infantry Division
(note : Services Units and Attached Units not included)