On February 23, 1945, a joint task force consisting of American paratroopers and Filipino guerrillas launch a raid on the Japanese internment camp in Los Baños, Philippines. The raid consisted of four phases. The first phase saw the infiltration of the 11th Airborne's Provisional Reconnaissance Platoon and a force of approximately 20 Filipino guides behind enemy lines some two days prior to the raid. On the morning of the 23rd, this force would be tasked with eliminating the camp's gate guards, marking drop zones and landing zones for the paratroopers. At the same time, the 45th Hunter Regiment (part of the Filipino guerrilla force) would surround the rest of the camp. Phase two entailed B Company of the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment's 1st Battalion conducting a parachute drop next to the camp and eliminating the remaining guards and securing the internees. Phase three saw the remainder of 1st Battalion utilizing 54 LVT(4) amphibious vehicles to evacuated the internees to the extraction point. Phase 4 involved the majority of the 188th Glider Infantry Regiment along with elements of the 637th Tank Destroyer Battalion and the 472nd and 675th Field Artillery Battalions acting as a diversion and engaging the Japanese 8th Division in order to cover the raid at Los Baños.
The raid was an overwhelming success with camp's internees successfully rescued and the Japanese garrison eliminated with minimal casualties among the American and Filipino forces. Among the 2,147 people liberated from the camp were a three-day-old baby girl as well as Frank Buckles, a World War One veteran who had been working as a civilian in the shipping industry in the Philippines at the time of the Japanese invasion. He would later be the last surviving American veteran of WWI.
Unfortunately, the raid was not without severe consequences. While many of the Filipino residents of the town of Los Baños followed the warning provided by the guerrillas and fled, many chose to remain. A few days later, the Japanese returned to Los Baños and, seeing the internment camp empty, turned their wrath upon the local population. Some 1,500 men, women, and children in Los Baños and surrounding villages were massacred by the Japanese and their homes burned in reprisal. The leader of the Japanese force responsible, Lt. Sadaaki Konishi, was tried for war crimes and hanged at the end of the war.
, this day in history
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12 months ago
23 Feb 2018 16:36 CET
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