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The Intrepid Guerrillas of North Luzon

The Intrepid Guerrillas of North Luzon

Bernard Norling
Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    The Intrepid Guerrillas of North Luzon
    Book Description:

    " Following the Japanese invasion of the islands in 1942, North Luzon was the staging area for several Filipino-American guerrilla bands who sought to gather intelligence and to destroy enemy military installations or supplies. Bernard Norling focuses on the Cagayan-Apayao Forces, or CAF, commanded by Maj. Ralph Praeger. Their bravery was unquestionable, but by September 1943 all but one member of Troop C had been claimed by combat, enemy capture, or disease. The only survivor, Capt. Thomas S. Jones, remembered, ""Defeat is a terrible thing.... It brings down with it the whole structure about which a nation or an army has been built. It subjects men to the most severe of moral tests at a time when they are physically least able to meet them."" Based primarily upon unpublished sources, The Intrepid Guerrillas of North Luzon includes the diary of Praeger's executive officer, Jones, and draws on transcripts of radio communications between Praeger and General MacArthur's headquarters in Australia. The struggles of the men of the CAF tell a harrowing tale of valor, determination, and occasional successes mixed with the wildcat schemes, rivalries, mistrust, and betrayals that characterized the intramural relations of guerrilla forces all over the Pacific islands.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-2759-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. ii-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. 1 The Guerrilla War Begins
    (pp. 1-18)

    On December 8, 1941, Walter Cushing, the American manager of a gold mine in the mountains of the northern Philippine island of Luzon, heard that the Japanese had launched surprise attacks on U.S. installations at Clark Field, Iba Field, and several other places on the island. Always a volatile man, Cushing was both enraged and outraged. Within two days he began to organize a private army and to make plans to attack the enemy. About a month later he sent for two hundred of his assorted followers, then being given rudimentary military training by a footloose American army officer in...

  6. 2 The Philippines in 1941
    (pp. 19-42)

    Of all the guerrilla organizations that operated in the far north of Luzon, the one that lasted longest was Troop C, 26th Cavalry—which was subsequently expanded and renamed the Cagayan-Apayao Forces (CAF). The CAF did not become a true guerrilla force as early as did the irregular bands of either Walter Cushing or Roque Ablan, but its achievements were more impressive. Most of this narrative is devoted to it. To render its deeds and its eventual failure more understandable, something should be said of the state of the Philippines in 1941, of American unpreparedness for war in the Pacific,...

  7. 3 The Road to Tuguegarao
    (pp. 43-62)

    Since both Praeger and many of his men were apprehensive about living among Philippine mountain tribes—or even passing through regions populated by these reputed headhunters—something should be said about the dozens of different peoples who lived in the Philippines. Over the whole archipelago they fell into three major groups. The largest, the Christians (overwhelmingly Catholic), comprised about nine-tenths of the population in the 1940s. The Moros, concentrated in southern Mindanao and the Sulu Islands, were Moslems and constituted about 4 percent. Their civilization and culture stems directly from mainland Asia and sets them off from other Filipinos as...

  8. 4 The Road to Kabugao
    (pp. 63-82)

    Perhaps it was euphoria resulting from the raid on Tuguegarao that gave rise to a myth that has persisted for decades: that Praeger’s forces repeated the raid at the port city of Aparri eleven days later, then withdrew to Tuao, destroying all the bridges and culverts along Highway 5 from Aparri to Tuguegarao and along Highway 3 from Aparri to Langangan.¹ Captain Jones insists that there was no comparable operation at Aparri at all. What happened was thatsomebody,possibly from Frank Camp’s patrol, shot at a Japanese plane near Aparri and that the plane crashed. The whole nonevent is...

  9. 5 The Tribulations of Colonel Horan and Associates
    (pp. 83-100)

    On December 24, 1941, Col. John Horan had received an order from USAFFE to save his command. Early in January he notified General MacArthur that he was unable to join the main body of USAFFE, then in central Luzon. Since many of his units had already broken up, he simply ordered all of them disbanded. On January 16 he hiked north to the Suyoc and Lepanto mines “to get as far away from the enemy as possible.”¹ Here the miners, isolated in the mountains, without hope of receiving help anytime soon, and with nothing to do, persuaded Horan to radio...

  10. 6 The Troubles Worsen
    (pp. 101-116)

    With the capture of Walter Cushing and Colonel Nakar in September 1942, the fortunes of the guerrillas of North Luzon began a general decline. Nakar was replaced as C.O. of the 14th Infantry by Maj. Manuel P. Enriquez. Nine months before, when Colonel Horan’s entourage straggled into Aritao after crossing the Cordillera, one of the first people they met had been Enriquez. Handsome, smartly dressed, and energetic, he had impressed Capt. Thomas Jones quite favorably.¹ Enriquez announced that he was going to become a guerrilla, and told them he had already put soldiers to work trying to salvage arms and...

  11. 7 Interlude at Kabugao: Summer 1942
    (pp. 117-144)

    On May 5, 1942, Troop C made its last radio contact with Corregidor. The Rock fell the next day. On May 14, Colonel Horan submitted to Wainwright’s orders and surrendered himself and his staff at Lubuagan. He bestowed command of the 121st Infantry on Capt. Walter Cushing, who at once dispersed the regiment into small groups with orders not to engage in further combat.

    For a short time both sides seemed carried along by sheer momentum, only to slide to a general stop that lasted for a few months. In the mountains of northern Luzon, the Japanese suspended tactical operations...

  12. 8 Serious War Returns: Defeats and Losses Accumulate
    (pp. 145-162)

    About the middle of August the Japanese abruptly announced that they intended to wipe out all guerrillas in the vicinity of Tuao. Suiting deed to word, they dispatched a force to move westward from Tuguegarao through Solana toward Tuao. In addition to the usual assortment of rifles and grenades, the Japanese also hauled several field pieces with ample ammunition. Captain Praeger decided not to await the enemy’s advance but to attack him as soon as possible in hope of capturing ammunition to supplement the CAF’s depleted supply.

    Because time was short, Praeger decided not to attempt an ambush along the...

  13. 9 Civil Government in Cagayan-Apayao: Late 1942
    (pp. 163-174)

    With a heavy heart, Captain Jones cleaned up, put on a fresh uniform, and called on Governor and Mrs. Adduru to pay his respects and report on his trip to Abra. Besides the military subjects to be discussed, there were pressing civil matters as well. Due to the transfer of the Cagayan government headquarters to Kabugao, the town’s population had almost doubled in the past three months. Now, just after the typhoon and at the height of the rainy season, feeding all these extra people had become a grave problem. Several cargo boats laden with supplies had started from the...

  14. 10 The Disastrous Enterprises of Lieutenant Colonels Moses and Noble
    (pp. 175-188)

    “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” That ancient adage may be trite and musty, but that does not lessen its truth. The eventual destruction of most of the guerrilla forces in North Luzon followed hard upon the decision of two American officers to strike heavy blows at the Japanese occupation forces in that area. Lieutenant Colonels Martin Moses and Arthur Noble had been with the Philippine army’s 11th Infantry in La Union Province when the Japanese landed in the Lingayen Gulf in December 1941. Their troops, who had been in training for only ten days, gave way...

  15. 11 The Clouds Gather: Spring 1943
    (pp. 189-208)

    On February 6, 1943, Lieutenant Colonels Martin Moses and Arthur Noble arrived in Kabugao accompanied by twelve men. Dressed in shorts and wearing civilian felt hats and patched shirts, they attempted to keep their identities secret by calling themselves “Sergeant Smith” and “Sergeant Brown.” The effort was not a success. Every native in northern Luzon knew exactly who they were, as did even the Belgian missionary priest in Kabugao. He recognized their West Point class rings and remarked dryly that he thought graduates of the U.S. Military Academy were given commissions.

    The two colonels had been on the run ever...

  16. 12 The Curtain Comes Down
    (pp. 209-228)

    As Captain Jones remembered it years afterward, the month of June 1943 around his camp near Tuyangan in northwest Apayao was superficially quiet and not unhappy. The food was better than it had been in recent months, and everyone regained some strength. Even better, the everlasting rain finally stopped. Just to see and feel the sun again buoyed up the spirits of many. Corporal Heuser continued to read his Bible, and Lee faithfully studied English. Jones himself alternately read his Greek texts and the intelligence reports of the western Apayao-Abra-Ilocos Norte sector. Major Praeger managed to get his transmitter working...

  17. Epilogue
    (pp. 229-242)

    With the capture of Major Praeger and Captain Jones, the CAF disintegrated. Lieutenant Tomas Quiocho, who happened to be in the lowlands at that time, subsequently returned and assumed command of a few of its remnants. Governor Adduru, who had been seized several months earlier, was released by the Japanese at Bongabong in Nueva Ecija Province in October 1943. Soon after, he reorganized other CAF survivors and commanded them but never undertook any action. He was recaptured on July 5, 1944, but managed to escape on May 9, 1945. In the interim practically all the remaining CAF personnel joined Col....

  18. Notes
    (pp. 243-268)
  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 269-274)
  20. Index
    (pp. 275-285)