ZAMBOANGA

                                 

                                         

                                HEADQUARTERS
                     295TH JOINT ASSAULT SIGNAL COMPANY 
                                    APO 717

                                                                     4 August 1945

 

                     HISTORICAL REPORT OF THE 295TH JOINT
       ASSAULT SIGNAL COMPANY FOR THE V4 - ZAMBOANGA - OPERATION

                                   SECTION I

                                    Background

        1. The plan called for an amphibious landing by the 41st Infantry Division on the shores of
Zamboanga, Mindanao, Philippine Islands. Elements of the 295th Joint Assault Signal Company were
attached to the 41st Infantry Division to furnish necessary Shore Fire Control and Air Ground Liaison
Communication. Attachment orders per Authority, Commanding General, Eight Army, dated 23 February
1945.

        2. Zamboanga had been in the hands of the Japanese for approximately three years and the landing
on the shore was lightly opposed by mortar and artillery located on the high ground some distance from
the beach.

                                   SECTION II 

                                    Operations

        1. It was decided that the following elements of the 295th Joint Assault Signal Company be
furnished:

            a. With the 41st Infantry Division Headquarters.

                One (1) Naval Liaison Team consisting of one (1) Liaison Officer and five (5) enlisted Men.

            b. With the 162nd and 163rd Regimental Combat Teams Headquarters.

                One (1) Naval Liaison Team consisting of one (1) Liaison Officer and five (5) enlisted
                  men. One (1) Air Liaison Party consisting of one (1) officer and five (5) enlisted men.

                One (1) Air Liaison Party consisting of one (1) officer and five (5) enlisted men

            c. With each assualt battalion of the 162nd and 163rd Regimental Combat Teams less 2nd
                  Bn, 163rd.

                One (1) Shore Fire Control Party consisting of one (1) Liaison Officer, one (1) Artillery
                  Spotter, one (1) Signal Corps Officer as student observer for artillery spotting, and ten
                  (10) enlisted men. One (1) Air Liaison Party consisting of one (1) officer and five (5)
                  enlisted men..

             d. With the 2nd Bn of the 163rd Regimental Combat Team

                 One (1) Shore Fire Control Party consisting of one (1) Liaison Officer, one (1) Artillery
                   Spotter, and ten (10) enlisted men. One (1) Air Liaison Party consisting of one (1)
                   officer, and five (5) enlisted men.

        e. With the reserve battalions of the 162nd and 163rd Regimental Combat Teams.

                 One (1) Air Liaison Party consisting of one (1) officer, and five (5) enlisted men.

        2. The elements joined their respective headquarters prior to embarkation. Jasco personnel were
instructed by team officer in SOI, Field Orders, and General Orientations.

        3. All teams with the exception of the Division Naval Liaison Team landed on the enemy held shore
several minutes after H-hour and advanced inland rapidly against light opposition although there was
considerable artillery and mortar fire falling from enemy positions on the high ground inland. With
exception of Division Naval Liaison Officer station, all Naval Gunfire communications were quickly
established and Naval Gunfire commenced against enemy batteries on the left and center of the Division
Sector. Division Naval Liaison Officer, aboard LCI with elements of Division Artillery, was delayed in
landing until H plus 150 minutes by intense artillery and mortar fire falling on and in front of landing
beaches. All Naval Gunfire Communications were in by H plus three hours. The gunfire was being
employed very effectively against enemy batteries and OP's on the left and enemy personnel on the right.
On the right flank, the advance of the 1st Battalion, 163rd Infantry was greatly expedited by the
employment of a floating O.P. (LVT) requested by the Naval Gunfire Spotter, as his observation ashore
was seriously hampered by dense growth and special terrain features. Considerable air-spot was used in
all sectors upon request of Shore Fire Control Parties and proved highly effective.

            Shore Fire Control Parties were released and recalled to their respective Regimental CPs by D +
4, at which time the main fire support group was released from the area. Fire support ship from the
screening force remained available in case of emergency (especially for night illumination). Arrangements
were made by Division Naval Liaison Officer with Division Artillery S-3 for emergency call fires through
Artillery F.O's. No such fires were called however.

            On D plus 6, one Shore Fire Control Spotter Team was assigned the mission of furnishing Naval
Gunfire Support to Basilan Island Task Force. In conjunction with this, two spotters were requested to
furnish air-spot from artillery cub planes. Communications on this assignment was excellent and several
preparation missions were fired from Air and Ground Observation. In addition to original Basilan landing
same Shore Fire Control Team accompanied elements of Task Force on two separate landings on west
coast of island.

           On the whole, the use of Naval Gunfire Support during the initial phases of the operation,
especially, was highly effective and was instrumental to a large degree in silencing enemy mortar and
artillery positions

        4. Air Ground Liaison Activities. The Air Liaison Parties were not requested to call missions until the
Marine Air Groups 12 and 32 were in a position to support the ground troops. The Air Liaison Parties of
the two regiments conducted sixteen (16) air strikes. Strikes were conducted in which one Air Liaison
Officer was Air-borne over the target in an artillery plane, registered artillery smoke and directed the
planes to the target. Some difficulty was encountered with this set-up in that artillery plane used a
frequency modulated set and the attacking planes used amplitude modulated sets making direct contact
between planes impossible. This was remedied by the air-borne Air Liaison Officer contacting the
forward Air Liaison Officer on the ground on the frequency modulated set who in turn relayed the
message to the attacking planes.

           Napalm, 500 pound bombs, and strafing were used to good advantage. The cooperation between
the Marine Air Groups and the Air Liaison Parties was excellent

                                   SECTION III.

                         Lessons Learned and Recommendations

        1. Naval Gunfire:

            a. Naval Gunfire Maps were too large a scale for accurate work. Small scale maps would be
much more beneficial. It would be desirable if Infantry Artillery, Naval Gunfire and Air Support operate
from a common map system.

            b. Air-spot for Naval Gunfire is extremely desirable and it is recommended that arrangements for
cooperation with the Division Artillery Air Observation Section be made on all operations in which
availability of cruiser and battleship planes is uncertain. Difference in spotting procedure could be
corrected by Division Naval Liaison Officer. Communications to be arranged by having the Division
Naval Liaison Officer's second set check in a firing ship net, and receiving commands at Division Artillery
Fire Director Center. This would allow efficient handling of a limited activity.

            c. Use of assigned vehicles is an absolute necessity for Shore Fire Control Parties. In all previous
operations as in this one, the chief factor preventing absolute efficiency of these parties has been lack of
transportation. The health of the command sharply declines during an operation and back breaking loads
over long distances, rough terrain and at necessarily hurried pace is thought to be one of the chief reasons.

        2. Air Ground Liaison. The idea of the Air Liaison Officer directing attacking planes from an artillery
plane is very good. On numerous occasions visibility is hampered by terrain features or some other
objects and the use of the plane to rise above these would result in calls for accurate strikes which
heretofore would be almost an impossibility. The difference in the radio sets necessitated a relay station.
Similar sets in the spotting and attacking planes would speed the strikes by having direct contact between
them.

        3. Maps, Field Orders, General Orders, Bulletins and Circulars are not available at this headquarters
as enclosures.

                                                               THOMAS W. HART 
                                                                     Captain, Sig C
                                                                      Commanding

2 Incls:
A certified True Extract Copy of Attachment Orders.
Roster of Officers

       *******************************************************************

           Roster of Officers, 295th JASCO, Participating in V-4 Zamboanga Operation.

Capt         William B. Agler                      0415074          AC
Capt         Benjamin S. Blake, Jr               0415648          FA
Capt         Robert L. Hire                           0561280          AC
Capt         Abraham L. Herm                     0367043          FA
Capt         Robert C. North                        0578735          AC
Capt         Paul H. Rofkar                           0343414          FA
Capt         Nicholas W. Wentzel               0349217          FA
Capt         Henry C. Wick III                      0315152          FA
1st Lt       James M. Amick                        0574735          AC
1st Lt       Dominic B. Bernardo                0449655           Inf
1st Lt       Manning A. Eldridge               01645549         Sig C
1st Lt       Wayne E. Hawley                     01636327        Sig C
1st Lt       Edward D. Kruidenier               01298248        Inf
1st Lt       Thomas B. Gillespie                  0438986          Inf
1st Lt       Richard T. Lovorn                     01645772        Sig C
1st Lt       Roy W. Repp                             01645940        Sig C
1st Lt       Henry N. Vanderpool                01307593        Inf

Lt             Charles J. Blank                           USNR          160816
Lt(jg)       John T. Detwiler                          USNR          269568
Lt(jg)        Harry R. Jeter                              USNR          224347
Lt(jg)        George A. Redfern                     USNR          224418 

 

  ****************************************************************************




                        SHORE FIRE CONTROL SECTION
                  295th JOINT ASSAULT SIGNAL COMPANY 
                                   APO. 321

                                                                 1 April 1945

SUBJECT: V-4 Operational Report.

TO : Commanding Officer, 295th Joint Assault Signal Co, APO
321.

     1. Shore Fire Control Detachment attached to 41st Inf
     Division as follows:

     a) 1 Division N.L.O. Team
     b) 1 Regimental N.L.O. Team to each of 162nd and163Inf
     Regimental Hq.
     c) 1 S.F.C. Party with each assault Bn.i.e. 2nd and 3rd
     Bns 162nd Inf Regt 1st and 2nd Bns 163rd Inf Regt

     2. All teams of both Regts were ashore several minutes
     after H-hour, and advanced inland rapidly against light
     opposition, although there was considerable artillery
     and mortar fire falling from enemy positions on the
     high ground inland. With exception of Division N.L.O.
     station, complete communications were quickly
     established and N.G.F. commenced against enemy
     batteries on the left and center of Division Sector.
     Division N.L.O. aboard LCI with elements of Division
     Artillery was delayed in landing until H plus 150
     minutes by intense artillery and mortar fire falling on
     and in front of landing beaches. All communications in
     by H plus 3 hours, at which time N.G.F. being very
     effectively employed against enemy batteries and OPs on
     the left and enemy personnel on the right.

     3. On the special mission of Fox Co., 162nd Inf, which
consisted of a rapid advance along the beach to the left toward
Caldera Point, considerable delay in the close support to be
furnished by Fire Support Group Three (LCI(G)s, LCI(M)s and
LCI(R)s) was incurred by lack of proper coordination in
communications. An SCR 610 radio was assigned to the infantry
company with a special SFC frequency, but neither the operator
or company Commander had been aware of its purpose and not
until D plus two was the original plan of communications
established. However satisfactory results were obtained by
using the regular Bn S.F.C. Frequency with SCR 694.

      4. On the right flank, the advance of the 1st Bn,
     163rd Inf, was greatly expedited by the employment of a
     floating O.P. (LVT) requested by the N.G.F. Spotter, as
     his observation ashore was seriously hampered by dense
     growth and special terrain features.

     5. Considerable air-spot was used in all sectors upon
     request of S.F.C. Parties and was highly effective.

     6. All S.F.C. Parties were released and recalled to
     their respective Regimental C.P.s, by D plus 4 day, at
     which time the main fire support group was released
     from the area. Fire support ships from the screening
     force remained available in case of
     emergency(especially for night illumination).
     Arrangements were made by Division N.L.O. with Division
     Artillery S-3 for emergency call fires through
     Artillery F.O.s. No such fires were called however.

     7. On D plus 6 day, one S.F.C. Spotter Team (Capt. Herm
     as spotter ) was assigned the mission of furnishing
     N.G.F. Support to Basilan Island Task Force. In
     conjunction with this two spotters, ( Capt. Blake and
     Lt.(jg) Detwiler ) were requested to furnish air-spot
     from artillery cub planes. Using planes SCR 610 with
     DDs 610s ( or equivalent ) set on Artillery
     frequencies, communications were excellent throughout
     and severed preparation missions were fired from Air
     and Ground Observation. In addition to original Basilan
     landing S.F.C. Team accompanied elements of Task Force
     on two separate landings on West coast of island.

     8. On the whole, the use of Naval Gunfire Support
     during the initial phases of the operation, especially,
     was highly effective and was instrumental to a large
     degree in silencing enemy mortar and artillery
     positions. Upon the recall of S.F.C. parties, Division
     G-3 informed Division N.L.O. that he had been
     instructed by C.G. 41st Inf Div to draw up a
     commendation for the JASCO detachment in appreciation
     of the fine cooperation and excellent performance of
     all Naval Gunfire Support personnel. Likewise for the
     Air Ground Liaison personnel for their work as covered
     by their operational report.

     9. Personal observations and recommendations by Div
     N.L.O.:

        a) Initial liaison between this organization and 41st
Inf Div led to misunderstanding as to time of release of S.F.C.
Detachment from operation. As a result, S.F.C. personnel of
this organization left prepared for not more than ten days,
although it was expected by C.G. 41st Div that they would
remain attached for duty throughout the V-4 Operation-- a
period of from 8 to 10 weeks.

        b) No Naval Gunfire Control maps were provided for
Division Artillery initially, ( later obtained from Rocky Mount
). No such maps were ever available to supported Infantry
units. This results in considerable confusion and delay (
especially in close support firing ). Past experience has shown
that it is extremely important that Infantry, Artillery, Naval
Gunfire and Air Support operate from a common map system. Early
Central Pacific Operations showed the importance of this.

        c) Naval Gunfire Control maps were not only inaccurate
topographically, but were too large a scale for accurate work.
In many cases the Target area maps were at quite a variance
with the photo maps used by the Infantry and Artillery units. 

        d) From past experience it should have been obvious
that S.F.C. Parties be provided with at least some of their
organic transportation. However for V-4 , this again was not
done and had detrimental effects on N.G.F. Support. Proper
communications is especially affected by this, as only a
limited number of radio sets can be hand-carried.

        e) Assigning S.F.C. Parties to assault units only,
remains unsatisfactory as invariably the supported units demand
the reallocation of parties from units going into reserve, to
relieving units. This obviously puts too great a burden on the
teams whose work is equally as difficult as Artillery F.O. and
Liaison teams. 

        f) Air-spot for N.G.F. is extremely desirable and it is
recommended that arrangements for cooperation with the Division
Artillery Air Observation Section be made on all operations in
which availability of cruiser and battleships planes is
uncertain. Differences in spotting procedure could be corrected
by Div N.L.O.. Communications to be arranged by having the
Division N.L.O.s second set check in a firing ship net, and
receiving commands at Div Artillery Fire Director Center. This
would allow efficient handling of only a limited activity.
Additional sets would improve the arrangement, but experience
to date does not warrent a recommendation for additional
equipment.

          g) Again the arrangements for augmenting the
          T/O strength of the Shore Fire Control Section
          left much to be desired.

     (1) Rapidly changing membership of teams eliminates the
     advantage of the usual "team training phase" of
     training. This is twelve weeks in F.A.U.T.P..
     Accordingly these personnel can be used only for
     mechanical operation of equipment and not for receiving
     and processing traffic

     (2) The employment of a large number of personnel with
     whom a team Officer has had no combat contact,
     introduces an              unnecessary element of risk,
     resulting from not knowing what to expect of personnel
     or how they will react to pressure.

     (3) For a full Division operation, there are 22
     separate operating Parties of 5 men each,and two
     vehicles.  The currently assigned strength of 44 men
     does not allow sufficient experienced men in each
     location.
                    It is recommended that at least the T/O
                      strength be permanently assigned and
                      available to S.F.C. Section, based on:

                per Bn 1 Chief of Section
                        2 Radio Operators
                        1 Radio Operator, WT man
                        2 Driver
                        
                        6                   54

               per Regt 1 Chief of Section
                        1 Radio Operator
                        1 Driver
                        
                        3                    9

               per Div  1 Chief of Section
                        1 Driver
                        
                        2                    2
                             T/O and total 65

 

                                                           Benjamin S. Blake
                                                                   Capt. F.A.

 

 

                                                                                

                                




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