rcocean wrote: ↑
07 Apr 2021 18:29
Okay, if it is "hardly a stretch", why didn't they? Why were the reorganized Philippine Scouts reorganized in 1946 instead of the "moment the first US troops landed at Leyte"?"
I'll take a guess at this. They weren't reorganized on Leyte because there were no Filipino scouts to "Reorganize" on Leyte in Oct '45 and the Japanese controlled all the other islands. When we finally took Manila, then the US army set about rearming and using Filipino units. This units were not Filipino Scouts because the scouts were an official elite US Army unit, governed by regulations. They'd been in existence since the early 1910's.
Even more Off topic: the Leyte invasion was a rushed, shoestring affair, with many of the troops (7th, 96th, 77th Divisions) coming from the cancelled invasion of Yap. The JCS had decided in September to change the projected invasion plans and go directly to Leyte. So, no one had any time to consider using Filipino's with military training on Leyte.
Some Aussie historians would accuse us of "shutting them out" of the Leyte operation, but the fact is that there was no time to set up a separate logistical line of operations for using Australian divisions even if any of them had been amphibiously trained in September 1944.
Apparently not, actually. The US Army certainly appears to have disagreed:
https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/Mac ... 1/ch10.htm
Leyte and Samar fell under the 9th Military District, which was under the command of:
Col. R. K. Kangleon, PA - Leyte (who was in direct radio contact with SWPA)
Col. Charles M. Smith, AUS - Samar (in contact via Leyte)
The SWPA Theater's coordinating sections, the AIB and PRS, had put missions ashore on the two islands as early as 1943, as well.
from the above:
The Guerrillas on Leyte and Samar
Until the Spring of 1943, a dozen different guerrilla leaders contested bitterly for authority on Leyte. Although most of these men shared a desire to work against the Japanese, any thought of unification was subordinated to their individual interests. There was apparently no leader unselfish enough to put aside his personal motives for the common good or strong enough to enforce obedience from the others.
On a visit to Leyte in April 1943, Commander Parsons persuaded Col. Rupert K. Kangleon, former commander of the Philippine 81st Infantry (Division), to attempt a consolidation of the dissident factions on the island under the guidance of SWPA. By a judicious mixture of force and diplomacy and by the strength of his own prestige, Colonel Kangleon eventually succeeded in winning the allegiance of the principal guerrilla groups to begin a reorganization of the pre-war Philippine 92nd Division. In October 1943 he was appointed by GHQ to head the Leyte Area Command, and by Fall of the following year, Leyte boasted a well-trained guerrilla force of some 3,200 troops.
On Samar, as on Leyte, numerous irreconcilable groups contended for supremacy after the removal of the Philippine Government and the dissolution of the Philippine Constabulary. Since the island was of little value strategically, there were few Japanese troops to fear, and conditions fostered the unhampered existence of a multitude of guerrilla bands. Samar, however, did not possess a man of sufficient caliber to harmonize the various prevailing differences, and as a result the island remained without any centralized authority until October 1944, the month of General MacArthur's invasion of the Philippines.
The two largest groups on Samar were commanded by Col. Pedro V. Merritt, P.A., who was established in the north, and by Manuel Valley, an escapee from Bataan, who led an organization in the south. An attempt in September 1943 by Colonel Kangleon's emissary, Lt. Col. Juan Causing, to unite these two leaders was unavailing, and although much good work was done independently by the guerrilla units on Samar, very little was contributed to aid the plans of General MacArthur's Headquarters until after the assault on Leyte.
Samar's main value lay in its use as a base of operations by GHQ's representative, Colonel Smith, whose agents working on Luzon and in the Bicols relayed accumulated information on the Japanese to Australia. Although Colonel Smith did not take an active part in guerrilla affairs, his advice was often sought and his suggestions generally heeded; he gradually won the confidence of both Colonel Merritt and Manuel Valley, and in September 1944 the two principal guerrilla groups agreed to accept him as their co-ordinator. In early October, GHQ appointed Colonel Smith as commander of the Samar Area. Colonel Smith was in the process of reorganizing the Samar units when the American forces landed on the island.
General MacArthur's invasion of Leyte on 20 October 1944 sounded the signal for the Philippine guerrillas to throw off the cloak of concealment and come forth in open warfare against the Japanese. Shortly before the assault forces were due to sail for their objective, General MacArthur issued the following alert to the Visayan guerrilla commanders:
The campaign of reoccupation has commenced. Although your zone is not at present within the immediate zone of operations, it is desired that your forces be committed to limited offensive action with the specific mission of harassing the movement of the enemy within your area and as far as possible contain him in his present positions. Intelligence coverage must be intensified in order that I be fully and promptly advised of all major changes in enemy disposition or movement.
It was on Leyte that the Filipino guerrilla and the American soldier first joined forces in battle. With the initial Sixth Army landings on the beaches at Tacloban and Dulag, Colonel Kangleon's units went into action. They dynamited key bridges to block Japanese displacement toward the target area; they harassed enemy patrols; and they sabotaged supply and ammunition depots. Information on enemy troop movements and dispositions sent from guerrilla outposts to Colonel Kangleon's Headquarters was dispatched immediately to Sixth Army.
The guerrillas also performed valuable service in maintaining public order and in keeping the roads and highways free of congestion. After the American beachheads were established, the Leyte guerrilla groups were attached directly to the Sixth Army corps and divisions to assist in scouting, intelligence, and combat operations.
On neighboring Samar, a regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division, which landed on 23 October, was aided extensively in its mission by the guerrilla units on the island. The main objective of seizing and controlling the strategic Taft-Wright Highway was achieved by a dual drive of cavalry and guerrilla forces. While the 8th Cavalry battled to capture Wright at the western terminus of the Highway, the guerrillas fought the Japanese from Taft on the east. A junction of the two forces in December cleared the enemy from the heart of Samar and prevented his reinforcement of Leyte from the northeast.
So, a functioning regional command, with radio comms and a SWPA mission, and some 3200 "well-trained" men. Sounds like a useful cadre; Kangleon was a former Constabulary officer and graduate of the (then) PCA; Smith's service during the conflict is pretty respectable, as well.
An "early" organization of a NPS regiment, using guerrilla forces (with their respective special operations missions) as cadre and openly recruiting after liberation - which was pretty much the exact same method used to convert the FFI to French army regulars in 1944-45 - was entirely possible.
If one goes through the entire chapter, the total number of guerillas credited to the various SWPS-recognized forces before the liberation is roughly 80,000 (although not all the named forces are associated with numerical strengths) but even going by that number and cutting it by 80%, 16,000 men with (at least) some training, organization, and experience is not a bad start, and approximates four RCT-equivalents pretty easily. Make them the cadre, and start filling with fit men who were not members of recognized guerilla units before liberation, and those numbers are only going to go upwards.
Presumably cadre for regular battalion could have been raised on Leyte alone in the winter of 1944-45 (same time frame as the FFI conversions began) and add in fillers as appropriate; the 12th Division, at least, is restored to the OOB in 1945...