A Chronological History of the Luansing Guerrilla Unit - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore A Chronological History of the Luansing Guerrilla Unit - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

A Chronological History of the Luansing Guerrilla Unit

The Luansing Unit Fil-American Batangas Guerrillas were commanded by one Galicano Luansing and known loosely as the “Luansing’s Unit.” This guerrilla outfit was at one time or the other during the Japanese occupation affiliated with the Fil-American Irregular Troops and also the President Quezon’s Own Guerrillas. By the time the Allied forces return to the Philippines, it was operating independently. This unit assisted the United States Army in campaigns against the Japanese forces from Balayan, Batangas Town, Lipa, Rosario and San Juan. In this document1, a history of the guerrilla unit is provided as one of the requirements for the group’s application for official recognition by the United States Army.

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Guerrilla Files

I. Administration and Control

The Fil-Americans, Batangas Guerrillas (Luansing’s Unit) was organized on 24 Oct 42, when an Inspector General of the FAIT of Col Hugh Straughn went to Rosario, Batangas with orders to designate a leader in that area. As Overall Commander for the province of Batangas, the choice went to an ex-USAFFE 1st Lieut, a certain Jorge D. Espina, who saw action at Atimonan, Tayabas but was not able to reach Bataan due to the appalling swiftness of enemy advances in that area, in their initial dive [drive?] in Southern Luzon. Sector Commanders in the various towns of Batangas Province were designated by the Commander of the province and to Galicano M. Luansing Jr. went the leadership in the town of Rosario and immediate territories, who was given the equivalent of Captain. Immediately, 154 men, mostly USAFFES and ROTC students, joined the ranks – thus starting the nucleus of the FABG (Luansing’s Unit). Recruiting and training were then the main phase of the activities of the organization. Every member was inducted and required to swear allegiance to both the Commonwealth of the Philippines and the US Government, and each one given [a] rank equivalent to the T/O they held. Administration and control emanated from the Headquarters of Col Straughn, which was relayed by sets of couriers to the Division Commander, and then to subordinate units. Swiftly but silently, the move gained ground that by March 1943, it was deemed to reorganize the unit under the command of Capt Luansing into a Bn. Capt Luansing was designated Bn CO and former JOs designated Company Commander of the newly-formed companies. While recruiting and training continued as a progressive activity, the main phase of it was directed in ambushing and encountering the enemies in actual combat, of which there was a total of 14 encounters during the occupation excluding those of the liberation (these are treated separately herein below); gathering of intelligence reports, sabotage, bolstering the waning morale of the people and as peace officers in the area. The GHQ was established at Maugat, Rosario, Batangas initially which, however, had to be transferred invariably to Mt. Malaraya, Mt. Muna, Mt. Banahaw and Catandala, Batangas due due to enemy pressure. Various bases and relay posts were installed at the different places to insure coordination, efficiency and security of the organization. Observers’ posts were installed near the highways, inconspicuously, and along the seacoasts for intelligence purposes. Reports as to the number of enemy troops passing on land, air and sea over and on the different areas of responsibilities of each sector commander, were made and relayed to higher headquarters, giving emphasis on the types of ships or planes or land carriers that passed by, the kinds of weapons, the strength of men, and the routes taken. Aside from these, men were planted in every project of the enemy, such as in airstrips in Lipa and Batangas, in the various tunnels and dugouts work the enemy from time to time built in strategic points in the province and were instructed to draw the actual plans of the installations and if possible to carry on sabotage activities. Aside from these various functions of the unit, a certain phase of our directives covered the maintenance of peace and order in the different areas, as robbers and highwaymen abounded who took advantage of the abnormality of the time. Sector commanders were made responsible for control of his area, in guerrilla warfare was of prime importance because on it greatly depended the security and life of the organization. Civilians in each area had to be so controlled and yet won to our side in order to gain their much needed support and sympathy lest they betrayed us. To this extent, everything went on smoothly until on June 1943, it was felt necessary to reorganize again. Another battalion was organized and a composite regiment was formed. Upon the capture and subsequent death of Col Straughn on Aug 1943, and with the imminent disorganization of the rest of the FAIT in the province due to the increased pressure of the enemy operations, the unit under the command of Major Luansing then joined forces with the neighboring PQOG of Col Vicente Umali in the same month. It joined in all the PQOG’s operations in the provinces of Tayabas and Laguna and established its

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headquarters at Banahaw mountain. However, due to certain misunderstandings between the higher command of the PQOG and the command of Lt Col Luansing then, which were at the time beyond anyone’s control, the officers and men of the Batangas men decided to separate command from the PQOG and on Oct 1943, the FABG (Luansing’s Unit) was reborn. Administration and control rested fully on Colonel Luansing henceforth, until the liberation. Contacts were made with the headquarters of SWPA in Mindoro through Lt Limjoco, AC, to the 6th MD who sent us a transmitter and crew in December 1943, and lastly with Lt Col Jay D. Vanderpool. Intelligence reports to SWPA headquarters to Maj Nickleson and Capt Hernandez in the early part of Jan 1944 and subsequently to Col Vanderpool in Oct 1944, were submitted from time to time. The unit was largely responsible for the effective bombing of all enemy installations in the southern part of the province, by the LIBERATORS and the liberation of the towns of Batangas, San Jose, Ibaan, Rosario, Lipa and the mopping up of the enemies in the towns of Balayan, Bauan, and Mabini in its various attachments with the American units. From its organization up to its demobilization in late ’45, members left or separated [from] the organization without proper authorization and the administration rested throughout directly upon Lt Col Luansing.

II. Food Supply

Food supply and maintenance of the organization came from local sympathizers in the province. Voluntary contributions in kind such as palay, vegetables, clothing, medicines and cash were solicited from proprietors and well-to-do sympathizers of the movement. Medicine were supplied by the four drug stores in Rosario, Batangas and some from Lipa and San Jose. Horses which were used by our couriers and which were then utmostly necessary in the military service were given by owners. It is regrettable, however, that none of those proprietors and well-to-do sympathizers who gave their utmost financially for the upkeep of the organization could be included in the recognition, they having had no actual service in the field.

III. Combat Activities (Occupation Period)

1. On Jan 27, 1943, 60 men under the leadership of Col Espina attacked the Japanese sentry post at Calicanto, Batangas. The detail was subdivided into 3 groups of 20 men each. One group was personally headed by Col Espina, the 2nd by Capt Loreto Abaya, and the 3rd by Capt Nicetas Carandang. The strike was perpetrated at 11 o’clock that night when according to plan, one of the men, Sgt Eulalio (deceased), together with Capt Carandang, passed the main sentry and asked for a light from the guard after giving the necessary courtesy. At the drop of the cigarette by Capt Carandang, Sgt Eulalio struck the Japanese sentry on the head with a concealed iron bar and the 3 groups of men, all armed with pistols, rifles (Enfield and homemade arms) rushed to the post and other guards and shot them all. 7 Japs were killed and 3 wounded with one Filipino policeman who happened to be on duty with the guards at the time. All arms and ammunition of the enemies were taken and the group withdrew to Rosario that night. No casualties on our side was suffered.

2. On 24 Feb 1943, the men under the command of Capt Abaya were ordered to ambush a platoon of PC and Jap patrol stationed at Rosario, Batangas. The patrol passed Bagong Pook that night at about 8 o’clock and was immediately fired upon by the boys. A slight encounter for about 10 minutes ended with the boys finally withdrawing due to the superiority of the enemy fire. There was only about a platoon of our men armed with rifles and pistols and improvised guns. We suffered two casualties, Sgt Pedro de Castro and Cpl Andres Montano, who were wounded in the arms and legs. On the enemy side, two PCs were wounded.

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3. On 14 Aug 43, a company of men under the command of Major Isaac D. Farol was attacked at their headquarters at Malacamcam, Rosario, Batangas by the combined forces of the PCs and the Japs. The enemy penetrated the area at about 5 PM that day and contact was made at about 5:00 PM. Fighting continued till late in the evening with the boys withdrawing to Mt Muna that same night due to numerical superiority in number, arms and fire of the enemy. Casualties sustained on our side were Lt Salon, who was wounded in the shoulder, and Sgt Obligar, who was grazed in the neck. On the enemy side, 3 PCs were killed and several Japanese were wounded.

4. On 21 Dec 43, a platoon of men under the command of Lt Celedonio Bolaños ambushed 6 Japanese soldiers who were riding in a carretela along the Taysan-Rosario road at barrio Maalasas, Rosario, Batangas. Due to the swiftness of the attack, all of the 6 Japs were killed and all their arms and ammunition and other military equipment were taken by the boys. We suffered no casualties. In this area, however, the following day, 6 innocent civilians were brutally murdered by the Japanese as a retaliation and a warning to the people.

5. On 3 Jan 44, a company of men under the direct command of Lt Col Luansing laid in ambush along the Lipa-Rosario road, at Antipolo, Lipa, Batangas. Just the night before, one of our men was able to shoot the No 1 Filipino spy in Lipa, Batangas, a certain “Mosca,” and truckloads of Japanese had been combing Rosario for our men. In view of the deep gorges and ravines at that vicinity, we were able to conceal our men along the highway, arriving there at about 8 o’clock that night. As the truck approached our firing field, we opened fire, aiming principally at the automatic rifleman at the top of the truck and the driver. Hand grenades were thrown in the truck and we continued firing for about 20 minutes, and then withdrew, taking to the ravines up to Mt Malaraya. The following morning, from civilians who came from the town early in [the] morning fleeing, we learned that around 10 Japanese soldiers were killed and a number more wounded. The barrio where the incident occurred was zonified the next day, but luckily, due to the intervention of some of the pro-Japanese elements in that town, no one was killed. It is worth mentioning here in passing that Lipa at the time was the key center of the Japanese and the Makapilis.

6. In 14 Feb 44, a company of men under the command of Capt David Farol (deceased) ambushed two truckloads of Japanese along the Rosario-San Juan road at Tranka, Rosario, Batangas. Those truckloads of Japanese passed the vicinity of Tranka Bridge at about 6:00 PM that afternoon en route to San Juan, Batangas due to the killing of a certain policeman by [the] guerrilla band of the PQOG under the command of Capt Bon Bany, which they were to investigate. Expecting their return that same night to Lipa, Batangas, the boys dynamited the Tranka Bridge and laid wait for the trucks. At about 9 o’clock that night, the first truck was sighted approaching at top speed followed behind by the other truck. The first truck went down the bridge with all its load, but the second was able to stop just at the brink of the bridge, whereupon the boys fired on them. Due to the numerical numbers of the boys this time, there being more than 150 men, they were able to annihilate all of the 20 Japs. When they went down for the first truck, some of the Japs were still living and they all finished them. It was feared, however, that some of the Japs escaped on hurt [?], for the following morning, more than a battalion of Japanese were garrisoned in Rosario, Batangas, with two companies of PC. About 35 Japanese were killed that day with no casualties on our side.

7. On 22 April 44, the Japanese made a surprise attack on our Headquarters at barrio Kalantas near the base of Mt Muna. The enemy, about a battalion together with a company of PC, entered our area at about 8 o’clock in the morning. We numbered more than seven hundred (700) together with those armed with bolos and home-made guns. We were then conducting a mass training on combat principles when our runners

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arrived with the information that the Japanese were already in the vicinity. We deployed our men in positions and contact was made at about 8:20 that morning. We were more strategically placed, being on a higher plane, than the approaching enemy that enemy advance was nilled [?] for more than two hours. At about 11:30, the enemy opened fire with mortars, which we presumed they took from Lipa, that same moment when they realized that they could not gain ground. The boys were demoralized for a time, as most of them had their first taste of mortar fire then, but when our positions could not be effectively hit by them, the boys regained once more their morale. However, fearing possible encirclement, I gave order to Maj Farol to pave the way for retreat and possible avenue of exit, while the two companies continued to delay the enemy advance. Our wounded were taken by Maj Farol. At about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, we completely withdrew by platoon with orders that we would meet the next day at Mt Malaraya. At 2:00 AM the next day, all companies were accounted for at Mt Malaraya, at Barrio Cuatro Santos, except for two soldiers who were missing. Our unit suffered 2 dead and three wounded, the missing 2 EM reporting after 2 weeks to Capt Arias at Colongan, Rosario, Batangas.

8. On 15 May 44, the headquarters of Capt David Farol was surprised by the enemies. Our boys fought a losing encounter that day, we suffered 3 casualties as follows: Dead, Capt David Farol, Lt Egar and Sgt Obligar; Wounded Maj Farol who happened to be in conference with his brother Capt Farol. The enemy did not suffer any casualties in this encounter.

9. On 20 May 44, the men under the command of Capt Pasumbal encountered two companies of PCs in barrio San Marcelino, Taysan, Batangas. Lt Col Luansing and Lt Col Farol were then in the headquarters of Capt Pasumbal at the time. Our boys attacked the enemy at about 8 o’clock that night, surprising the enemy completely. The encounter did not last long as after about 20 minutes of firing, most of the PC ran away, leaving most of their rifles and equipment in their temporary headquarters. Eight PCs were killed in the encounter but we lost on our side Capt Godofredo Pasumbal.

10. On 6 June 44, a company of men was ordered to enter the town of Batangas and attack the PC detachment thereat. At the time, there were only around 20 PCs in the detachment as all of them were sent to Lemery to go after the men of Licopa and Gagalac. On the way, however, near barrio Gulod, the boys encountered a platoon of Japanese and due to the darkness of the night, they were already within hailing distance when our scout noticed them. The boys immediately encircled the enemies, taking positions on both sides of the road, and ambushed them. Six Japanese were killed in the encounter and the boys had to return to our headquarters without carrying out the mission. Unluckily, however, a civilian in the vicinity, who apparently was not aware of the incident, came out to plow this field early the next morning, was caught by the Japanese who returned there. The poor fellow was just beheaded at the spot due to the fragments of hand grenades and empty shells found in his field.

11. On 17 July 44, while on our way to San Jose, Batangas with more than 300 men, as [we] passed the town of Ibaan at about 12 o’clock that night. We were already given the all clear signal by our advance party there when, upon crossing the Municipal Building, we met the Manager of the Totaku Cotton Plant there and we captured him. The boys immediately stabbed him to death and we had to loot his headquarters and got whatever we deemed useful to us. We were able to determine, however, that he was a Captain in the Kempetai (Military Police) as we were able to take his sword and uniform.

12. On 3 Aug 44, a platoon of men under the command of Lt Bolaños and Lt Pedro Mercado held up a truckload of Malacañan guards

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at San Jose, Batangas, headed by a Capt Hernandez and 13 others. They were all armed with garrands but offered no resistance. All arms and ammunition were taken and the PCs released without any US or PA equipment.

13. On 24 Sep 44, a battalion of men under the command of Maj Lupo Urea entered the town of Sto Tomas, Batangas and captured a company of PC stationed in that town. The attack was pre-arranged with most of the members of the PC in that company as most of them had finally decided to sympathize with us. No resistance was offered by the PCs and all their arms were captured. All of the captured PCs were later released.

14. On 5 Dec 44, Capt Arias with 50 men was assigned to ambush a platoon of men at the outskirts of the town of Lipa, Batangas. It was learned through our operatives in that town that every morning, a platoon of Japanese soldiers reached that place doing Radio Taizu (Morning Exercise) armed only with their bayonets. It was further learned that they went there on double time in bunches and returned to town on double time also. Capt Arias was ordered to place his men so that they could strike swiftly but effectively. The plan was well-carried out that almost one half of the platoon of Japanese was wounded or killed in the ambush. As a consequence, however, the whole town of Lipa was zonified for three days.

15. On 13 Dec 44, Capt Esteban de Guzman reached an American pilot, a certain Lt Clyde McConnell, at Mabato, Rosario, Batangas. This pilot stayed in our headquarters for two weeks and on 1 Jan 45, he was returned personally by the CO to the SWPA Base at Abra de Ilog in the headquarters of Maj Nickleson.

IV. Liberation Activities

On 9 Mar 45, the CO ordered the attack of the town of Batangas which for the timely arrival of the 2nd Bn 158th RCT under the command of Maj Boysie Day led to the actual capture and liberation of the said town on 11 Mar 45. A battalion of men was immediately attached with said units and which actually carried out active patrolling and mopping operations, occupied road blocks, guarded bridges and manned perimeters at night. One company of the men were, upon order of the CO of the 158th RCT, ordered to occupy the town of Rosario, Batangas and to hold it until the arrival of American units there.

On 25 Mar 45, in attachments with the same American unit, the same battalion of men cooperated in the capture of the town of San Jose, Batangas and carried out the same routinary activities there as performed in the liberation of the town of Batangas. On the same day, however, the 2nd Bn 188th Para-Glider Inf took over and our men were ordered to proceed to the vicinity of Lipa up to Barrio Pinagtungulan, while another company to approach the town of Lipa through barrio Calamias. On 27 Mar 45, our units, together with the 2nd Bn, 188th Para-Glider Inf entered the town of Lipa, Batangas. Upon the withdrawal of the 158th RCT from the province of Batangas, our units were attached to the 11th Airborne Division in the liberation and mopping operations in the towns of Balayan, Mabini, and Bauan, Batangas, while another company was attached as security guard for the Boat Bldg Command under the command of Lt Col Bender at Bauan. Upon the arrival of the 54th Evacuation Hospital at Rosario, Batangas in April 45, 30 of our men were also attached for security purposes to said outfit and served in such attachment during the whole

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period of stay of that unit in that locality. On 11 Jun 45, a company of the men were given recognition, those men that worked with guerrilla coordinators, while the rest continued to operate in Rosario, Batangas conducting mopping up and patrolling operations until as late as October 1945, when Rosario was declared free from Japanese stragglers. While serving in such capacity, it is believed worthwhile mentioning that during the whole period that the 11th Airborne was there and other subsequent American units that were later on assigned in the province, all enemies killed in operations were reported to them by our headquarters. The G-2 of the 11th Airborne Division, Col Mueller, can well attest to these facts, as it was to him the weekly reports of the operations and some war trophies were submitted. During the period of liberation, the unit accounted for 75 enemies killed in actual combat.

Lt Col Inf
Notes and references:
1 “Luansing Unit, Fil-American Batangas Guerrillas,” File No. 63, downloaded from PVAO.
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