Report on the Tanauan Guerrilla Combat Team, June 1946 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Report on the Tanauan Guerrilla Combat Team, June 1946

The Tanauan Guerrilla Combat Team was a small resistance organization operating out of the Municipality of Tanauan during the Japanese occupation and the liberation period. It was supposedly founded by one Avelino T. Tapia in July 1942 but failed to gain official recognition as an element of the Philippine Army in the service of the Armed Forces of the United States. Some of its members, however, were recognized likely with other outfits or as individuals. In this page is a transcription1 of an investigative report filed by one Lt. Grant Wilcox, tasked with studying the unit with regards to its application for official recognition.
Guerrilla Files jpeg
[p. 1]

6 June 1946

Report on the Tanauan Guerrilla Combat Team

In compliance with instructions from the Chief of Branch, Guerrilla Affairs Branch, G-3, AFWESPAC, Lt. Grant S. Wilcox contacted the guerrilla organization known as the “Tanauan Guerrilla Combat Team,” in order to determine whether or not this organization should be recognized by the United States Army. The following report is a summary of the investigation and basis for the recommendation.

HISTORY

The Tanauan Guerrilla Combat Team was organized by Avelino T. Tapia on 15 July 1942. The unit at the time had 45 members armed with 8 rifles and 7 pistols and a small amount of ammunition.

Upon organization, the unit commenced noting the Japanese movements in the towns of Tanauan, Talisay, Sto. Tomas, Malvar, Lipa, and Rosario, recruiting members and contacting other guerrilla leaders. The guerrilla unit acted as home guards, maintaining peace and order among the people, keeping alive the morale of the underground forces and the civilian population, minimizing local banditry, robberies and abductions, protecting the civilians who gave financial and material aid to the organization and making intelligence reports on Jap movements and installations.

By 1943, the unit had grown to a company of around 130 members and had 36 pistols and rifles of various caliber. For the rest of the occupation period, the unit maintained a strength of around 130 members.

Sketches were made of Jap installations and other enemy targets and were submitted through AIB, Anderson’s Unit and copies were furnished to other guerrilla units. In the middle of 1943, the organization made contact with the runner of the Red Lions, making coordination between the Tanauan Guerrilla Combat Team and that unit.

The American landing in Leyte spurred the organization to greater underground activity. Gen. MacArthur’s instructions to civilians and guerrilla forces were intercepted and transmitted to all friendly elements. Sketches of Jap installations continued to be made and spotted and sent to underground organizations.

On 27 February 1945, about 50 members of the unit under Capt. Avelino T. Tapia made contact with Col. Quintin Gellidon and Major Schommer at Tagaytay. Col. Gellidon gave the unit its assignment and sector of attack. The unit was attached and assigned to the 2nd Bn, 87th Inf. Regt. of the 11th Airborne Division. The subject unit furnished guides and guards, went on combat patrols and policed the municipality of Tanauan. Activities of the unit ended 23 July 1945.

[p. 2]

FINDINGS

The following named persons are those interviewed by the contact team and their statements are the basis for the findings.

1. Avelino T. Tapia – Capt, CO and organizer of the subject unit.
2. Jose B. Zuño – Mayor of Rosario, member of the subject unit.
3. Jose M. Corona – Mayor of Tanauan, member of the subject unit.
4. Pedro G. Tapia – Principal of elementary school in Malvar, member of subject unit, no relation to the unit CO.
5. Gertrudo Angeles – 2nd Lt. in subject unit.
6. Gaudencio Albo – 2nd Lt. in subject unit.
7. Potenciano Tapia – 2nd Lt. in subject unit, brother of unit CO.
8. Dionisio Ascilo – 1/Sgt in subject unit.
9. Alfredo Balba – Sgt in subject unit.
10. Sebastian Gelberto – Sgt in subject unit.
11. Marciano Mendoza – Cpl in subject unit.
12. Fortunato Asidera – Cpl in subject unit.
13. Nasario Bathan – Cpl in subject unit.
14. Pascual Marasigan – Cpl in subject unit.
15. Leonardo Javier – Cpl in subject unit.
16. Felicisimo Chavez – Pvt in subject unit.
17. Procopio Burgos – Pvt in subject unit.
18. Leon Trinal – Pvt in subject unit.
19. Felipe Lumbres – Pvt in subject unit.
20. Gaudencio Nones – Pvt in subject unit.
21. Maximo de Castro – Pvt in subject unit.
22. Hermenegildo Castillo – Pvt in subject unit.
23. Marceliano Medina – Chief of Police, Tanauan, Batangas, not a member of the subject unit.
24. Co. Quintin Gellidon – Overall Guerrilla Coordinator for the 11th Airborne Division.

The 54 men of the Tanauan Guerrilla Combat Team who were actually attached to the 11th Airborne Division have already been recognized. The rest of the unit is composed of home guards. All of these members are also on the rosters of the 2nd Division IV Army Corps, Marking’s Fil-American Troops. Avelino T. Tapia, the unit CO, admits that he is now trying to get the rest of his unit recognized for their intelligence work and home guard activities.

The Mayors of Tanauan and Rosario and the principal of the Malvar Elementary School are included in the roster as Intelligence agents and radio listeners. 22 members were interviewed; they admitted they lived at home, but emphasized their activities as home guards, protecting the people, keeping up morale and watching the Jap garrisons. The members followed their normal civilian pursuits during the period of Japanese occupation.

The unit could not submit any amount of evidence as to the intensity and value of their intelligence work during the occupation period.

POLITICAL ASPECT

This unit does not appear to have any political affiliations

[p. 3]

or aspirations.

RECOMMENDATIONS

After careful study of the records and individuals concerned, and in view of the findings included, it is recommended that with the exception of those members previously recognized, the Tanauan Guerrilla Combat Team be not favorably considered for recognition.

[Sgd.] GRANT S. WILCOX 0-1338990
2nd Lt., Inf.
Contact Team #10


Notes and references:
1 “Tanauan Guerrilla Combat Team,” File No. 109-89, online at the United States National Archives.

Related Posts