Operation Shoestring

This was a US airborne operation to drop 1,830 men of the 511th Parachute Infantry and 457th Field Artillery Battalion to take and hold Tagaytay Ridge on Luzon island in the Japanese-held Philippine islands group (3 February 1945).

After completing its training at Oro-Dobodura in New Guinea in November 1945, the 511th Parachute Infantry was sent to the Philippine islands group for service, after ‘King II’, in the Battle of Leyte, in which its task was to take and hold the passes through the mountains in the centre of the island, and engage and reduce the Japanese forces in the area, ultimately in support of the concurrent battle for Ormoc. The 511th Parachute Infantry performed this mission during harsh monsoon weather in the steep, heavily forested terrain, emerging shortly after Christmas 1944 onto the Ormoc plain.

After rest and resupply, the regiment was sent to Mindoro island, where Major General Joseph M. Swing’s 11th Airborne Division was preparing for its part in the Battle of Luzon. On 3 February 1945 the 511th Parachute Infantry boarded 48 Douglas C-47 Skytrain transport aircraft and made a combat jump on Tagaytay Ridge. As transport aircraft were in short supply, the 511th Parachute Infantry and its associated elements jumped in three echelons into an area had been cleared of Japanese forces by Filipino soldiers of the 4th, 41st, 42nd, 43rd, 45th and 46th Divisions of the Philippine Commonwealth Army, the 4th Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary, and a number of recognised guerrilla units. Despite some inaccurate drops, the regiment assembled successfully at its drop zone near the Manila Hotel Annex on Tagaytay Ridge and proceeded in battalions to the north in the direction of Manila, encountering occasional Japanese resistance in the towns of Imus and Las Piñas before engaging the Japanese at the Parañaque river just to the south of Manila, and then became embroiled in the Battle of Manila.