Greetings in the name of the Emperor!
I have the honour of presenting my report on the glorious outflanking assault by San Company, ably supported by Chi Company, on the enemy forces in the Pasembor/Bariani Gam area
It is with regret that I must first report the noble deaths in battle of my company commander, Captain Masakichi, and four fellow platoon commanders in the heroic actions which took place on Sunday. I alone remain, and have taken command of the remnants of San Company.
According to your instructions to attack with speed and without regard to casualties it was decided to employ San Company to assault and pin the enemy forces in the area along the road to Lardak with local envelopment to the north of the road, whilst Chi Company (acting as a second wave) outflanked the enemy to the south in order to proceed to Lardak as rapidly as possible.
The initial landings of 7th Platoon and the attached Engineer Platoon went ahead as planned. Unexpectedly the village of Pasembor was found to be strongly held and was assaulted frontally by 7th Platoon: Lt. Yasushi was killed in the assault and his platoon temporarily forced back onto the beaches. Meanwhile the strong engineer platoon of Lt. Mibu attempted to envelop the enemy position to the north of the road. It was at this point that five enemy armoured cars were observed on the road east of the village coming rapidly to the assistance of the enemy in Pasembor. Without any anti-tank capability other than close-assault with grenades it was imperative that the village be taken without further delay and the vehicles overrun. Fortuitously at this point a light bomber of our Imperial Air Force arrived and twice attacked the cars scoring direct hits each time immobilising two of them.
A combination of congestion on the beaches and poor navigation by the raft helmsmen, some of whose vessels overshot the landing beaches, meant that reinforcements were slow in arriving. Eventually however 8th Platoon under Lt. Misao landed and was immediately thrown into the village in a Banzai assault assisted by the remnants of 7th Platoon. Although the Engineer Platoon had orders to encircle the village from the left, on hearing the Banzai shouts he appears to have joined the assault leading his entire platoon out of the heavy jungle directly towards the right flank of the enemy positions in Pasembor. The glorious assault by 10 sections of infantry/engineers threw the enemy out of the village and destroyed/captured two more enemy armoured cars. Lt Mibu, his 2ic Sgt. Yoshito and Lt. Misao were all killed either in the assault itself or in clearing the village. Casualties amongst the men were very heavy. As the Engineer Platoon assaulted the village from the left a new threat appeared on their flank. The platoon received heavy fire from the jungle on their left flank and three sections were stopped in their tracks. After Pasembor was secured it took some time for the remnants of 7th and 8th Platoons to reform, meanwhile the Engineer Platoon engaged the hidden enemy line in the jungle to the NE of Pasembor.
At this stage (just before 1 pm) Chi Company began to land on the beaches with the very welcome addition of the Mortar Platoon, which was soon engaged with the hidden enemy line and the remaining armoured car on the road. Air support continued to arrive, a fighter strafing the enemy positions and a scout identifying another enemy position in Bariani Gam. As the first elements of Chi Company arrived, however, accurate and prolonged enemy artillery fire began to fall on the road between Pasembor and the beach, further delaying the progress of Chi Company and the arrival of reinforcements, but fortunately not causing many casualties.
My 9th Platoon had finally arrived. Remembering the force’s objective to outflank the enemy and progress as rapidly as possible towards Lardak, appreciating that his force had fallen behind schedule due to unexpectedly heavy and ferocious enemy defences, and seeing that the Engineer Platoon had been diverted from its original deep penetration role and sucked into the fight for Pasembor, Captain Masakichi ordered my platoon on a wide arc to bypass the enemy position. At first going was extremely slow as a very steep hill appeared to our front, the men complaining bitterly about the impenetrable nature of the jungle on its lower slopes. However fortune came to our aid and Private Kendo Nagasaki, our best scout, horribly disfigured during the fighting in China, came across a jungle footpath clearly used by the local Malays and, most fortuitously, leading east towards Lardak. This considerably speeded the advance of my platoon.
Whilst the impressive force of Chi Company began to outflank the last remaining positions to the south of the road, overwhelming as they did the last remaining armoured car and driving the remnants of the enemy defenders of Pasembor deep into the jungle, the remnants of San Company were reformed for an assault on the strong enemy position in the jungle NE of Pasembor. The enemy had fought bravely, spurred on by their horribly raucous instruments, and killed many of our comrades. Eventually Captain Masakichi was ready to assault this last position. Although he tried to encourage all the remaining men to join him in a Banzai assault they had taken too many casualties and were reluctant to do so. Instead he heroically but perhaps misguidedly took just one section with him: the assault was not surprisingly thrown back and my illustrious company commander joined his ancestors. However with Chi Company assaulting their position from the right and with increasing pressure from San Company in front the valiant enemy began to withdraw, firing all the time. As we reached their original positions we found many dead and wounded soldiers, many of whom appeared to be wearing skirts and who were clearly inebriated on some strange brown saki. There were certainly a lot of empty bottles lying around. As the enemy soldiers fell back through the jungle they continued to frustrate San Company’s attempts at advancing. From captives it became clear that the valiant enemy troops had been abandoned by their cowardly officers during the fighting withdrawal. They may have been valiant but we executed them anyway.
Although progress had been slow in the morning the last enemy positions were falling back and our forces were now advancing rapidly on both sides of the road. In fact, once the last armoured car was knocked out Chi Company began to use the road itself for speed and soon arrived on the outskirts of Bariani Gam where they began to assault the final enemy position. Meanwhile my 9th Platoon had met no further enemy resistance, significantly affecting my ability to keep the men moving as one force. Our rapid advance through the jungle to the north of the road eventually brought us out onto the road beyond Bariani Gam. The defenders were otherwise engaged with Chi Company’s assault on the other end of the village and I led my platoon down the road towards Lardak, closely following some enemy trucks, one of which was on fire, where I eventually met up with the forces under your direct command assaulting Lardak from the north.
Casualties within San Company were heavy. Whilst I only lost 1 man killed in my platoon the remaining 2 platoons and the engineers suffered approx. 50% casualties. And, as stated previously, of the six commanders only I survived.
Lt Higuchi Kesazou (Andy Robinson)