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PC28.05.17  ridderhof

INVENTORY OF PC-DOCS, JANUARY—JUNE 1928

28.01.04 BROWN
28.01.04 BROWN
28.01.04 HUNT
28.01.05 KILCOURSE
28.01.08 SATTERFIELD
28.01.08 WADBROOK
28.01.21 SHAW
28.01.22 PEARD
28.01.31 KENYON
28.02.03 PEARD
28.02.04 MCDONALD
28.02.06 YOUNG
28.02.12 WATERMAN
28.02.18 GEYER
28.02.19 CLARK
28.02.19 GRAY
28.02.21 ORR
28.02.22 SHIEBLER
28.02.23 WELLS
28.02.24 SHIEBLER
28.02.24 ROCKEY
28.02.25 BROWN
28.02.26 CLARK
28.02.26 HOLMES
28.02.26 RIDDERHOF
28.02.27 GEYER
28.02.28 HUNTER
28.02.29 CLAUDE
28.02.29 CRONMILLER
28.03.01 O'DAY
28.03.05 MCNULTY
28.03.05 ROCKEY
28.03.11 AIKEN
28.03.15 CHAPPELL
28.03.16 ARTHUR
28.03.18 RIDDERHOF
28.03.22 ROCKEY
28.03.28 HUNTER
28.03.28 GEYER
28.04.05 ATKINSON
28.04.05 HART
28.04.05 ROBERTS
28.04.05 ROCKEY
28.04.08 HOLMES
28.04.09 PUTNAM
28.04.11 PUTNAM
28.04.11 SNEAD
28.04.15 HATFIELD
28.04.16 STOCKS
28.04.17 AIKEN
28.04.18 GALT
28.04.19 ESAU
28.04.19 MARSHALL
28.04.19 SNEAD
28.04.23 GALT
28.04.23 WILLIS
28.04.23 MCQUEEN
28.04.26 PEFLEY
28.04.28 MCQUEEN
28.04.30 ARNETT
28.05.06 HART
28.05.07 MERRITT
28.05.08 AIKEN
28.05.08 CLARK
28.05.09 KILCOURSE
28.05.11 AIKEN
28.05.11 ESAU
28.05.12 KILCOURSE
28.05.12 PEFLEY
28.05.14 HOLMES
28.05.16 CLAUDE
28.05.16 CRAMER
28.05.17 RIDDERHOF
28.05.17 ADAMS
28.05.18 SCHIEBLER
28.05.20 O'DAY
28.05.21 JENKINS
28.05.21 KENYON
28.05.22 CRAMER
28.05.24 CLAUDE
28.05.24 CRAMER
28.05.25 PIPER
28.05.25 PIPER
28.05.25 UNKNOWN
28.05.30 HATFIELD
28.06.01 SCOTT
28.06.04 HOLMES
28.06.04 O'NEIL
28.06.04 SNEDEKER
28.06.06 YOUNG
28.06.15 BROWN
28.06.16 ANDERSON
28.06.19 BERRY
28.06.20 HUMPHREY
28.06.20 ROCKEY
28.06.24 CRAMER

28.05.17.   Ridderhof, Patrol Report, San Albino

P C - D O C S :      P A T R O L   &   C O M B A T    R E P O R T S
thru 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 +

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FIRST BATTALION, ELEVENTH REGIMENT
SECOND BRIGADE, U.S.M.C.E.F.
SAN ALBINO, NICARAGUA.
17 May, 1928.

PATROL REPORT.

     A patrol consisting of myself, Lt. McAllister, 14 enlisted Marines 1 enlisted Navy, Lt. Davis with 15 Guardia, and 11 pack animals with 10 days rations cleared San Albino, 10 May, 1928, at 0915. We arrived at Murra at 1430. An enlisted Marine had developed such a fever that he was unable to travel further so the next day, 1 May, he was sent back to San Albino with a Marine patrol. A Guardia patrol was sent out to make a reconnaissance of the country northeast of Murra. They found no signs of bandits but found large stored of corn. Marine patrol returned from San Albino with replacement for sick man sent in. Distance marched 12 miles.

     12 May.  We cleared Murra at 0730, following route shown on sketch, first passing through Potreros de Colindres (San Pedro) then crossing river at Mina California. From there the trail entered dense jungle country with no visibility on either side of the trail nor up. Airplanes passed over us daily but we could not see them nor they us. This trail followed a ridge, and we traveled rapidly during the daytime, but the distance which the guide said was 12 to 15 miles to our destination that night (Congohos) [Congoas] turned out to be about 22 miles. The last 5 miles were covered after dark on mountainous trail, and traveling was necessarily slow, but as both men and animals needed water badly we kept going until the reached the Congohos River which we reached at 2250, and made camp there for the remainder of the night. Distance marched 22 miles.

     13 May.  We awoke in the morning to find ourselves in a more dense jungle than we had previously passed through. The mountains rose almost perpendicularly from the river, having only room for a trail.

     While breaking camp at 0700 the Guardia sentry at the north end of the camp gave the alarm that he had seen a bandit. As he told it, he first saw a large dog approaching. While watching the dog and wondering as to the reason for it, he looked up and saw a bandit in khaki uniform, a good sombrero and a red sash across his breast and over his shoulder. The Bandit had seen the sentry in time to take cover. A pursuing party started after the bandit and we had proceeded about 300 yards when through an opening in the trees and from the side of the mountain we were fired upon. We saw 7 bandits all in uniform and with the red sash. We immediately opened fire on them and then they disappeared. Because of dense growth we were forced to move slowly to their position and from there we could find no trace of them.

     The patrol proceeded down the Congohos Valley. At 1030 as we rounded a right angle turn in the trail we were fired at from a house about 150 yards ahead. The point deployed and returned the fire and as soon as the main body was in position we rushed the house. The bandits immediately ceased firing and fled. During the short period of firing the two bandits, who were evidently sentries, were both hit badly but being only a few feet from the brush they crawled in there and disappeared. The others had taken cover behind the large number of animals tied up in front of the house. Three horses and a mule were killed. The bandits numbered about six, crawled in the brush under cover of the dead animals when we rushed the house. Being unable to find any trace of them in the brush, we covered their line of retreat with grenades. As far as could be done we searched the surrounding country but found no on but did find a pool of blood where one of the wounded had stopped for a moment. [ p. 2 ]

     Returning to the house we caught up the rest of of the bandit animals nearby. Three mules had the U.S. brand on them two were in excellent condition, the other had been badly used. The seven horses picked up were not and never could be suitable for our use so they were shot. Thirty head of cattle in the vicinity were killed.

     The guide informed us that this was the house of Sr. Henrique which was our destination of yesterday. We searched the house and found a large quantity of dynamite bombs, dynamite sticks, black powder fuses, a pistol, 6 bull bags of shelled corn, 2 sacks of beans, 4 sacks of coffee, several articles of Marine clothing and equipment, several white straw hats with red band woven in the straw, 6 aparahos, 4 native saddles and many articles of bandit clothing. The house was fairly large and contained sleeping accommodations for about 18 men.

     In rear of the house was an incompleted bomb-proof dugout; in front was an excavation for a look out. The sentry who first fired on us was in this location.

     All bandits here had the red hat band on their hat, otherwise their clothing was not distinctive, and they were all armed with rifles.

     After completing our search we proceeded down the valley. After about a half mile we came upon another house which was deserted except for dogs but which had sleeping accommodations for 6 men. Food was prepared just previous to our arrival and the fires were burning in the stove. This house contained practically everything, found in the first house but in smaller amounts. Also, there was a box which had contained .38 cal. Smith & Wesson ammunition with a Montreal, Canada, stamp on it.

     After destroying everything here we proceeded on and a half mile further on we came upon a large level place in the valley which was partially cleared and which contained four newly constructed houses of permanent nature which could accommodate 40 men. Fires were still burning in the stoves but the camp was deserted except for dogs cattle and several horses. This was evidently the main camp and was beautifully situated for living comforts and for defense.

     The trail up to this point was almost impassable for animals and ahead it was worse so the cargo animals with a guard were left there to make camp while the remainder of the patrol proceeded down the valley. Two more newly constructed camps each of which would accommodate 20 men, were found each about a half mile apart well supplied with food, chickens and cattle. Small quantities of dynamites and black powder were found. From here the trail, which had been terrible, ended, so we returned to camp. Distance marched 10 miles.

     14 May.  A patrol was sent out to try to find a means of getting out of this valley. Every trail was followed but they were all blind trails, ending after a few hundred yards. Many of them were newly cut by machetes and no signs of travel. Several showed signs of very recent traveling but they also ended abruptly in the jungle. Distance marched 10 miles.

     15 May.  Since we could go no further forward and could not get out of the valley we cleared camp at 0800 for our return to San Albino. We made camp that night at Mina California. The trail we covered today had been traveled over by both men and animals since our passage three days previously, traveling in the direction we were nor [now] traveling, south. Distance marched 18 miles.

     16 May.  Cleared California at 0800. Arrived Murra 1020. Sent pack train with a patrol out after corn of which enormous supplies were near at hand, in order to take a supply in to San Albino. Distance marched 6 miles.

     17 May.  Cleared Murra 0730. Arrived San Albino 1100. [ p. 3 ]

     During this patrol which covered a period of eight days the conduct of the men is worthy of commendation. The Marines and Guardia worked together in harmony; sharing the work and the fighting. I was not so surprised at the Marines excellent conduct as they have a habit of rising to the occasion when called upon, but the Guardia were an unknown quantity to me and I did not know what to expect. From now on I shall expect much, I have seen them in action, and I desire to thank and commend Lieut. Davis and his Guardia for their excellent work.

    My own deduction from this patrol are as follows: a band of approximately 100 bandits had taken up winter quarters in the Congohoes Valley. It is certainly inaccessible and at the end of a trail. Supplies could be easily brought in from the country north and east of Murra where there was plenty before we passed through. Our arrival in the valley was a complete surprise and we were not ambushed in force either because our strength was overestimated, or their strength was temporarily depleted or they were short of ammunition.

     Destroyed:  Living quarters of 100 men a two months food supply of corn, beans and coffee for that number, 75 head of cattle, saddle equipment (that we couldn't use) for 10 animals; pack equipment (that we couldn't use) for 10 animals.

     Captured:  three U.S. mules, 12 horses, two cargo bulls which we used, aparejos complete for all our spare animals.

     Contacts:  Two (In both cases we were fired on first)
Marine casualties: None.
Bandit casualties: Two known wounded.
Distance covered: 100 miles.

/s/ S. E. Ridderhof
1st Lieut., U.S.M.C.


 

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Summary & Notes:

   Combined 33-strong Marine-Guardia patrol for 8 days in wilds east of Murra (18 Marines & Navy, 15 enlisted Guardia, 1 native guide).
   First patrol in this area for 5 weeks (since the big combined operation April 3-10, which was deemed a "great success"; see
PC 28.04.08 Holmes).
   EDSN saturates the area, as all the houses, camps & livestock show; patrol is barely catching glimpses of EDSN organization & dominion of the area.
   2 contacts on 13 May (one at 7 a.m., another at 10:30 a.m.); brief exchanges of gunfire, no Marine-GN casualties, 2 known EDSN wounded.
   EDSN intelligence network working effectively; bands able to abandon camps before patrol arrives; not a "complete surprise" as portrayed; once patrol got close enough, EDSN knew of their approach.
   Patrol slaughtered livestock (75 head of cattle, 7 horses) and seized whatever appeared useful (3 US-branded mules, 12 horses, 2 bulls, aparejos [saddle equipment]).
   Funny description of how patrol couldn't find their way out of the valley (a very secluded valley!).

   Vivid descriptions of trails, precipitous mountains, density of jungle, ability of EDSN to elude pursuers, move through forest without leaving tracks to follow.

P C - D O C S :      P A T R O L   &   C O M B A T    R E P O R T S
thru 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933 +

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