The war was now in its final two weeks – not that Joe would have known that. 1st Queens was reduced to A and B Companies with only 60 men in each, instead of the usual 120. Still advancing, they occupied the village of Letpanthonbyn.
The plan was to drive out the enemy, dug in behind a mud bank reservoir. Joe’s B Company would put in the final attack, with covering fire from A Company. They reached a clearing, just before the reservoir. It was interspersed with bushy mango trees and a Buddhist temple. They attacked with bayonets fixed, under heavy fire from Japanese automatic weapons. Driven back, they tried to encircle the Japanese from another angle, suffering many casualties.
“Crouching behind the large mango tree, I called up Sergeant Everett and two other seasoned men and shared with them my plan to crawl across A Company’s front and around the temple which afforded some cover… I had no orders except to drive the enemy out. So, as dusk fell, with what ammo and grenades we could muster, we set off. In the tropics, the night falls fast and by the time we had crawled round the temple, it was dark.”