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Airborne Assault
Because elite units of highly trained Imperial Japanese Army paratroopers suffered very high casualty rates in 1942, most were withdrawn to the mainland. In late 1944 they were deployed in the battle of the Philippines were once again their losses were very high; often complete units were destroyed. Rakkasan may be translated from Japanese as "man falling under an umbrella." The "Rakkassans" of the U.S. Army 187th Infantry Division were the only military unit whose nickname (still in use today) was designated by an enemy. Deployed to the Pacific in mid-1944 with the 11th Airborne Division, the 187th Rakkasans saw combat in New Guinea, Leyte and Luzon in the bloody battles of Purple Heart hill, Tagatay Ridge, Nichols Field, Manila and Mount Macelod. The 187th Rakkasans also met and destroyed a a paratroop attack on their positions when Japanese airborne units tried to recapture airfields on Leyte taken earlier by the Rakkasans.