Corregidor defences, Manila, Philippines

Discussion in 'War Against Japan' started by China Hand, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. China Hand

    China Hand No Longer A Forum Member

    Dear Warlord

    OK, found my disc with Corregidor stuff from December 2002...I guess it probably has not changed much. It is an interesting spot, well looked after, and worth the short trip from Manila if you are able to get there.

    I did not take any of Fort Drum...cannot recall why...but it was certainly “all there”...good site here that focuses on it...Fort Drum The Concrete Battleship Philippine Islands

    As for my own pics...(sorry some are "on their side", I cannot get my photo editor to flip them properly, but sure you can do so easily...)

    1 MacArthur and friend.jpg
    Statue of General MacArthur beside beach where he left...the little guy is yours truly...the MacArthur statue is somewhat larger than life (appropriately, perhaps)

    2 Battery Hearn .jpg
    Gun at Battery Hearn, 12” I believe

    3 Old barracks.jpg
    4 Topside barracks.jpg
    Ruined barracks...I was struck by the fact such had been left in a fairly “raw” state, quite evocative...I recall noting a comment somewhere the cement

    View attachment 15402
    Nice commemorative statue

    6 Malinta Tunnel.jpg
    View attachment 15404
    Two of Malinta Tunnel, which MacArthur used as his HQ for some time – they had some quite good “dioramas” as shown, and also a rather realistic “sound and light” show inside, simulated bombing, light fixtures shaking, etc etc.

    9 Manila cemetery 1.jpg
    View attachment 15406
    Not Corregidor itself, but very much related - two of the offfical US war cemetery in Manila – 17,206 dead are buried here and a further 36,282 missing commemorated on the memorial. For more info, see American Battle Monuments Commission

    I recall leaving a note in the visitor's book of the main museum, near “Topside Barracks”, saying "a poignant spot, beautifully kept, a worthy memorial to Filipinos and Americans“, and saw that someone else had written, the same day, “the death place of my grandfather”.

    Hope this is all helpful

    Best wishes


    PS Found this later by a roundabout web route via Shanghai...4th Marines, ex Shanghai and Philippines, are supporting a school in Manila related to Corregidor...nice work !

    References :

    1.Battle of Corregidor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    2.Gerald Astor's book, 'Crisis in the Pacific', is all about the Philippines battles, despite the slightly misleading title, see Crisis in the Pacific: The Battles for the Philippine Islands by the Men Who Fought Them: Gerald Astor: Books

    3.A small locally produced guidebook I picked up there is by Alfonso J Aluit, 'Corregidor', ISBN 971852116X, not in print but several copies on Abebooks.

    4.Corregidor - It's A Whole New Experience - details of travel packages etc – it is a day trip from Manila by ferry, taking about one hour each way

    5.There is a very good Osprey book on the defences,by Terrence McGovern, 'American Defenses of Corregidor and Manila Bay, 1898-1945', American Defenses of Corregidor and Manila Bay 1898-1945 (Fortress): Mark A. Berhow, Terrance C. McGovern, Chris Taylor: Books
    Drew5233 likes this.
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Cheers Graham. Particullary liked picture No5.

    Its strange how they have used 'bronze' figures in the displays rather than mannequins dressed in uniforms.

    Many thanks for posting the pictures.

  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Here's a few shots from

    Surrender of Corregidor, May 6, 1942

  4. China Hand

    China Hand No Longer A Forum Member

    Cheers for that, the site looks interesting to explore later :)
  5. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Cool pictures, Graham; thanks for posting! :cheers:

    By the way, did you go to Bataan too? Is there anything there that resembles all the museums and memorials you found at the Tadpole and adjacent rocks?
  6. China Hand

    China Hand No Longer A Forum Member

    By the way, did you go to Bataan too? Is there anything there that resembles all the museums and memorials you found at the Tadpole and adjacent rocks?[/QUOTE] I didn't sadly sorry :(
  7. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Sorry to post These on your thread China but these seemed to be the best place to go of all the Philippines thread. Some recollections from those who were there from War Diary 39-45.
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    One of the nuns in a convent at Baguio, on December 23rd, Sister Kroeger picked up the ringing telephone to find an American businessman from Baguio on the other end.
    ‘Sister’, he said, ‘We’ve had a meeting here in the Pines Hotel, and I want to tell you what we are going to do. The Japanese are coming up the mountain and right now are in the outskirts of the city. We’ve sent a delegation out to meet them. All the troops have left Baguio and we want to surrender. I’m asking all Americans not to offer any resistance. We’re civilians and we’ll seek the protection of the Geneva Convention.’

    Unknown to us the Japanese ran amok in Baguio. I remember looking back at the convent. It was one large building – the living quarters, a now deserted school and the chapel. High on a hill with a courtyard of tough Philippine concrete, it was built to withstand a typhoon.

    A bird, high in the trees above, gave a shrill cry of alarm, and then suddenly we heard howling and screeching; a horde of Japanese soldiers burst into the courtyard. We all stood quietly calm, but even though we had led sheltered lives, the intent of the soldiers was clear. Both groups stood their ground.

    Our gardener and handyman, a quiet and unassumingly devout Filipino, stepped in front of us. At that moment the soldiers moved aside as an officer strode into the courtyard. Tall for a Japanese, and strikingly handsome, I recognised him as a stallholder from the market in Baguio – we had regularly purchased fish from him, and never been aware of his identity.

    Our gardener was a brave man. He begged the officer to explain to his soldiers that nuns were not like other women, and to leave us alone. He did – but they wrecked our convent.

    Nobody was sure what they were looking for, but they tore the place apart and spared nothing. Even the beautifully hand-embroidered altar front was slashed by Japanese bayonets. Our priest, a Dominican friar who came from Belgium, was savagely beaten. We could only watch as they beat him to the ground and then kicked him near to death.

    The Japanese left. I helped carry the priest in and tend his wounds.

    Later that evening, when we had repaired as much of the damage as possible, I went out to lock the courtyard gate. I found a Japanese soldier standing there, who asked me to take him to the priest. The soldier was humbled and subdued – there was no hostility in his manner, so I took him to the bedside. The soldier knelt before the bed and begged forgiveness. I translated, and will always remember his words.

    ‘I’m Catholic, father, and I know how I should treat a priest – but in front of the others, there was nothing for me to do but beat you as I did. I have come back to ask you pardon. If the others find out I came here, they will send me to an infantry assault company, and I will surely die – but I could not live with my conscience and not come and say I’m sorry.

    Our priest gave his blessing; we knelt and prayed. The young man wept unashamedly.
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Captain Jones was one of the 70,000 men who was forced marched over 50 miles to a Japanese POW camp. With no food for days and starving he got his first experience with a relatively unknown enemy.

    I felt very uncertain and afraid. Despite the campaign, this was the first time I had come face to face with the Japanese, and none of us knew what was expected of us as prisoners of war. There were some in our group who were very sick – we helped as best we could, but none of us were strong enough to carry anyone.

    We had just come abreast of the dirt airstrip called Cabcaben Field when a battery of Jap heavy artillery opened fire on Corregidor. The island fired back, but it’s first round fell short – they burst along the road and decimated the ranks of the column ahead. Then a Japanese military policeman appeared and motioned our groups off the road into rice stubble. We were made to stand directly in front of the guns, and in plain view of Corregidor.

    The Japs made us stand there for over an hour, while guns blasted Corregidor. Our boys could see us through the range-finders and did not return fire.

    When the time came to move on, some of the men were too ill to move. The guards bayoneted them where they lay.

    From Cabcaben the road runs north and then straight up the east coast of Bataan. There were artesian wells every kilometre along the roadside. Their pure water had been used to irrigate the rice fields. Now the ground around the wells was littered with the dead, and in some where we stopped to drink, Japanese guards would urinate in the water first.

    The worst was when a convoy of enemy trucks came down the road in the opposite direction. The dust they created was bad enough, but Jap soldiers in the back thought it was great fun to knock our hats off with long bamboo poles as their trucks went past. There were many men who were knocked senseless into the path of oncoming vehicles.

    The columns became strung out and frequently we were out of sight of the ones behind and in front. This made our guards very edgy, and they made us march double time to catch up. Some of the men couldn’t maintain the pace, so they fell back through the ranks until, alone, behind the column, they were bayoneted.

    We were one of the later columns, so the road was littered with dead, who were already being picked over by Carrion birds. The smell of the dead is something I shall carry with me to the day I die.
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    A Naval Reserve officer working in Manila, Champlin was the aide to Rear Admiral Rockwell when the Japanese bombed the Naval Yard at Cavite.
    I rushed outside with a face full of lather and looked up into the clear sky. I counted a formation of 54 bombers banking high over the base. A smoke bomb burst. Then nine 3-in. Anti-aircraft batteries opened up at their maximum range of some 24,000 feet. The Japs climbed above the shell bursts.

    They turned for a second high-level pass over the base and another smoke canister was dropped, presumably to get the windage. On the third pass, the planes bombed in formation and with precision. It seemed that not a single bomb missed the base area, as the yard erupted into smoke and flame. The ground shook beneath my feet to the concussion of high explosives. The planes now dived into two formations, then came in at a lower level and dropped their incendiaries. Cavite burned.

    I ran for a car and headed for the ‘Commandancia’ or headquarters building as floods of frightened Filipino workers hit my car like a tidal wave.

    Harassed Marine guards tried to clear a way through the mob, but it was no use, so I turned into a side road. This proved just as bad – fires raged and the dead lay in the streets, so I abandoned the car and pushed through on foot.

    I found Admiral Rockwell – he had established a command post in front of the ammunition store. Hoses were directed onto the dump to keep the temperatures down. Lieutenant Commander Whitney, Captain of the Yard, came limping with his knee in a bandage, uniform torn and bloody, to report that some 800 gas masks were stored in a loft above one of the machine shops. At that moment, another report came in of fresh fires near the post office and radio station. Admiral Rockwell turned and told me the gas masks were my problem to solve.

    I flagged down a passing four-by-four and climbed aboard. I needed a working party and quick. As the truck rounded a corner near the commissary, I chanced upon a group of sailors and shouted to them to come with me.

    We got as close to the burning machine shop as we dared and I led four of the men up the outside staircase and into the loft to look for the masks. They were easy to find, stored in cans like small barrels, with six masks in each of the cans. We rolled the barrels down and tossed them over the balcony to the ground below, where the other men piled them onto hand carts and ran them out to the truck.

    We worked like fury. I remember there was a loud crack and a beam directly above split open in a shower of cascading sparks. I ordered the men out of the building. We had saved more than 700 gas masks, ready for the day, as we believed, when the Japs would use chemical weapons against us!

    We climbed on board the truck and the driver edged out into the street. Our route to safety lay between buildings which were burning on both sides. Burning debris littered our path and there were buildings caving in all around us. My driver hesitated, but I thumped him on the shoulder and urged him forward; he was only a kid, and scared to death. He crashed the gears into a low drive and the truck ground forward over the burning timbers. The sailors behind clung on with one hand and warded falling timbers off with the other. The heat was incredible. I could feel my skin tighten and begin to blister. Then we were through the tunnel of flame and into an open area.

    I stopped the truck to let the sailors down and thanked them for their efforts. One of them I remember was a bruiser of a stoker, had the sort of face that was scarred from a hundred bar-room brawls.

    It seemed the stoker was the spokesman. ‘I’m ups for a summary court martial, lieutenant’, he said. ‘Will you testify for me Sir?’

    I assured him I would, whatever his crime, only to find out the others needed the same favour. This threw me a bit, and I asked where they had all come from. It appeared they had all been in the brig and released by the Marine guards when the air raid started.

    There was no problem. I told them that the headquarters was a total wreck and all the court martial records burnt to a cinder. As far as the navy was concerned, the sailors had a clean slate, so we got on with the war.
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  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Spainhower was wounded early on in the campaign and hadn’t fully recovered when the garrison surrendered to the Japanese.
    I marched for two days without water and on the third, as our column approached Orani, the guards allowed us to drink from a small creek which stank from the decomposing remains that floated in it.

    We stayed a night at Orani. The conditions were awful. We were dumped in to fields and left until the morning – there was no food and no sanitary arrangements. The next day I was questioned by a Japanese officer, who found out I had been in a Philippine Scout battalion.

    The Japs hated the Scouts, perhaps because we beat the hell out of them at the Abucay Hacienda. Anyway, they took me outside and I was forced to watch as they buried six of my scouts alive. They made the men dig their own graves, and then had them kneel down in a pit. The guards hit them on the head with shovels to stun them and piled earth on top.

    I was made to stand to attention over the graves until eventually I collapsed with sunstroke.
  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Nishida was working with a water purification unit when he saw the ‘Death March’ for the first time.
    Before our eyes, hundreds of prisoners of war were moving along. When I looked closer, I could see they were in fact, stumbling along, half-naked, in broken boots. A fiery sun beat down on their heads. From mouth to mouth I could hear a babbling sound, ‘Water! Water!’ At first I didn’t understand what they meant, then I realised what they were asking for, so I filled my mess tin lid with clear water and gave them some to drink. A US soldier, faced burned red with the sun, kept repeating, ‘Thank you, Thank you’, with tears streaming down his face.
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Ima was the Japanese’s Philippines Expeditionary Force when they landed on the islands and describes what followed.
    Someone bawled out, ‘Wakey, Wakey, we’re here!’ of course everyone woke up. I folded my blanket and tidied it away with my life-jacket, which served as a pillow, and hurried out on deck.

    The island of Luzon was green – so beautiful a green it made you want to cry out. A bright cobalt sky, like something by Fra Angelico, stretched away over receding mountain ranges which seemed to pile up, one on top of another. By the seashore, clusters of coconut palms, between them you could make out, here and there, ‘nippa huts’, sprouting nippa palm leaves, the high-floored huts of fishermen. The sea was totally green, like molten jade, and utterly peaceful.

    As far as the eye could reach, bright primary colours. The shore must be about 2,000 metres away, but everything seemed terribly near, as if we could quite happily swim the rest of the way. We were more used to scenery which was like a water colour swathed in mist, rather than a brilliant oil painting. – But the island’s vivid green was so lustrous that it dazzled.
    I was overcome by its unfamiliarity, and quite forgot we were on enemy territory – but as I gazed, leaning over the railing of the starboard side, I saw the shape of a plane glide over the mountains. Then the ear-splitting roar as the AA guns from our ships started firing.

    Tracer shells described a red arc. In the distance another plane, hugging the ground, seeming to be sweeping the landing units with machine-gun fire. From another ship, more AA fire howled up into the sky. In the intervals of all this racket, you could near bursts of rifle fire. The enemy planes did not seem to be coming for the convoy, which was moving into Lingayen Gulf, but were concentrating on the landing units close into the shore. Like someone passing out lines of red tape, the tracer was cast up into the sky like so many threads trying to trap the enemy planes in their fibres. They sped away, without approaching the convoy. ‘You asked for it!’, shouts went up from those who had been watching.

    With that, the battle came to an end. After the enemy planes had beat a retreat, all there was was an innocent, clear morning sky.
  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Attached to a Japanese Signals Unit, Maeda was working behind the US lines keeping his HQ up to date with enemy movements.
    Our boundary was the road running across the peninsula. We used to wait for nightfall every day, then slip into the area held by the enemy. I was attached to No.3 Company, and had with me a No.6 Wireless Transmitter Set. I was responsible for following officer patrols and reporting the reconnaissance of enemy positions. If we came across an enemy patrol from the US/Filipino Army, we would hide among the trees; let the enemy pass on, then open fire and attack.

    Noticing that fire was coming from the rear, what looked like their own positions, the US/Filipino troops would flee in amazement. Another time we were going through the pitch-dark forest and the US/Filipino Army wire loomed up in front of us. Everyone kept absolutely quiet as I typed out my message.
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Murata was serving with III Company, 1st Battalion when his troops were loading into landing craft. They were to land at Limay, a town on the east coast of Bataan and they were to attack Corregidor.
    Our regiment was clearly marked out as a suicide unit, the whole lot of us. Because of this, we all cut our hair and nails and left them behind as souvenirs for relatives. At 7pm we finished embarkation. I had made up my mind that I was going to die.

    Before embarking on the landing craft, we received detailed instructions. According to these, while the landing craft were on the sea, the artillery positions on Bataan would continue to pour a fierce gunfire bombardment into Corregidor. It was indicated that the landings should take place after the shelling stopped, in two or three minutes. However, things were not to pan out so gracefully. On the contrary, the too-detailed arrangements caused an unheard-of number of casualties among the first wave to land.

    At the signal, ‘Approaching shore’, everyone dashed out of the landing craft. But they had not reached the coastline, and in the pitch-black night the men hurled themselves into the sea and were soaked to the skin. Bullets poured point-blank into them, and when they finally managed to struggle ashore, right in front of them were perpendicular cliffs about 10 metres high. They put their hands out to touch the cliffs, and felt a queer, slippery sensation. When they looked closer, they saw that the rock surface of the cliff was running with coal tar. The men closed up to the cliff and tried to tackle it with hands and feet, but all they got was slimy, slippery sensation – it was quite impossible to climb it . . . .

    Preparations had been made for an assault landing, and we expected to be placed in that sort of situation. Luckily for us, as the unit came up to the rock face of the cliff, the enemy fire could not reach us. So we threw up the ropes we’d prepared for the landing and reached the cliff top by hauling ourselves up on the ropes.
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Captured when the American forces on Bataan surrendered, he joined the Death March and was interned by the Japanese. In April 1943, Captain Dyess was one of three prisoners able to escape from their captors. Captain Dyess eventually made his way back to America where his story was published after his death in late 1943.

    We join his story as he encounters his first atrocity of the March:

    The victim, an air force captain, was being searched by a three-star private. Standing by was a Jap commissioned officer, hand on sword hilt. These men were nothing like the toothy, bespectacled runts whose photographs are familiar to most newspaper readers. They were cruel of face, stalwart, and tall

    The private a little squirt, was going through the captain's pockets. All at once he stopped and sucked in his breath with .a hissing sound. He had found some Jap yen.

    He held these out, ducking his head and sucking in his breath to attract notice. The big Jap looked at the money. Without a word he grabbed the captain by the shoulder and shoved him down to his knees. He pulled the sword out of the scabbard and raised it high over his head, holding it with both hands. The private skipped to one side.

    Before we could grasp what was happening, the black-faced giant had swung his sword. I remember how the sun flashed on it. There was a swish and a kind of chopping thud, like a cleaver going through beef.

    The captain's head seemed to jump off his 'shoulders. It hit the ground in front of him and went rolling crazily from side to side between the lines of prisoners.

    The body fell forward. I have seen wounds, but never such a gush of. blood as this. The heart continued to pump for a few seconds and at each beat there was another great spurt of blood. The white dust around our feet was turned into crimson mud. I saw the hands were opening and closing spasmodically. Then I looked away.

    When I looked again the big Jap had put up his sword and was strolling off. The runt who had found the yen was putting them into his pocket. He helped himself to the captain's possessions.

    This was the first murder. . .

    As the prisoners were herded north they collided with advancing Japanese troops moving to the south, forcing a brief halt to the march:
    Eventually the road became so crowded we were marched into a clearing. Here, for two hours, we had our first taste of the oriental sun treatment, which drains the stamina and weakens the spirit.

    The Japs seated us on the scorching ground, exposed to the full glare of the sun. Many of the Americans and Filipinos had no covering to protect their heads. I was beside a small bush but it cast no shade because the sun was almost directly above us. Many of the men around me were ill.

    When I thought I could stand the penetrating heat no longer. I was determined to have a sip of the tepid water in my canteen. I had no more than unscrewed the top when the aluminum flask was snatched from my hands. The Jap who had crept up behind me poured the water into a horse’s nose-bag, then threw down the canteen. He walked on among the prisoners, taking away their water and pouring it into the bag. When he had enough he gave it to his horse.

    The parade of death continues its journey as its members inevitably succumb to the heat, the lack of food and the lack of water:

    The hours dragged by and, as we knew they must. The drop-outs began. It seemed that a great many of the prisoners reached the end of their endurance at about the same time. They went down by twos and threes. Usually, they made an effort to rise. I never can forget their groans and strangled breathing as they tried to get up. Some succeeded. Others lay lifelessly where they had fallen.

    I observed that the Jap guards paid no attention to these. I wondered why. The explanation wasn't long in coming. There was a sharp crackle of pistol and rifle fire behind us.

    Skulking along, a hundred yards behind our contingent, came a 'clean-up squad' of murdering Jap buzzards. Their helpless victims, sprawled darkly against the white, of the road, were easy targets.

    As members of the murder squad stooped over each huddled form, there would be an orange 'flash in the darkness and a sharp report. The bodies were left where they lay, that other prisoners coming behind us might see them.

    Our Japanese guards enjoyed the spectacle in silence for a time. Eventually, one of them who spoke English felt he should add a little spice to the entertainment.

    Sleepee?' he asked. 'You want sleep? Just lie down on road. You get good long sleep!'

    On through the night we were followed by orange flashes and thudding sounds.

    Finally, after five days without food and limited water, the dwindling column arrives at its destination:

    The sun still was high in the sky when we straggled into San Fernando, a city of 36,000 population, and were put in a barbed wire compound similar to the one at Orani. We were seated in rows for a continuation of the sun treatment. Conditions here were the worst yet.

    The prison pen was jammed with sick, dying, and dead American and Filipino soldiers. They were sprawled amid the filth and maggots that covered the ground. Practically all had dysentery. Malaria and dengue fever appeared to be running unchecked. There were symptoms of other tropical diseases I didn't even recognize.

    Jap guards had shoved the worst cases beneath the rotted flooring of some dilapidated building. Many of these prisoners already had died. The others looked as though they couldn't survive until morning.

    There obviously had been no burials for many hours.

    After sunset Jap soldiers entered and inspected our rows.

    Then the gate was opened again and kitchen corpsmen entered with cans of rice. We held our mess kits and again passed lids to those who had none. Our spirits rose. We watched as the Japs ladled out generous helpings to the men nearest the gate.

    Then, without explanation, the cans were dragged away and the gate was closed. It was a repetition of the ghastly farce at Balanga. The fraud was much more cruel this time because our need. was vastly greater. In our bewildered state it took some time for the truth to sink in. When it did we were too discouraged even to swear.
  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Some Pictures from the USNA, Life and private
    This picture, captured from the Japanese, shows American prisoners using improvised litters to carry those of their comrades who, from the lack of food or water on the march from Bataan, fell along the road.
  19. China Hand

    China Hand No Longer A Forum Member

    No worries, I will read with interest later :)
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    American prisoners of war celebrate the 4th of July in the Japanese prison camp of Casisange in Malaybalay, on Mindanao, P.I. It was against Japanese regulations and discovery would have meant death, but the men celebrated the occasion anyway.

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