Bill Bailey

I am left with trying to reconstruct the plan of that night, the 18th,  from memory and what notes I could find. As best I can recollect, Lt. Browne, S-3 of 2nd Battalion came to my Command Post in a bombed out building on the Cheney Ravine end of the "Long Barracks" about 11:00 hours that day and instructed me to take and hold the two small hills about 300 yards toward Cheney Ravine.  I made a reconnaissance, then divided the company into 2 platoons, since we were decimated by casualties.  I put Lt. Bill Calhoun in command of the left flank hill attacking force,  while I took the right hill attacking force.

We carried the two hills by about 1400-1500 hours.  As soon as the men dug in, I sent every man but a few back to supply, with instructions to hurry over and hurry back with all the ammo they could carry.   It was lonesome out there with a skeleton crew, because in case of a counterattack with much force we would not have been able to hold it.  Fortunately that did not occur and we were soon back together again with plenty of small arms ammo, frag and W.P. grenades, and 60 mm mortar rounds.

The day was waning by then. As we approached the twilight, but not there, we heard the firing start up on the company's left flank where Al Turinsky's "D" Company was busy.  I do not recall any order to tie the defence with Turinsky and seem to think that each company was to set up strong points on the objective assigned and to hold,  since the distance between strong points was so short and the absence of cover so universal out there that everyone could see everyone else.  We had a good idea where Al Turinsky was and the firing got our attention so we would not be firing into them.

I'm not sure when the Banzai attack got going.  Seems to me it was about 2300 hours, when we began hearing them whooping and hollering down at the ocean shoreline.  This became organized,  into one voice yelling for a few seconds,  then the crowd roaring Banzai! Banzai! Banzai!  It went on for maybe an hour or so and then the fire fight began.  I'm not sure if the firing started with "D" Co. or "F" Co. but it was soon all along that front.  The Japs were soon very close to us and I never heard so many grenades go off before, or since.  The Nips had plenty and we had plenty and to this day I feel the hair stand up on the back of my neck when some child fires a cap pistol near me.  It sounds so much like a grenade cap going off.

It was well toward noon the next day before the situation was under control in our area and one could move about without getting shot at.  We learned about ten that Al had been killed and "D" Company pretty badly mauled.  We were happy when Browne pulled "F" Co. back to the vicinity of the old Post Exchange-Post Theatre for some rest.  I'm not sure but seem to remember that we counted 135 Japs dead in and around our position."

The Japanese made their only sustained effort to recapture Topside.  They had held their better trained troops, the marines, in bombproof shelters in the Grubbs Ravine area and had sent two forces up to take Topside.  The north force struck "F" Company and the south force struck "D" company.  I think they held their poorer trained troops in defensive positions since it takes less training to defend than to attack.

We still had seen no movement from the other half of our company. Bailey's narrative explains why. They were still having their own problems.

Edward "Russian" Porzuczek

Do you realize everything you threw at the Japs came on top of our hill?  We couldn't put our heads up to check what was going on.  You guys sure fired up a storm.

When they moved they, too, drew fire.


Bill Bailey

Our situation was now eased from the east, but every time we raised up, we drew LMG and rifle fire from the trolley car area on our north. The LMG was under one of the two trolley cars. We had a bazooka with ammunition.  The gunner fired several rounds into the car floors, but the wood was so rotten and soft that the rounds would not detonate. Pfc Bill McDonald was an excellent marksman with any weapon.  The bazooka gunner had been shaken by the Jap Nambu giving him haircuts and was ready to let someone else try his weapon.  I asked Bill if he could hit the rails under the cars. He did it on the first try, and to prove it no fluke he was able to hit the rails several more times until the Nambu was silenced for good. The flying steel tore the gun up as well as the enemy under both cars.

One Jap survived and crawled out from under the cars and sat facing us with his legs crossed. He held both arms extended above his head and would bow toward us. We could not tell if he was asking to surrender or if he was praying. I apprised Bailey of the situation. He said that the regiment was desperate for prisoners, so much so that Col Jones had said that anyone capturing a prisoner would be given 3 days R & R at the first opportunity and for us to try and take the man alive.

I sent a patrol down, relating Colonel Jones's promise as motivation, for it was difficult under these circumstances to care any more about an individual, but warned them to shoot if he tried anything. Our men were wary and knowledgeable enough of the Japs by now to make such a warning unnecessary, but I did anyhow.  As the patrol neared the Jap, he picked up a hand grenade from his lap and died immediately.

They withdrew,  unaware that some of the bodies nearby were not quite dead. George Mikel, our runner, would find this out later.


John Bartlett


Early that afternoon I was looking down the north side of the hill and saw those Jap big machine guns in front of the trolley cars.  I asked Bandt to go down and help me get them so they wouldn't be used on us that night.  We took our M1's and a bandolier of ammo.  When we reached the trolley cars there were 4 Japs in a hole to the left about 25 feet from the cars.  When the guys on top of the hill saw what was happening several came down to help us. I remember George Mikel going around the back of those trolley cars when 4 Japs jumped him and tried to get a grenade down the front of his jacket.  I still laugh when I think of him running around, shouting "They're alive! Shoot them!"  After we took care of the Japs we took several machine guns and rifles back up the hill.

Bill Bailey has stated  that their force on Way Hill killed 135 Japs. Our count was about 315. We counted and estimated about 200 dead enemy in Maggot Valley. We had to use some estimation, because the Japs had dragged many bodies into craters. We did not remove the bodies to count them. Two very large craters on Grubbs Road were filled to the top, as well as several smaller craters. We made this count the next day, 20 Feb. There 70 bodies in between our east defenses and the crater, about 30 down in the railroad cut, and 15 in the crater adjoining the cut.


Edward "Russian"


"The day of the banzai attack?  It was the most exciting day I ever had.  That night I was with Bailey on Way Hill . Third squad was on the opposite side of the hill the Japs attacked.  I happened to have a good position, with a big rock in front of me.  Colonel Jones happened to be inspecting the hill that afternoon.  He stopped in front of my position and noticed no one on the right flank.  I happened to be the nearest to him, and so was Morgan, and he told us to go to the right flank and protect a little road. Morgan and me crawled out there on the flank and laid on the flat ground.  No protection.  It was pretty dark.  While going to the flank I noticed Ballard and Sedinger in a 500 lb bomb crater.  Soon it got dark.  About an hour later I noticed one, two, three, four, five Japs coming out of a hole in the mountain.  After counting up to twenty Japs, and more coming, they were about 60 or 70 yards away.  I nudged Morgan.  He had seen them, too.  We decided to go to Ballard's position.  I pulled the pin out of my grenade and started crawling to Ballard's 500 lb crater.  Real, real slow, Morgan behind me whispered "Ballard, Ballard."  Pretty soon I heard Ballard say "Here."  Morgan and me crawled into Ballard's and Sedinger's crater.  I got to the bottom of the crater and Ballard asked

"What did you see?"

"A shithouse full of Japs."   

"Why didn't you stay there?" 

"Because they were about to trip on me."

While I was talking to him,  I mean whispering to him, I was trying to put the pin back in the hole.  I must have released it too far.  I heard a pop and so did the others in the hole.  They got out on the top and I was in the bottom of the hole.  I tried also to get out of the hole but where I stood the dirt was soft and I couldn't get out so I hit the dirt.  All I got was dirt on me. Ballard came back to where I was standing.

"Was that a Jap grenade?"

"No, it was mine."

So after cussing me up he had the pin out of his phosphorus grenade. Remember, I was on the bottom of the crater with Ballard.  Soon I hear a pop again. Ballard did the same thing I did, released the grenade too far!  After trying to get out of the crater Ballard and me hit the ground again.  

Seddinger and Morgan were on top again and got out.  The phosphorus lit our hole up like daylight.  My rifle butt was on fire.  Ballard's helmet had fire on it.  We climbed to the top of the crater and awaited the Japs to attack or at least to check out the light. Ballard ate dirt. Porzuczek was shit scared.

After laying there and shaking like hell nothing happened.  After about a half hour we heard Banzai.  They attacked Calhoun's Hill.  But now I realize the Japs knew we were there all the time.  They wanted Hearn  I think. I had more exciting days but the two grenades going off in the same hole with the banzai was my most screwed up and exciting day."


Fred Morgan was killed the afternoon of the 19th, in front of the Ordnance Machine Shop. 


Frank Zurovec

Russian and Fred Morgan had crawled up the hill to the crater defended by S/Sgt Carl Ballard and Pvt Alvin Seddinger.  I shared a position next to Ballard's crater with my assistant gunner, Pfc John Shannon. We witnessed the grenade episodes.  Our activities for the night consisted pretty much of throwing grenades, and keeping our heads down.

John Bartlett

The next morning we were under fire from the railroad cut where the tracks ran through the east side of the hill. THE NIGHT OF A THOUSAND HOURS Pasqualle Rugio was killed at this timeIt was Burl Martin on the mortar team that cleaned out the Jap with mortar fire going down the ditch.  We were no longer under fire for the rest of the morning. (This story is given at greater detail in The Night of A Thousand Hours.)


Any joy we felt at surviving the night was lost when disturbing news came in as movement recommenced at dawn.  "D" company had been overrun by the Japs during the night. News was sketchy, but they said casualties were heavy.  We did learn right off that the commanding officer, 1st Lt Joseph A. "Al" Turinsky, was among those killed. A large force of the enemy had attacked them sometime after midnight. 

Later we learned that indeed their poor position and lack of time to set-up the best defense they could have accomplished,  was the primary cause of the heavy casualties. The southern force of the Jap defending force had quietly moved up from Cheney Ravine's south slope and were among the D Company defenders before their presence was known.  Not only this, but since D Company was strung out along the ridge, the Japs struck them in the middle, making contact first with the mortar platoon, under 1st Lt. John L. Lindgren and then Company Headquarters, their weakest point.


"D" company's poor position had cost them dearly.  At the Army and GHQ level this was a minor incident which may not have even been known, or if it was,  might have been passed off as only a dozen men losing their lives.  The 503d was a small and tightly-knit unit,  and at platoon level, the life of every man was vitally important.  The combat leaders did all they could to protect each life, but what might seem an inconsequential mistake at the general staff level, specifically G-2, had profound and lasting consequences amongst the men, who feel, even to this day,  that the great G-2 blunder led to the loss of these D Company men.

  Evidently the North force was to come up Maggot Valley en route to Topside several hours ahead of the Cheney force.  They were to make a lot of noise and attract a lot of attention.  By their numbers and determination they would bull their way through and some would reach Topside.  Had the entire force succeeded in passing Hearn Magazine, the path  to Topside lay open. This  would have put both the headquarters and the high ground in serious jeopardy,  for there were  no reserves.  With the troopers on Topside desperately defending the barracks, the southern force would quietly slip up Cheney Trail, overrun "D" company and storm across Topside finishing us off there.  The Japanese plan had merit,  but faltered when the majority split, with one thrust going over to attack Way Hill and the other to attack Hearn Magazine from the rear. 


Corregidor could go from nothing at all to a million miles an hour within the space of a few seconds. We were taking a break (notice that we are not wearing our webbing) when we heard shooting at the base of Way Hill. Frank Morgan had looked through into the covered area, and had been shot at the price of his curiosity.  Mortars, and even a 75mm howitzer firing direct across its iron sights couldn't finish the Japs off. Cold steel had to finish the job.

The Ordnance Machine Shop where Fred Morgan was killed.

The Ordnance Machine Shop in 2010.