b. Naval Forces: Detachments,
Task Force 78.3.
c. Air Forces: Elements, Fifth
Air Force including 317th Troop Carrier Wing
503d Regimental Combat Team was alerted on 3 February 1945 for the
probable mission of seizing Nichols Field, Luzon, P.I. Preparations
began immediately, which included checking and replacing combat
equipment and detailed planning for the movement and mission. The
mission was cancelled on 5 February; however, the next day the RCT was
again alerted far the mission of seizing and securing Corregidor Island,
PI. beginning 16 February. Preparations continued with the substitution
of details applicable to the new mission. During
phase, many officers made reconnaissance flights incidental to bombing
raids on the target area. On 12 February, the RCT plans were completed
and Field Order :No.9 was issued to the lower units. These plans were
put into operation immediately, and the preparatory phase was closed
when the 3d Battalion, 503d Inf., Btry "C", 462d FA Bn, Co “C” 161st A/B
Engineers and elements of Regimental Headquarters Company enplaned at
Elmore and Hill Airstrips, San Jose, Mindoro, P. I. at 0700 hour, 16
February. The second lift left San Jose at 1100 hour 16 February. This
lift was composed of the 2d Battalion, 503d Parachute Infantry, Battery
"B", 462d FA Bn, Service Co and elements of Regt'l Hq Co. The third lift
left San Jose at 0700 hour 17 February. This was composed of the 1st Bn,
503d Parachute Infantry, Btry "A", 462d FA Bn and the
remainder of Regt'l Hq Co. The fourth lift (Resupply) left San Jose at
1200 hour, 17 February.
Only one plane of the first
two lifts failed to reach the target area. This plane contained the
Demolition Section of the Third Battalion Combat Team, developed engine
trouble and the plane load was forced to lump in the vicinity of
Castillejos, Luzon. No casualties were sustained and the section was
returned to Mindoro and arrived on Corregidor Island with the 1st
Battalion the next day.
The first flight began
dropping on Corregidor at 0833 hour. At 1000 hour, the jump fields were
secured for the subsequent flights. Initial opposition on top of the
Rock was light; however, a high wind swept many jumpers outside the
intended jump area, some becoming casualties by the action of the enemy
entrenched along the coast. Forward elements were able to secure high
ground overlooking the beach and support by fire the landing of the 3d
Battalion, 34th infantry as it arrived on schedule. Naval support fire
was called on to help silence the intense, automatic weapons
fire which the 34th Infantry Battalion was subjected to. Land mines at
the waters edge and on the beach destroyed several of our vehicles
including tanks, jeeps, and a dukw containing essential radio equipment
communications with Corps Hqs. The second flight began dropping at 1240
hour. Again the high wind, the cratered condition and smallness of the
jump fields caused considerable number of casualties. Nevertheless, the
2d Bn Combat team was able to immediately relieve the 3d Bn of its
position of the perimeter. This drop successfully completed the second
phase of the battle for Corregidor, the landing of the assault troops.
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for the destruction of the enemy of Corregidor was to contain that
portion located on the eastern end of the Island with a blo0ck by the 3d
Bn, 34th Inf at Malinta Hill while the 503d RCT destroyed his forces on
the western end. This done, our troops would move to the eastern end and
destroy the enemy there. This plan went into effect without delay. Heavy
fighting and constant vigilance were necessitated by the 3d Bn 34th Inf
to accomplish this mission, especially in the Malinta area. All enemy
attempts to break through this blockade were repulsed. Meanwhile, on the
western end of the Island, the 503d RCT took possession of the
commanding ground against comparatively light opposition as the
enemy had prepared most of its positions in anticipation of a waterborne
attack and the pre-invasion bombing had destroyed much of his higher
placed defenses. From the commanding ground thus taken, our forces began
the systematic destruction of a far numerically superior enemy, well
entrenched in innumerable intercommunicating caves, tunnels, and
prepared positions in the cliffs along the coastline. It was evident at
once that the enemy plan of action was to allow our forces to attack
while he fought from these formidable positions. Meanwhile, the 1st Bn,
503d RCT landed by water on February 17, its scheduled drop having been
cancelled because of the same extreme hazards that had been confronted
the previous drops. This landing, too, was the target of heavy automatic
and sniper fire which pinned the Bn to the beach area for a while. Again
naval fire assisted materially in the silencing of it. The Bn then
proceeded quickly to take its assigned place in the perimeter on
"Topside" and began assaulting enemy positions within its sector. During
the period from 16 February through 22 February our systematic
destruction of the enemy fell into a familiar and extremely effective
pattern; direct fire of artillery used as assault weapons on enemy
emplacements, naval and/or air bombardment followed by immediate ground
attack. The entire western end of the island was divided into three Bn
sectors of responsibility. In proportion enemy casualties far exceeded
ours. As it became apparent to the enemy that our tactics were fast
destroying him. he became desperate and changed his own. At 0130 19
February he exploded one of his own arsenals, that were located under a
building being used as a Company CP. Our casualties were heavy; however
a prisoner later disclosed that the explosion had destroyed forty (40)
of their own troops who had known that they had no chance of escape.
Later the same day at 0530 hr, an organised attack in force was made
against our perimeter. The battle that followed lasted until 0800 hr at
which time the enemy withdrew. A few of the enemy penetrated as far as
Two Bn CP's before being killed. We sustained numerous casualties
although few in comparison to those inflicted. No other organised attack
was made during the period on the western end of the Island. A few of
the familiar "banzai" attacks were made, but in relatively small
numbers. The enemy resorted to suicidal attacks of self destruction
always attempting to take as many of our troops as possible to death
with them. Arsenals and fuel dumps were fired upon our approach, and
hand grenades are exploded in the close proximity of the throwers. The
entire Island was rocked from an explosion emanating from the Malinta
tunnel at 2130 hr 21 Feb. From prisoner statements and captured
documents, the tunnel was known to contain high quantities of ammo and
demolitions and, at one time, a minimum of two thousand personnel. It
was later learned from prisoners that the blowing of this arsenal had
for its purpose the destruction of troops blocking the western end of
the Island (vicinity) of Malinta Hill). An immediate attack was to be
launched in force with the objective "Topside". The explosion did
succeed in burying a few of our
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troops in a resulting landslide, but the same
landslide completely blocked the only road around the south side of
Malinta Hill. The attack that started around the north side of the hill
ran head long into the mortar concentration and heavy machine gun and
tank fire of the firmly placed 3d Battalion of the 34th Infantry. The
enemy withdrew after suffering extremely heavy casualties. As our
assaults continued, the enemy suffered even more heavily. All the varied
resources at our.
command were thrown at him in a very effective manner. Lucrative bombing
targets were bombed by both demolition and Napalm bombs with devastating
effect. Naval gun fire pin pointed his tunnels and caves and our
artillery and mortar concentrations at night gave him no chance to
organize. Most effective, however, was the action of our ground troops.
As the enemy was searched out in his caves, our flame throwers played
havoc and our rockets, grenades, and demolition either blasted him out
of existence or buried him alive. The number actually buried in this
manner can never be counted, but it is known to be considerable. With no
reinforcements whatever, the enemy's number dwindled rapidly in the
western sector. Except for moping up the relatively few enemy still
remaining in the caves in the western end, our troops were ready for the
fourth phase - destruction of the enemy on the eastern end of
As the end
of the campaign on the western sector became apparent, heavy air and
naval bombardment began softening the eastern sector of the Island,
preparatory for the ground assault. At 0830 hour, 24 February, this
assault began, following the now very familiar pattern of close support
from the air and naval bombardment, supplemented this time by
rolling barrages, immediately preceding the ground troops, from the
massed batteries of the artillery. The attack progressed swiftly as the
enemy either retreated or was destroyed when he attempted delaying
action. As he began to become pressed into the far eastern end of the
Island, the enemy again resorted to his
suicidal tactics. At 0300 hour, 25 February he began an attack in force
that ended disastrously for him. Three hundred (300) of an estimated six
hundred (600) were killed when massed artillery fire on his expected
concentration areas landed in the midst of the assembled attackers. Our
small arms fire accounted for another one hundred and thirty-five (135).
Here the enemy began to show even greater desperation, as many attempted
to evacuate the island by swimming. Some of these were taken prisoner by
the patrolling PT boats and the LCPs, some were destroyed by strafing
planes and many were intercepted by allied troops operating on Bataan.
On 25 February, an important part of the Rock Force, the 3d Bn, 34th
Infantry was relieved by the 2d Bn, 151st Infantry. The 34th Infantry
excellent participation in the campaign accounted for eight hundred and
fifteen (815) enemy dead. The 151st Infantry Battalion was to prove
equally effective. At 1110 hour, 26 February, the enemy committed his
last great act of desperation. As our troops approached the under ground
radio installations in the vicinity of Monkey Point, the enemy exploded
another huge arsenal contained in the underground room and communicating
tunnels of the radio installations. A ravine was created where a hill
had been and as a result we suffered almost as many casualties as the
enemy. We had one hundred and ninety six (196) dead and wounded. This
act eliminated the last concentration of enemy in force and led to the
final phase of the campaign, mopping up the entire island.
A great number of enemy
remained on the island as the final phase began on 27 February, but were
in comparatively small groups hiding in the innumerable caves that ring
the entire coast. Two Bn's were stationed in each sector of the island
as our patrols began the task
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of searching out these caves. Where
possible, aerial bombardment, naval and artillery gun fire and mortar
concentrations, closely followed by ground assault destroyed the enemy
and minimized our gore. losses. When this was not practical,
our patrols eliminated the enemy with hand grenades, small arms fire and
flame throwers. Many were buried alive when our demolitionists sealed
the caves, as enemy screams rang in their ears, and the Japs
committed hari kari with hand grenades. Thus the enemy was destroyed and
Corregidor was again ours.
On 2 March 1945 the operation
was officially. closed when the Rock Force Commander, Colonel George M.
Jones, presented Fortress Corregidor to the Commander-in-Chief, General
Douglas MacArthur. The Stars and Stripes were then raised to
fly over the Rock."
learned and noteworthy data.
a. General Observations:
remains one of the chief weapons of warfare. Had the enemy forces
considered a parachute landing feasible on the "Topside" and defended
likely drop areas, the task of securing a foothold on the commanding
ground would have been hardly possible by vertical envelopment.
must be indoctrinated with the idea of pushing on while in the assault
in order to provide safe movement of aid men to the wounded. This is
much more to be desired than stopping and rendering personal assistance.
(3) Troops should be trained
in the use of all weapons whenever time permits.
unit Commanders should use any field expediency that can be improvised
immediately when the exact type of weapon needed is unavailable for the
reduction of an obstacle or the accomplishment of a mission.
grenades are unstable when left out of the carton and exposed to the
sun's rays. An ammo dump was fired and destroyed and equipment was lost
when this precaution was overlooked.
Observations applicable to Parachute Operations:
(1) Parachutists can be
dropped to advantage on seemingly impossible terrain if dropped in
sufficiently small "sticks" to enable each jumper to effect a spot
landing. The transport pilots
thoroughly briefed and indoctrinated with their supreme importance of
precision flying over the drop zone. Both drop zones used in this
mission were approximately 100 yds by 150 yds, cratered, covered with
debris and snags, and surrounded by steep cliffs and wrecked
buildings. In all cases the parachute commander must expect to take
losses due to jump injuries in proportion to suitability of terrain as
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(2) A command plane that can
control the flight of the dropping planes is considered vital to the
success of a drop.
(3) "Control pattern" rigging
is the most satisfactory method that can be employed in dropping 75mm
howitzers by parachutes. The "daisy chain" made up of three door-bundles
should be shortened to a minimum at minimum altitude of 600 feet.
(4) Artillery ammo dropped by
parachute should have a rugged container similar to the wooden clover
crate to prevent damage to the ammunition when dropped on terrain
covered with obstacles. The M8 and M9 are too cumbersome for the ammo
carried by each.
plan. should be made for the quick evacuation of personnel injured on
the jump from the (illegible).
c. Tactical Observations:
in the normal plan of operation, i.e., dawn attack, pre-dawn attack,
night attack, etc. will often catch the enemy off guard. Generally our
troops attack too late after dawn to get the maximum use of daylight.
The enemy seems to not expect an attack until several hours after
advancing infantry must supplement each other by fire in the
units must maintain lateral contact.
where the complete destruction of caves and enemy emplacements are
necessary for the security of the assault troops, engineer or
specialized demolition troops should destroy them and thus preclude any
delay in the assault.
discipline both during the day and especially at night cannot be
Assault unit Commanders should
if possible personally check the organized ground of his unit and the
emplacement of his automatic weapons when establishing a defensive
perimeter for the night.
unit Commanders should request the establishment of a "barrage line" in
close defense by FA sufficiently. early to permit registration prior to
applicable to Infantry Operations:
Japanese interpreter attached to ROT Headquarters enabled advance
elements to be using very valuable
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on enemy dispositions and
weapons within two hours after the capture of prisoners. A Japanese
interpreter should be attached and jump with Regt'l Hq group on every
reliance should not be placed on G-2 estimates of enemy strength and
disposition prior to actually verifying them in the objective area.
applicable to Parachute Infantry Organizations:
advantage of having three, four-gun, light machine gun platoons in each
Bn Hq Co instead of one eight-gun platoon was again confirmed. This
provisional organization has been employed by this Regiment for fifteen
organization of three rifle platoons of three rifle squads each and a
fourth platoon of three sixty mm mortars in each rifle company continued
to prove a superior organization IP the present T.O. organization of
three rifle platoons of two rifle squads and one sixty mm mortar squad
each. This provisional organization has been employed in this Regiment
for fifteen months.
applicable to Field Artillery Operations:
A five man artillery liaison
party is believed to be more desirable than a three man party.
Charges 2 &
3, regardless of type of shell being fired, when used as a direct
assault weapon are believed to be the most practical to insure against
excessive wear on 75mm howitzers.
terrain is very hard, brush and logs should be used to
cushion the gun trail while firing 75mm howitzers. This reduces the
danger of bending the rear trail.
should be bore sighted as often as practicable prior to firing when in
very close support of infantry and being used as assault weapons.
(5) It is believed
that massed surprise artillery fire at night on likely areas of enemy
troop concentrations is often more demoralizing and effective than
howitzers can be very effectively used as assault weapons in
the reductions of enemy strong points. By employing two howitzers firing
from different-positions on one emplacement, the destructive
effectiveness of the howitzers is increased.
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outstanding feature of the operations was the effective coordination of
the supporting arms, naval gunfire, aerial bombardment and strafing, and
field artillery. Naval, air, and artillery forward observers all working
together with assault elements were able to recommend the type of
supporting fire most suitable for the reduction of any specific
emplacement. Forward observers from all supporting arms should be with
the assault elements.
bombing with five hundred pound bombs can be very accurate and
effective. Assaulting ground troops taking advantage of the shock effect
produced by bombardment can easily destroy enemy in emplacements not
materially damaged by aerial bombardment itself.
specialized weapons, such as rocket launchers, flame
throwers, and demolitions should be far enough forward to be available
to an assault unit commander on very short notice.
applicable to weapons:
operating spring on the Ml rifle is invariably weakened by continued
firing of rifle grenades. This weakened condition of the spring causes
the weapon to fail to feed.
grenades, W.P. mortar, and W.P. artillery shells are invaluable in
effective reduction of enemy strong points.
Observations applicable to Communications: Operating conditions were
ideal for maximum performance of radio equipment. SCR E36, SCR 300, SCR
694, and SCR 610 all gave excellent performance.
applicable to Supply:
practicable no one type of transportation should be relied upon entirely
for resupply of parachute troops; overland, overwater, and aerial
resupply should all be employed.
aerial resupply of communication equipment and batteries should always
be. included in the plan of operation.
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In order to
insure availability of automatic weapons, a 10 or 15 per cent
additional supply of mortars, machine guns, rocket launcher,
BARS and 75 mm pack howitzers should be dropped on the initial resupply
at earliest practicable time after the jump.
GEORGE M. JONES
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