"boston"

Battery B” 60th coast artillery (a.a.)
 

by Capt. Arthur E. Huff

 

November 28, 1941

 The 1st Battalion, 60th CA (AA) held a routine training Night Road March on the evening of November 28, 1941.  Upon returning to the barracks about 8.45 P.M.., with his Battery, Captain Arthur E. Huff (C.O. of Battery "B"), found orders to hold the Battery in readiness and to report to Battalion Headquarters.  At Battalion Headquarters, Capt. Huff was informed that the situation was critical, all leaves and passes were cancelled, and that he should take his battery to its War Position on an alert status immediately.  Returning to the Barracks, the minimum manning details were sent to the War Position under Capt. L.C. Baldwin, the Executive Officer.  The Battery was reported "Ready for Action" at 9.50 P.M.

The balance of the Battery were ordered to take their showers and stand by with Field Equipment.  As soon as this was accomplished, Capt. Huff too, ordered them to the War Position and the first detail was sent back to the Barracks to take their showers and pick up their Field Equipment.

 

November 29, 1941

'We Rule the Heavens.'

 

The morning of November 29, 1941, the Anti-Aircraft Defenses of Corregidor were placed on "M" Day Status.

The service rings were placed in the fuze cutters and the minimum manning crews (i.e. Two 3" Guns, 2 Machine Guns, and the Range Section) were kept at the position, while the rest of the men were sent back to the Barracks in small Details to move the necessary equipment to the War Position, to live at the position with the maximum comfort and even luxury that was possible.

The evening meal on November 29, 1941 was served from the Field Kitchen.

The Service Ammunition was cleaned and made ready for Action, a system of Air Guards (Lookouts) established and work continued on strengthening the Splinter protection...(missing text).... putting the practice rings in the fuze cutter was held on only 1 gun at a time so as to have 3 guns always ready for action.  The Air Missions for Drill were cancelled on Dec. 1.

By this time, a Field Day Room had been set up with one of the Batteries Pool Tables, Magazines and Barber Shop equipment.

December 2, 1941

Instructions were issued on Dec. 2, authorizing the granting of 24 hour passes to not to exceed 3% of the Battery Personnel and on Dec. 3, Capt. Baldwin  was transferred to 1st Battalion Headquarters as Battalion Adjutant.

December 5 1941

 

 

Instructions  were received on Dec. 5, that friendly aircraft would give  an identification signal when approaching Corregidor.  At 9.10 P.M. of this date, a report was received that Enemy Aircraft, probably on a Reconnaissance mission, were over Monaboli and orders were received to fire on the leading element if the planes app­roached Corregidor.

Battery B went on Post Guard on Dec. 5, with Capt.. Huff as O.D., Lieut. D. E. Wiser as O.G. and about half the enlisted personnel on post.  Lieuts. Chevalier and Crawford remained with the balance of the battery  at the War Position.

December 5, 1941

On Dec. 6, orders were received not to fire on planes during the day time unless they were positively identified as enemy but that at night all planes not giving recognition signal were to be fired on.

December 7- 8, 1941

The following orders and instructions were received on the momentous night of Dec. 7-8, 1941:

00:23 AM - Aerial activity 50 miles N.W. of Corregidor

04:09 AM - Ordered to double all Air Guards and Observers at once

04:40 AM - Black-Out Ordered

05:04 AM - All Passes cancelled

05:14 AM - All  Batteries alerted

06:29 AM - Message Received "A State of War now exists with Japan. All units will govern themselves accordingly.."

Rumors were heard which were later verified of the Japanese attack upon Pearl Harbor (Hawaii) and Clark Field (P.I.)

Test fired machine guns and adjusted head space.

December 9, 1941

On Dec. 9 permission was received to fire one settling round from each gun.  The firing of these rounds was made a gala affair with all members of the Battery present (in shifts) since this was the first time that the vast majority of the men had even seen the 3 inch Antiaircraft gun fired.

During the night of Dec. 9-10, the A.A. Batteries were alerted, but no planes were seen.

December 10, 1941

* "The early Jap  formations did approach Corregidor both from the east, and the south. They did not overfly the Rock, they split and flew around the island. Boston did not turn the formations. Denver alone turned one formation, and all batteries fired on the large group which split and flew around the island.

The Japs knew exactly where the fixed guns were even before the war broke out, but they didn't know the co-ordinates of the anti-aircraft emplacements, because we'd only just dug them in.  Captain Starr figured that they sent some aircraft towards our positions so they could observe where our anti-aircraft fire was coming from. "

Al McGrew

 

December 10, 1941,--a momentous day for Battery "B" 60th CA (AA). On this day we received out first opportunity to fire on the enemy when a flight of 27 Japanese, twin motored heavy bombers flew over* Corregidor, at an altitude of 22 22,000 feet, in returning from a raid on the Cavite Naval Yards.  All the AA Gun Batteries fired upon these planes, "B" Battery firing 45 rounds, but without any apparent effect. In fact, the planes did not even wave their wings much less break formation.

Later in the day the Battery Commander was notified that "B" Battery had been selected, because of its position on Topside, command­ing the China Sea which was the logical avenue of approach of the enemy, to be equipped with mechanical time fuzes.  We were to receive all of the Mechanical Fuzed ammunition in the Philippines --some 1500 rounds.  The Fuze cam in the director was changed, by the Battery Tech. Sgt. (J.W.Connell) as soon as the first of the ammunition arrived.

 

-o-0-o-

 

 

December 12, 1941

It wasn't until Dec. 12, that we had a chance to test the assumed muzzle velocity of the new ammunition by firing 7 rounds at a Jap medium bomber.  The bursts were close but a little low so the assumed muzzle velocity figure was dropped 25 ft. seconds.

December 13, 1941

Again on Dec. 13, we had a chance to test the assumed muzzle vel­ocity when a flight of 17 Jap heavy bombers flew over Corregidor. All the Corregidor AA Batteries opened fire and the formation immediately split -- 8 planes swinging south over the China Sea. "B" Battery continued firing on these planes, firing a total of 76 rounds and came very close to them, probably scoring some hits, but the planes continued on their way.

In consultation with the Battalion Commander (Lt. Col. Amoroso it was decided that due to the extreme shortage of the Mechanical Fuzed ammunition, "B" Battery would only fire 6 rounds per gun (24 rounds for the battery) per flight of planes.

Reports are being received that the Navy Patrol has reported seeing wreckage of planes for some 150 miles up the coast of Luzon and that the 60th probably got 9 or 10 of these planes.

Manila and Cavite were being bombed almost daily but the Japs gave Corregidor a wide berth--all flights staying out of fuze range--even with the 30 sec. Mech. Fuze.

December 17, 1941

Japanese Heavy Bomber
Mitsubishi Type 96
"Nell"
 

 

The Corregidor Units went on Field Rations on Dec. 17, 1941.

Work was continued on the improvement of the position and artillery drill held daily.

 

The Manila Radio announced on Dec 22, that there were some 80 Jap transports at Linguyan (Lingayan) Bay--evidently the big push on the Philippines is on.

The Jap continued to Bomb Manila and Cavite but stayed away from Corregidor, although on the 24th a flight bombed some ships in Mariveilles (Mariveles) Bay and came within fuze range of the Mech. Fuze.  "B" fired some 24 rounds at them but were unable to determine if we damaged any

Also on this day the Battery was inspected by the harbor Defense Inspector (Major Conzelman) who stated after his inspection that our equipment, including small arms, was in the best shape of any Battery he had inspected.

Christmas Day, 1941

 

Christmas Day, 1941--but the Japs payed no attention to it. They bombed Cavite, causing an Air Raid Alarm on Corregidor about noon time and interrupted our Christmas Dinner..

The U.S.A.F.F.E. and the Philippine Government evacuated Manila last night and moved to Corregidor.

About midnight of the 25th a tremendous explosion was heard and a fire observed in the vicinity of Cavite.  Learned the next day that this was the Navy demolition of Cavite after their evacuation.  Also learned that Fort Wint (Subic Bay) had been evacuated by the C.A.C.

December 26, 1941

On the 26th, the Japs bombed the ruins of Cavite and also some boats in the Bay . . . (illegible) . . . with the 30 sec. fuze.  We fired about 62 rounds with no apparent results -- decided to lower the assumed muzzle velocity again.

December 27, 1941

Corregidor was under a three hour Air Raid Alarm on the 27th while 65 Jap planes flew over Manila Bay bombing Cavite and Cabcaben but they never approached close enough to be fired upon.

The work of improving the splinter protection was continuing and also the installation of an underground Fire Control Cable system using some salvage Marine Cable in place of the lq Conductor A.A. Cable.  This system, buried 4 foot under ground, should survive all but direct hits and in that case we have our regular cables to put back in.

December 29 1941

 

Gun drill at an AA Battery.   
(National Archives)

The first bombing attack on Corregidor came on the 29th of December. The men were working on the splinter protections when the AA Defenses were alerted by "B" Battery Air Guards at 11 AM because of the approach of a flight of Japanese heavy bombers.  The attack lasted about 2 hours.  Wave  after wave of 2 motored bombers, accompanied during the latter stages by attack planes flew over the island bombing the installations.  The attack planes strafed the positions and dropped small personnel bombs.

"B" Battery suffered considerable damage during this engagement. Our position just outside of the Seaward Defense Command Post, and near a 12" gun battery', and on a line between two other 12" gun batteries, put us right in an area heavily  bombed.  The guns were emplaced around three warehouse sheds belonging to the Ordnance. These three buildings, as well as the Ordnance Office and warehouse (which contained 1˝ million rounds of small arms ammunition) and which was only about 100 yards from the Range section installation, were hit and destroyed.  The smoke and noise, as well as the danger, from the exploding ammunition seriously endangered the men but did not prevent them from performing their duty.  Eleven enemy bombs struck within 100 yards of the guns.  One bomb exploded within the No. 3 gun pit killing 2 men (Cpl. Cord-... and Pvt. Turner) and wounding and bruising the rest of the crew.  The gun itself was damaged and put out of action.  Blazing embers from one of the destroyed buildings flew into the pit of No. 4 gun, damaging the ...(illegible)...and were thrown back out by the gun crew who continued to fire the gun.  The phone lines to the guns were cut twice during the raid, and put back into service by the communications detail under Cpl. Montgomery.  The battery tractor was destroyed and the battery supply shed and the oil storage shed were hit by a shower of bomb fragments and small arms bullets from the strafing attackers, destroying and damaging a considerable amount of  Battery equipment and property.

The personnel bravery and coolness under fire of the vast majority of the men was almost miraculous, considering that the majority of the battery personnel had less than one year's service and had never even fired the gun at a target practice.  When the phone communications went out between the C.P. and the guns and it became necessary to resort to an auxiliary buzzer system, the buzzer worked at only one gun. The other gun commanders showed great initiative in following the actions of the one gun which was still in communications with the C.P. The actions of the battery on this day displayed the esprit de corps of the organization.

During this raid "B" Battery fired about 280 rounds and destroyed several planes.  The Japanese gave Corregidor a breathing spell and stayed away until Jan 2, 1942, -- they probably spent this time licking their wounds!

"B" Battery also spent this time in repairing the installations and getting the equipment cleaned and back into action.  The damaged gun was removed from the pit and taken to the Ordnance Machine Shop for major repairs.

Received a communication from the Commanding General of the Harbor Defenses of Manila and Subic Bays, commending the units of the A.A. Defense on their fine work on the 29th.  Also received a copy of a letter from the Battalion Commander to the Regimental Commander commending the fine work of "B"  Battery on the 29th.  Both of these were read to the battery.

 

 

The same area in Feb 1945, with Btty. Wheeler as the reference point for this re-supply mission. The fires are still burning in Btty. Wheeler.

 

 

CD Version 130603