Bataan (December 2, l94l- April 9, 1942)
Prior to the time that
saw the general mobilization of all units in the P.I., a thorough reconnaissance of Bataan
had been conducted for AA guns and searchlight positions. Consequently, on November 29,
1941, when general mobilization was called, Battery "E" was prepared to
move out by barge to Cabcaben, Bataan, with all of their war equipment. The movement into
Bataan--their assigned war positions, was on December 2, 1941. By dint of much hard labor
all that day and night, Battery "E" was in sector positions, ready for any
eventuality, by December 3, 1941. At this time Battery Hdqtrs. was located at about
"Little Baguio"--Kilometer 168.5 in the vicinity of the Engineer depot later
Hospital #l. Captain William E. Massello was
in command, with Lieutenants Portney, Cullison, and Weeks assisting and 1st Sgt. Leonard
E. Goldsmith as chief non-commissioned officer. The various light positions remained very
much the same throughout the war and may be located on the attached map.
Word was received early on the morning of December 8, 1941, of the attack on
Pearl Harbor by the Japanese and the battery was alerted at once for possible surprise
attack before dawn on the Harbor Defenses of Manila Bay. At this time it should be pointed
out that the AA units on Bataan of the 60th CA had for their mission the supplementing of
the AA units stationed on the fortified islands, thereby increasing the range of AA gun
fire on attacking planes, and more especially increasing the range of illumination by
searchlights of the Harbor Defenses against night attacks. Battery "E" consisted
of some 10 complete searchlight sections, one RDF 268, necessary transportation, and a
personnel of 159 officers and enlisted men.
The early days of the war were
uneventful ones for the searchlight crews, with only additional hard work in perfecting
their positions to compensate them for the failure of the Japanese to attack at night with
their planes. Then on the night of December 17, 1941, a single Japanese bomber was picked
up and illuminated by #9 light (Sgt. Kulinsky) and carried over Corregidor. Battery
"E" had become a true war unit for the first time.
On or about January 25, 1942 the RDF
at #1 light position (Sgt. Alson) picked up impulses of what they believed to be small
ships some distance off Bataan in the China Sea. This was duly reported to higher
headquarters, but because of so many wild and unfounded reports this one received little
or no attention. It was only a matter of a very few days after this that a Japanese force
of some 300 men was discovered on Langaskawaian Point and annihilated by combined Navy,
Marine, and Philippine Scout forces. Captain Massello and lst Sgt. Goldsmith were active
in this action, reconnoitering the area of Pucot Hill for possible threats to Battery
"E" Light positions in the vicinity. One Japanese sniper was shot near #1 light
position while this action was in progress. During this period, in addition to the night
searchlight work, Battery "E" acted as a complete flash net for this sector of
Bataan, relaying all reports of enemy planes observed to the AACP on Corregidor.
Shortly after the Langaskawaian Point episode, the Japanese
landed a large force of several hundred men at Aglaloma Point under cover of darkness. In
this action light #1, light #2 (Sgt. Hollingsworth), and light #4 (Sgt. Ellis) went into
action. While their lights could not bear directly on the water area involved due to the
masking terrain, the reflections of their beams off medium-low cloud formations is said to
have been beneficial to defending ground troops in picking up the incoming landing barges.
About February 5, 1942 Private Jimmy
Mitchell, a full-blooded Osage Ingian of Battery "E" , light section #2, noticed
some human blood on bushes near his position. In true Indian fashion he followed the
stains and tracked down a wounded Japanese soldier who had evidently escaped from the
Aglaloma point action. About February 7, 1942, Technical' Sgt. Stensby and Sgt.
Hollingsworth were cited for heroic action in putting out fires in an ammunition dump in
Mariveles while the Japanese were heavily bombing the area, thereby saving a large
quantity of small arms ammunition. For this meritorious action, Sgt. Hollingsworth
received the D.S.C. and T/Sgt. Stensby was awarded the Silver Star.
Shortly after getting established on
Bataan, Captain Massello located a much better position for Battery "E"
headquarters at the top of the Zigzag, Kilometer 169.8, and proceeded to move into it.
By February 15, 1942, the new camp was nearing completion and was voted one of the best
camps in Bataan by many who saw it. Hard work and ingenuity on the part of both officers
and men resulted in a camp placed on high, shady ground with comfortable living quarters,
running water for kitchen, showers, day room supply room, sanitary latrines, motor park,
and many other small innovations too numerous to mention here. Continued improvements were
being made all the time on the camp, and at the time of the fall of Bataan preparations
for the rainy season were well underway with several of the all-weather buildings already
finished and the rest under construction.
During the remainder of February and
the first three weeks of March 1942 quiet reigned on Bataan in the rear areas and the
personnel of Battery "E" grew weary of night after night of being on
alert and having no enemy action to combat. On March 20, 1942, Captain Massello was
promoted to Major and became Battalion Executive of the 2nd Battalion, 60th CA. On the
same date Captain Frederick A. Miller was assigned to command Battery "E".
About 9:00 A.M. March 24, 1942
observers on Bataan and Corregidor reported heavy bomber formations approaching Corregidor
from all points of the compass, and soon the sound of bombs falling and exploding on
Corregidor could be heard in our positions on Bataan. The second attack on Bataan and
Corregidor was on in full scale. Activity on the front lines of Bataan was reported as
greatly increased at the same time and our heavy artillery on the front could be plainly
heard day and night laying down intense barrage fire on the attackers.
Everyone in Battery "E" was
anxious to swing into night action again after the long period of inactivity, and the
question on everyone's lips was, "Will they try night bombing of Corregidor?"
The question was answered about 10:00 P.M., March 26, 1942, when 3 heavy bombers attempted
to raid Corregidor flying at about 27,000 feet. Light #10 (Sgt. Ben Simpson), light #9,
and light #7 (Sgt. Moureau) all were in on the pickup and illumination. Light #5 (Sgt.
Koats), light #3 (Sgt. Murphy) and light #1 helped carry them toward Corregidor and turned
them over to Battery "A" lights on Corregidor. All bombs were dropped in the
water. During the next ten nights the Japanese raided Corregidor and Mariveles Harbor,
normally sending over either 3 or 4 raids each night. The Japanese time of attack was
nearly the same each night, usually beginning about 10:00 P.M. or 10:30 P.M., and ending
at about 2:00 A.M. or 3:00 A.M. the next morning.
The effect of searchlight
illumination on these night attackers seemed to be very great. It was seldom that the
bombs dropped even hit Corregidor, let alone hitting any specific target on "the
Rock." On several occasions the bombers appeared to be greatly upset by being blinded
by the searchlight beams, and on one occasion three bombers appeared to be on the verge of
collision in mid-air due to being blinded by the intense beams. One night three heavy
bombers came over and were promptly illuminated. They proceeded on over Corregidor,
released their bombs, and as usual nearly all of them dropped in the water. Since most of
the attacks had been coming from the north or north west, our northern-most light
positions were ordered to go out of action as soon as other lights had taken over the
illuminated planes to carry them, and to start listening for other possible attacking
planes. On this particular night lights #7, #8 and #10 had scarcely gone out of action
before they reported motors to the north and went into action again, illuminating another
flight of 3 heavy bombers which were attempting to sneak in behind the first flight and
get a clear shot at Corregidor while all lights were focused on the first flight. However,
through the alertness of the various light sections their plan was nipped in the bud and
they too dropped their bomb load in the water. Through all this period the morale of the
battery jumped to new heights since all the men now felt they were actively taking part in
the war. During the daylight hours all men were exposed from time to time to the heavy
bombing raids which the Japanese were conducting over the Bataan rear areas. Several times
our searchlight positions received hits by high explosive and white phosphorous bombs, but
luckily no casualties were suffered and no materiel damage inflicted. The battery
communications lines, however, suffered heavily and our communications section (T/Sgt.
Stansby) did yeoman duty day and night to keep lines in to our light positions and to the
Corregidor cable. At the same time our maintenance sections, electrical (T/Sgt. Taylor)
and motor (S/Sgt. Johler), kept all lights, power plants, and transportation operating
Probably the closest call our camp
had from a bombing raid occurred on about April 4 1942 when two flights of 9 heavy bombers
each dropped their bombs in the area of Hospital #1. Battery "E"s camp was
actually only about 300 yards straight line distance from the hospital and several of the
bombs landed within 50 to 75 yards of our main camp, one landed in the motor park area,
and several others landed in the gulch behind the camp.
At 5:30 P.M., orders were received
from Corregidor for the battery to be ready to furnish searchlight illumination that night
as usual. Accordingly, all men were immediately sent back to their light positions. At
6:30 P.M., Colonel Chase, the Regimental Commander, called from Corregidor and ordered 5
complete searchlight units to be delivered to Cabcaben dock for shipment to Corregidor by
9:00 P.M. All available men and transportation, save one truck, were immediately placed on
All information as to the
enemys whereabouts which had been received were of entirely unofficial origin
the truth is that no one knew exactly how far they had progressed after breaching our
lines. Therefore, in order to try to prevent the unexpected, outpost lines were
established between our camp and the enemy. Later information received while a prisoner of
war, proved this to be unnecessary, but at the time it was believed expedient. The
situation remained in a state of complete flux until about 11:30 P.M. when all Corregidor
units on Bataan were ordered to proceed to Quarantine station dock at Mariveles, where
water transportation would be available to carry them to Corregidor.
Preparations were begun at once for
thoroughly destroying all equipment and for moving personnel to Mariveles. Our motor park
was set afire as was our camp, gasoline being used to drench buildings,shops, etc. and
then applying the torch. Word was sent to all sections immediately to destroy all
equipment and proceed at once to Mariveles. All trucks, as I have stated, were being used
to transport the 5 complete searchlight units to Cabcaben, except one small 1½ ton
Chevrolet. Consequently, it meant that the men' at the light positions would have to walk
to Mariveles. No contact was possible with the group who were on their way to Cabcaben. #7
and #10 lights, on the main road, were told to be on the watch for them. The roads were
clogged with vehicles and pedestrians, all moving toward Mariveles. To find my lost trucks
in such a torrent of humanity would have been like seeking a needle in a haystack.
At Midnight the Ordnance magazines at Little Baguio about a
kilometer from our camp were blown up and the light from the fires made everything seem
like day, while the tremendous explosions rocked the ground under us. Not to be outdone,
Mother Nature staged a very sharp earthquake which lasted at least one minute. It was by
far the most severe I had ever witnessed in the Philippines in some 3years.
The remaining men at battery
headquarters entrucked at about 3:30 A.M., April 9, 1942, and started for Mariveles. Our
trip was a most exciting one. As we passed slowly down the zigzag, weaving in and out
among the stalled trucks, buses, and cars on the road, the burning Ordnance magazines on
top of the ridge lighted our way and showered us with falling debris such as 75 mm.
cartridge cases, shrapnel cases, etc. As we reached the Naval Section Base, the personnel
there were blowing their tunnels and the explosions were tremendous. As we reached the end
of the Section Base area, our truck slipped into a huge bomb crater at the side of the
road and turned completely over. Most of the men were thrown clear, and it was a miracle
that no one was killed or at least seriously injured. As it was, all our personal
belongings, our battery safe, and our canned emergency rations were buried in a huge pile
under the overturned truck. To have salvaged it would have taken hours hours which
we could not spare. We walked on into Mariveles and as we reached there, long range
Japanese batteries opened fire on the area, adding to the confusion. We were ushered on
toward Quarantine dock by Military Police, who were having their hands full in keeping all
of the maddened crowd of stragglers from trying to go to Corregidor. We had no trouble in
identifying ourselves however, and proceeded on to the dock.
Arriving there we found the large
inter-island steamer "Elcano" and the minesweeper "Cheswick" tied up
to the dock. Part of my men were there, but how many it was difficult to tell in all of
the confusion. We went aboard the "Cheswick" and left almost at once for
Corregidor. The smoke from the burning depots in the hills of Bataan drifted high above
and the moon showing through the edge of this smoke cloud, throwing a ghastly light on
everything. Occasionally a large projectile would explode on the shore or in Mariveles
harbor as we steamed out of the harbor entrance and made for Corregidor. We presented a
beautiful target for dive bombers in the moonlight and there were planes droning overhead
too, but for some reason they never attacked us.
Immediately after the bombing many of
the Battery "E" men who were in camp went to Hospital #1 and aided in helping
the wounded there.
Beginning about April 4,
1942 the Japanese gave up their night bombing raids and concentrated on all-out daylight
raids. One evening at about 6:00 P.M., several dive bombers attacked the
"Dewey", Navy floating dry-dock in Mariveles harbor. All machine guns and AA
guns in that area opened fire, including our #3 light, which had a .50 caliber air-cooled
machine gun. One dive bomber came out over Mariveles harbor and banked sharply around
Cochinas Point to return to the attack. The pilot was entirely exposed at close range to
effective .50 caliber fire from #3s gun, and the plane went into a stall and crashed
into Manila Bay off Cochinas Point, the pilot bailing out before the plane crashed. Men at
#3 light followed the pilot in the binoculars and saw him land and swim to a lone rock
which protruded above the surface. The other Jap planes circled the area and
machine-gunned the pilot several times, after which our observers saw him lose his hold on
the rock and slide into the sea and was not seen again.
Rumors of a breach in our front lines
began spreading among our men on April 6, 1942. Stragglers from the front were
occasionally seen coming past our camp and our men were getting stories from them. The
Battalion Commander, Lieut. Colonel Howard Breitung, went to USFIP Hdqrs to try to get
latest news of developments at the front, but could learn little except that a major drive
was on by the Japanese. We assembled our men and talked to them about conditions, telling
them the truth of what we knew in order to relieve their minds of the vicious rumors they
were hearing, and to prepare them for an eventuality. This had the desired effect of
quieting them and stabilizing them, and at no time during later events was there any
semblance of confusion or panic among them. While they had never been in any hand-to-hand
combat, naturally, nevertheless the men of Battery "E" were seasoned troops and
feared neither man nor devil.
All during the day and night of April
7th and throughout the day of April 8th the stragglers from the front going toward the
rear increased. Most of then were Philippine Army men without arms and occasionally some
harried shell-shocked American. The Filipinos carried the inevitable "cuau" bag
with some rice and salt in it, and when you would stop one and ask him where his rifle was
the invariable answer was, "I have lost it, sir." When asked where he was going
he would answer, "To find my companion in Mariveles, sir." This stream of
stragglers grew by leaps and bounds and early in the afternoon of April 8th trucks and
buses began to appear, all heading toward Mariveles with Filipinos piled inside on the
tops, on running boards, on fenders, and even on the bumpers.
At 2:30 P.M, April 8th, Colonel
Breitung called the Battery and said that he had received orders from USFIP Hdqtrs. for us
to establish a straggler line armed with rifles and bayonets and to turn all stragglers
back toward the front. In addition we were given authority to draw unlimited rice and
corned beef from the Quartermaster food dump at Kilometer 165 and to feed these stragglers
a hot meal before turning them back toward the front. Throughout the rest of the afternoon
and early evening our cooks worked unceasingly to prepare food for the mob of stragglers.
When confronted by our straggler line most of the stragglers would turn around and start
back in the direction of the front although I seriously doubt whether they went past the
second bend in the road, out of sight.
At 4:00 P.M. Colonel Breitung called
all of his Battery Commanders to a conference at his headquarters and told us that he had
offered the services of his battalion /Battery G, 60th CA; Battery E 60th CA; Hq. Battery,
2nd Battalion, 60th CA; and Battery C, 91st CA (PS)/ to fight as infantry, and to be used
in establishing a new line. Our front line in the vicinity of Mount Samat had been
breached, so it seemed, the Japanese were pouring through, and the situation was critical.
I believe that then for the first time, did any of us really realize That Bataan was
In accordance with the Colonel's
orders, I called in all men who were out at positions, leaving only 2 men as guards at
each position. Preparations were immediately made for reorganizing as infantry unit
issuing automatic rifles, ammunition, hand grenades, and what machine guns we had.
In addition our emergency rations were broken out and prepared for loading on a truck, as
well as all empty containers being filled with drinking water and loaded on our trucks. We
didn't know where or when we were going, but we were going with everything we had.
(APRIL 9 - MAY 6, 1942)
We reached north dock, Corregidor, at
about 6:00 A.M. and were met by Lieut. Colonel Barr and other members of the Regimental
staff who instructed me to move my battery to Middleside bomb-proof and await orders
there. We proceeded up Pump House Trail, some 90 of us, followed by Battery,
"G", Hdqtrs. Btry. Hq. 2nd Bn, and part of Battery "C", 91st C.A.
(PA). We reached Middleside tunnel and dropped in our tracks there from sheer exhaustion.
Later in the day a kitchen was set up in Middleside barracks, rations were delivered by
the QM., and the men received a good hot meal.
Colonel Breitung and Major Massello
made arrangements with the Harbor Defense Commander for Battery "E" to take over
and man Battery Way, a 12 inch seacoast Mortar battery which had not been manned since
1935. Up until this time it had been used during the war first as the AACP and then as the
blueprints division of the Corps of Engineers. Consequently, it was in no condition to be
manned at present without a great deal of work being done first. All Engineer equipment
was moved out, the battery was cleaned up, 12 inch mortar powder was brought back into the
battery which had been moved out and piled along roads and trails, double-deck wooden
bunks were built, and after some two weeks of preparations the battery moved in.
In the meantime, while this
renovation work was going on at Battery Way many other things were taking place. First of
all, beginning on April 9 and continuing for several days, members of Battery
"E" continued returning to Corregidor from Bataan by banca or power boat and in
numbers of from one to as high as forty at one time. In the end all members returned save
some 7 or 8, four of whom had been too ill to be removed from the hospital. In the second
place, gun crews had been organized and had begun drilling in the gun pits at Battery
Geary, the other mortar battery on Corregidor, under the supervision of the trained
non-commissioned officers of that battery. In addition, fire control equipment was being
rounded up all over Corregidor for the Way plotting room plotting board here, Pratt
range board there, something else from some other place.
On April 15th, the Battery was greatly shocked and deeply
grieved when several of the men were killed or seriously wounded in the Middleside Service
Club building when it was hit and destroyed by heavy aerial bombs. Corporal Cashey, Pfc.
Baitchman, Pvt. McCracken and Pvt. Faulkner were killed outright or died of wounds later.
These men had been sent there to find suitable material for making wooden bunks at Battery
way. While there they had been caught in an air raid and took cover inside the building,
which suffered a direct hit. Their loss was a severe blow to the entire battery for they
were good soldiers and had many friends.
In addition to manning Battery Way,
Battery "E" had been given the assignment of organizing some 5 mobile
searchlight units, using extra equipment not in use on Corregidor for dual purpose AA and
beach defense illumination. This unit will be covered in a separate part of this history.
The battery moved into Battery Way
about April 23rd, or two weeks after coming back to Corregidor. Our kitchen was kept in
Middleside barracks for about a week or ten days thereafter, until a suitable kitchen and
mess hall could be established in the old Radio Station near Battery Way which had been
hit by a bomb on December 29, 1941, and completely wrecked. This arrangement necessitated
sending the men from Battery Way to Middleside Barracks for meals, often while the area
was under bombardment, and was quite an inconvenience and added danger for all personnel.
Having moved into Battery Way, the
real work began in putting the finishing touches on the training of the gun crews by long
periods of artillery drill and in organizing and training an efficient range section. In
addition, a system of strong revetments was constructed using salvaged lumber and
galvanized iron sheeting to form the frameworks (3 feet thick and 12 to 15 feet high),
bound by heavy wire and nails, and then filled with rock and dirt. All this meant long
hours of hard work for everyone but there was very little grumbling and after the first
intense shelling at Battery Way the men realize the value of the revetments and were glad
they had been built.
At this time it might be well to
describe Battery Way in a little more detail. It consisted of one pit of four guns, 1903
type, one of which had been seriously damaged by aerial bombardment on December 29,1941,
and had never been repaired. The powder magazine had been emptied when the Battery was
being used as the AACP, but had been refilled by us after manning. The projectile rooms
were filled with 700 lb. DP, 824 lb. DP, 1046 lb. DP, and 690 lb. personnel projectiles.
For a plan of the Battery see Diagram 1. Battery Way is located almost in the geographical
center of the large part of the island of Corregidor, and therefore was one the
bulls-eye of the target in all aerial Bombardments. Over the magazines and projectile
rooms was some 10' to 18' of reinforced concrete, covered by anywhere from 6' to 10' of
hard earth, with small trees and bushes growing on top. Even this amount of overhead cover
did not constitute a bomb-proof, however, for on December 29, 1941 during the heavy
bombing of that day a heavy caliber bomb penetrated the dirt covering and enough of the
concrete to crack the ceiling in one of the powder magazines. Nevertheless, it was
excellent protection against bombs and against all types of artillery fire. The plotting
room and officers' quarters, however, had only a cover of about one foot of reinforced
concrete with no dirt covering.
Living quarters at Battery Way were
of necessity crowded and men slept in every available space in the projectile rooms as
well as in a concrete covered draining canal which ran under the railroad tracks nearby
but which was dry and airy at this time of year. As a matter of fact, practically the
whole battery slept out in the open gun pit on most nights until heavy artillery shelling
made this practice too dangerous. An unused searchlight power plant furnished us with
electric lights and with power to run the ventilating fans which we installed at the back
of each projectile room at the entrances to the ventilating shafts, in order to assure
fresh air at all times to the sleeping men.
Inasmuch as all the permanent
observation stations were already manned by personnel of the Seaward Defense Command and
since we were to operate directly under their command, it was decided that observation and
spotting would be furnished for our battery by C-l. Our plotting board was prepared with a
coordinate grid map of the Bataan-Corregidor area and our targets designated by grid
coordinates, thereby making it a simple problem to compute firing data. All firing data
was by Case III.
The entire battery was champing at
the bit for its first action, and we were promised by C-l that we would be used at the
first opportunity available. However, it was felt by C-l that we needed more time to
organize and train, so we were probably denied several days firing which we would have had
otherwise. This added time was not wasted though, for revetments continued to be built and
the gun pit rang with the hustle of artillery drill off and on during the day. We made it
a practice of holding these drills at various times- -blowing a whistle during the middle
of the work and calling the battery to "battle stations."
On the morning of April
26, 1942, without any warning, we were given our first opportunity to fire, the target
being an enemy gun position on Bataan range about 10,500 yards. We were told to
fire 700 lb. D.P. projectiles with the .05 second delay pellet removed--making
instantaneous fuzes on the projectiles. We computed firing data, put in our ballistic
corrections, and gave the command to open fire with our three guns. The first salvo was
off with a mighty roar and we waited anxiously for our spot. C-l soon reported, "No
change. Fire 4 more salvoes, same data." At the end of these salvoes, the report came
in "Target destroyed. Cease firing." The reaction of the men was immediate. They
had actually thrown their first steel and high explosive at the enemy, and their morale
was bursting all bounds.
Battery Way fired several problems in
the next several days and the results were very encouraging. C-l seemed pleased with the
results and the Seaward Defense Commander sent word to the battery that we were doing O.K.
and to keep up the good work. April 29, 1942 will be a day long to be remembered by all on
Corregidor. The Japanese Emperor's birthday, our enemy decided to conduct birthday
greetings in a big way. All of Corregidor was submitted to a terrific pounding all that
long day. Battery Way was shelled hard but luckily we sustained little damage to materiel
and none to personnel.
On April 30, 1942 while firing a
problem against enemy positions in Bataan, enemy artillery suddenly opened on our position
and put down a withering barrage on us. Luckily, their opening rounds were either short or
over and the men got under cover in time before they found the range. However, Corporal
Chelseg L. Hall, gun commander of one of the gun sections went back into the pit to secure
his gun, and returning to cover was hit in the back by a stray flying fragment which
pierced his lung and he died within 5 minutes from the internal hemorrhage. The entire
battery was shocked by his sudden death, for he was a fine soldier and well liked by
everyone. However, the men only resolved to avenge his death as best they could and
carried on. They had long since learned that such occurrences must be expected in war.
The enemy shelling continued with
growing intensity during the next few days. Clearly, they were in an all-out attempt to
soften Corregidor with their artillery preparatory to attempting a landing. About 3:00
P.M. the afternoon of May 2, 1942, in the midst of an intensive bombardment, Battery
Geary, the other 12" mortar battery on Corregidor, blew up from an exploding 240 mm.
shell in its powder magazine. The explosion was tremendous and shook Corregidor to its
foundations. All that was left of Geary was a huge gaping hole in the ground. Battery Way
was now the only mortar battery left on Corregidor, and we had been hit hard too. No. 3
and No. 4 guns had sustained direct hits on the muzzles during the barrage, and the
barrels were cracked clear through and the rifled portion of the bore was pushed in some 2
to 3 inches making it an absolute impossibility to fire either of them. That left us one
serviceable gun, No. 1, and one which might be repaired, No. 2, which had been bombed out
on Dec. 29, 1941. We immediately set about taking parts off the damaged guns to patch up
No. 1 gun, but it was a job which required much time and our men had had no experience in
that kind of work.
At noon May 5, 1942 all available
guns on Corregidor were ordered to open fire on various designated targets on Bataan. The
barrage was terrific and lasted for some 30 to 45 minutes. The Japs did not fire a single
round in return. The same order was on for 6:00 P.M. that evening, but was not as
successful as the noon barrage for the Japs opened fire heavily and silenced some of our
batteries at once.
We received orders as soon as we had
finished firing our ... to be ready to fire at 10:00 P.M. at a concentration of Jap barges
at Langaskawian Point. However, when l0:00 P.M. came we were told to stand by until 1:00
and call back C-l for instructions. Accordingly at 11:00 C-l told us to be on the alert
but to go to bed with our clothes on and get some sleep. At about 12:00 midnight the Japs
dropped a single artillery shell just outside the door to the officers' quarters at
Battery Way evidently one of 150 mm. Size which awakened all concerned. The
steel door and steel shutters on the windows were pierced by fragments, but fortunately
the projectile landed so close that the pattern of fragments was almost vertical, thereby
causing no casualties.
We had hardly moved inside under more
cover when the order came from C-1 for us to open fire on the area between North Point and
Infantry Point and just off the shore with 690 pound personnel projectiles, and to
continue firing until further orders. Within 5 to 10 minutes data was computed and the
first round was on its way. We were firing at almost minimum range (2800 yards). For
almost an hour we fired continuously, firing as fast as we could, with no enemy
opposition. Then suddenly a concentrated counter-battery barrage began to fall on our
position and lasted off and on for about a half hour. As soon as it slackened, we began
firing again after sweeping up the debris in the gun pit so that the projectile trucks
could get to the guns.
All during the small hours of the
morning the firing continued, with alternate gun crews spelling each other from time to
time as the men grew tired. All during the night the men were grimly determined, for we
had been told when we opened fire that the Japanese were attempting a landing on our
little island. If they were frightened by the thought of what might happen to them, they
never showed it. The first several rounds fire were each heavily chalked with the names of
the men in the battery who had already made the supreme sacrifice, and as each round was
fired Sgt. Charley Hollingsworth, who was firing the piece by means of the magneto would
yell, "Here's one for you, Tojo" or some similar remark.
During the course of the early morning we fired, and on up
until day dawned. Then a salvo of enemy shells burst right in the pit while the crew was
reloading, and those inside ran into the pit to give aid afraid of what they knew
they would find. They started carrying their wounded comrades inside to the dispensary,
and soon the floor of the dressing room was covered with their blood. Almost as soon as
they were evacuated another gun crew was in place, and the firing continued. During the
entire night we heard only one other gun besides ours firing a "roving"
155 mm. gun near the Ordnance Machine Shop. Our communication lines had long since been
blown out, so we had contact with no one else.
Then disaster struck us another
severe blow at about 7:00 A.M. when the Jap artillery once again landed on our position,
causing more casualties and putting our gun out of action. We then set about to take care
of our wounded as well as we could. Major Massel was badly wounded, as was Lieut. Lucker,
515th CA (AA) who had joined us on our return from Bataan. Corporal William R. Graham was
badly wounded, and dying, and several others were in bad shape from loss of blood and
shock. We sent a runner to Battery Hearn to use a telephone and try to get us an
ambulance. He soon returned, saying they had no ambulances available and all wounded must
be sent to Wheeler Tunnel where an emergency hospital had been set up. We had no
transportation, but Pvt. James H. Farmer volunteered to get some. And although the area
was still under enemy fire, Pvt. Farmer found a truck, repaired the ignition system, and
brought it to Battery Way. The injured men were loaded and he drove them to Wheeler
The rest of the men at the battery
were put to work clearing up to occupy their minds but further firing was hopeless. Our
gun was badly crippled from flying fragments and would need much work done on it. In
addition it was so hot from the all night's firing that the breech block refused to open.
We had fired some 121 rounds during the course of the night out of this one gun.
About 11:00 A.M., May 6 1942, a
passing officer stopped in at Battery Way and told us we were surrendering at noon and to
destroy all equipment prior to noon. Accordingly, steps were taken to confirm this news
and when it had been officially confirmed, the men were ordered to destroy all their small
This accomplished, we had the cooks
open up all the available food and part of our reserve ration and feed the men a good,
hearty meal. We then settled down to waiting to see what would happen next. We didn't have
long to wait. About 2:00 P.M. a flight of heavy bombers came over and dropped their bombs
right in, on, and around us. Then dive bombers came, down low since all resistance had
ceased at noon, and proceeded to bomb us heavily. This continued until about 5:00 P.M., at
which time we went to make arrangements with Battery Hearn for us to move in there for the
We spent the night at Battery Hearn,
and were ordered to fall in at 5:00 A.M. the next morning and march to Bottomside to be
surrendered to the Japanese. So ended our wartime service.
Battery History, Battery "E", 60th CA (AA)