"The battery downed more planes than it received credit for, but the numerous guns of other batteries firing on the same target made it almost impossible to ascertain exactly whose guns hit the plane."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INDIANA

Battery I” 60th coast artillery (a.a.)
by Capt. E. M. Shiley

Battery I” of the Sixtieth CA (AA) was organized on June 1, 1941 at Fort Mills .  The Battery was the old Battery “E”, 60th CA which was split to form Batteries I and L.  All the Battery property and records remained with Battery I.  With the men from Battery E and recruits who arrived from the United States in April, 110 officers and the strength of Battery I was approximately 110 officers and men one December,7 1941.  The armament manned by the battery was 12 - 50 cal. machine guns, water cooled, A.A. tripods.  Captain E.M.Shiley commanded the battery, with 1st Lt. Hackett battery executive and 2nd Lt. Bode platoon commander.  The 1st Sgt. was Frank E. Minnis and the staff sergeant was B. Vanlandingham.

On the evening of November 28, orders were received to double the alert positions normally manned by Battery “I” at Morrison Hill and Battery Cheney.  On the morning of November 29th the entire battery moved to the field and took up their previously prepared war positions. The positions manned were as follows:  Battery CP, in a small bombproof immediate1y in front of G-4 station on Way Hill. At this position was the Battery Commander, 1st Sgt., Communication Cpl., battery clerk, supply Sgt. and four switch board operators.  Also on Way Hill was one machine gun section with one gun mounted on each of two towers.  A section of two guns was emplaced in dug-in positions near Wheeler tunnel. A section was emplaced in dug-in positions above Battery James, a section had one gun on each of two towers at the rifle range and another section had a gun on each of two towers at Morrison Hill. Finally there was a section of 2 guns in dug-in positions immediately in front of Battery Grubbs parapet.  The men lived in their pup tents except where there were permanent installations as at Battery Grubbs. The sections messed with the Battery mess nearest to their positions. Battery I did not operate a mess.  The positions were so widely separated (see sketch) that a battery mess would have been impractical.  The battery furnished one cook and two civilian K.P.s to every mess at which it had men attached.

The battery had no assigned transports but one Ford sedan and one 1˝ ton truck were unofficially loaned by the Quartermaster to the battery and were used during the entire war for hauling water and supplies to the positions.  Communications within the battery was obtained by laying approximately 12 miles of field wire

From November 29 to Dec. 8th, the battery worked improving their positions, perfecting communications, installing camouflage and improvising their living quarters.  At approximately 4 A.M. on Monday Dec. 8th the battery was alerted and notified that a state of war existed between the  United States and  Japan .  From December 8th until December 25th the battery was not in action, the only firing being that firing of all guns.  On Dec. 25th the battery fired at enemy planes returning from raiding Manila ; these planes were out of tracer range, but the firing on an actual target was excellent for the morale of the men

On December 29th Corregidor was bombed for the first time, bombs landing immediately beside the towers at Way Hill and badly damaging them. At that time the Battalion and Battery Commanders decided that towers could not be adequately camouflaged, the men could not get any protection, it was extremely difficult to get water and ammunition up a tower, wounded men down and that there was great danger of fire from guns on one tower hitting the gun crews on the other tower at another position. Therefore it was decided to move the section at Way Hill to dug in positions at Rock Point.  Also at the Rifle Range the guns were taken off towers and positions were dug in the immediate vicinity. During the bombing of Dec. 29 the entire battery was in action. Two planes were downed by the battery on this day. From then on until the end of the war the battery received credit for one more plane. In the opinion of the Battery Commander, during the war the battery downed more planes than it received credit for, but the numerous guns of other batteries firing on the same target made it almost impossible to ascertain exactly whose guns hit the plane.

On December 3O, 1941 41 members of the 4th United States Marines under the command of 2nd Lt. James W. Keene were attached to Battery I. They were equipped with 6 50 cal guns mounted on pedestal AA mounts.  Four of these guns were emplaced in dug in positions at Battery Cheney to furnish local protection for Battery F 6Oth, gun battery.  Two guns were emplaced in dug in positions at the end of the Topside Parade Ground near the baseball grandstand.  These Marines conducted themselves in a praiseworthy manner during the entire war. They cooperated fully, did their work in an excellent manner and were at all times ready for action.  Platoon Sgt. H.R. Osborne was especially deserving of commendation for his ability and his actions.  He acted as Marine 1st Sgt. and was in command of the Marines Detachment during any absence of Lt. Keene.  Sgt. Osborne was recommended for commissioning by all his officers in the chain of command.

Also during the early part of December 2nd Lt., later 1st Lt. Apra was assigned to Battery “I” 60th CA.  He was placed in charge of the sections at Morrison Hill and Battery James and carried out his duties in a superior manner; His extreme bravery and devotion to duty caused him to be recommended for a silver star by his battery commander.

From the 1st of January until the lull in the bombing in February the battery suffered no heavy casualties. Several men received minor injuries and positions were considerably damaged and had to have major repairs.  During the lull in the bombing the battery was greatly imp­roved.  Much of the field wire communications were duplicated by getting parallel lines in underground cable.  Shelters of several types were built for the entire battery in anticipation.  Under the directions of the Regimental Executive, Lt. Col. Barr, the camouflage was completely over hauled and improved.  Finally tunnels for storing equipment and giving protection to personnel were constructed at Rock Point, Battery James and the position at Battery Wheeler.

On March 26th, the positions at Battery Wheeler suffered a direct-bomb hit killing 2 men, Pfc. Judgil and Pvt. Kelly, and injuring several others, none critically.  The position had to be rebuilt and a new replacement of men detailed to man it.  Also, on April 14,Pvt. Green, U.S. Marines, was killed at the Battery F position. This was the only death suffered by the Marines attached to Battery I.

After the fall and surrender of Bataan , and the subsequent shelling of Corregidor from that Bataan Peninsula the battery suffered large losses of materiel and great damage to positions.  Several positions under direct observation from Bataan became untenable with the consequent accurate fire brought to bear on them.  The Battery James position suffered the loss of 1 gun which was replaced by a machine gun borrowed from Battery G.  Its position was moved about 50 yds behind the shelter of an embankment.  The platoon at Morrison Hill was first moved off its towers to positions within Battery C's area.  When Battery C went out of action the Morrison Hill section went back to dug in positions adjacent to their towers.  Their positions were shelled out three times, the section under Lt. Apra building new positions under cover of darkness each time.  Both of their guns were put out of action twice, each time the Ordnance machinists repaired them overnight and they were back­ ready for action at dawn.  Cpl. Moore was recommended for a Silver Star for his gallantry in action under fire when he rescued materiel after the position was placed under heavy shell fire.

When Battery F had to abandon its position (3” A.A. Gun) on Battery Cheney, the Marine platoon of 4 A.A. machine guns was moved to previously prepared machine gun positions near Battery Hearn, a 12” seacoast battery.  Also the section near Battery Wheeler was moved to new positions about 100 yds closer to Battery Wheeler.

On May 6, when the order to cease firing was given, 16 of the 18 machine guns of the battery were in action and firing at all targets within range.

Except for 4 men who suffered shell shock and were subsequently sent by the Medical dept. to Bataan for non combatant duty and for the two men killed in action, the battery suffered no losses during the war.  All men conducted themselves in a highly creditable military manner, and are worthy of all praise for their attention to duty and efficiency.

Since the surrender and until Dec. 16, 1942 , there had been one death.  Cpl. Matthews died of malaria November 22nd at Cabanatuan .

Just prior to the war, three Corporals were sent to duty with the Philippine Army.  All of these men, Cpls. Berry , Sgt. Schwabe,. and Cp1. Bunnell were made 2nd Lts. during the war. One Lt. Bunnell died at Camp O'Donnell .

 

Respectfully submitted  
E.M.. Shiley,  
 Capt. 60th C.A.                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Battery Histories which appear on this website are due to a long line of men,  many whose names will never be known.  These men, at the risk of their lives, wrote them from memory and created the original documents whilst incarcerated in Japanese POW Camps. They then concealed  the documents for the duration.   Not every battery history has survived the war, and their loss is part of the tragic story of Japanese indifference to human life in their custody.  

The author of this Battery History, Capt Earl M Shiley, CO "I" Battery 60th CA, Serial # O-021234, died on 2 Feb 1945 at Camp Fukuoka #1 (not #4 as in NARA) after surviving the voyages of the Oryoku, Enoura and Brazil Marus

At the end of the line of men who have preserved these histories, are George Munson and Al McGrew (himself a POW),  who have enabled us to put them into the public domain.

 

 

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