notice to ebay purchasers

The Final Battle of Battery Chicago,
(Morrison Hill)

 

Contrary to Ben D. Waldron's bunk, there wasn't one.

 

John Lindgren

 

"A long time ago I was on a troopship, the USS Eldridge bound for Bremerhaven. Anticipating a dull trip, I had a copy of Tolstoy's War and Peace, which in most ways is a very dull book. What wasn't dull was his theory of the battle where he describes the action at Borodino not as some great strategic clash that will decide the fate of Europe but thousands of small struggles among confused and bewildered soldiers who only know what is happening to them and a few of their comrades that are nearby. They are so confused that they never know whether they were brave or cowardly soldiers or whether they have properly done their duty because no one tells them except in a general way perhaps. Not only are they uncertain about the battle and even themselves, there is really no one to talk to about it unless they had experienced the same thing. This leads me to another theory which has to do with why there are so many veteran's organizations and why when the old soldiers get together the pervasive 'hospitality room' flourishes. Enough of this, we have more serious matters on hand. The closer you get to the individual soldier doing the dirty work the closer you are to the truth in war."

Unfortunately, there are some texts which, whilst a "rollikin good tale," cannot be relied upon as an accurate record of history. To sell such books as "history" is snake oil to a low degree.  For instance, how can you trust to the accuracy of a memoir when it contains stories of the author's heroics in battles that NEVER occurred? The book "CORREGIDOR - FROM PARADISE TO HELL"  cannot be considered an accurate record and does not belong in any history library, except in the cheap fiction shelves, and probably not even there.  It's not even a "rollikin good tale."

Perhaps uncertain about himself, Ben D. Waldron writes about a Japanese attack on Battery Chicago on Morrison Hill... the truth is that this attack never happened. There's just no justification for passing off this rubbish as truth, and the rest of the book  must be considered entirely tainted and therefore worthless.  Better to buy someone else's book, or a pizza and a six pack - don't waste your time on this bunk. If you have it, chuck it.  Better still send it back to the publisher. 

 

 

 

 

►  There is no record of this in the Moore Report. Had the balloon been shot down, it would have been accredited.

 

 

Corregidor - From Paradise to Hell                                                                    Ben D. Waldron

 

"The presence of that balloon really frustrated us and one day our Number Four Gun Sergeant asked for permission to fire one round at it, but he was refused. Not to be deterred, he waited until Capt. Amery went down to Bottomside on business, then he got his crew up to the gun , sighted in on the balloon, estimated the distance, cut the fuse and fired one round. We all waited anxiously and were soon rewarded with the sight of the balloon exploding into a ball of flame, burning as it fell to the ground. For the unofficial record, we now had a balloon credited to our battery."

"At midnight after 72 hrs. of non-stop shelling, all the guns quit firing. It got so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. It wasn't but a minute later that Capt. Amery yelled out, " Everyone take your small arms and hand grenades to your fox holes! HERE THEY COME!"

Confusion ran amok as we grabbed what we could. Each man had been assigned certain items to take with him. I placed two belts of ammunition across my chest, my own .45 and its ammunition, a canteen and first aid kit. I heaved a .30 cal machine gun on to my right shoulder and took off. We arrived at what was left of our foxholes, some of which had been obliterated from the heavy shelling. I immediately got all of the men from gun crew in position and took over the machine gun at the right end of our group.

Everything was still, quiet and eerie in the darkness. Then all hell broke loose down below us. Somehow one of our searchlight batteries was capable of getting two searchlights back in operation and we could see hundreds of barges loaded with thousands of Japs approaching Corregidor from Cabcaben.. Battery Way was soon in action and lobbing their 12" mortars onto the barges. When one of their shells exploded over the barges, it would take out six or seven of them at a time. Then Denver Battery went into action with their 3" AA guns as they leveled them to a horizontal position and cut the fuse short enough so it would explode over the tops of the barges. With the help of the searchlights we could see that the Japs were being slaughtered by the hundreds! Despite all their losses, the Japs kept coming and were able to gain a foothold on shore. ............

It wasn't long before we saw their first Marine coming up over the hill at us. "Hold your fire," Captain Amery ordered. "We want to be able to wipe them out completely." Just as we opened up, the Japs started shelling us again with their artillery from Cab Cabin. Fortunately, we were able to hold our position, completely wiping out all the Japs on their first charge. When there was a short lull in  the fighting, I went down the line to check on my men. The second fox hole I came to had the remains of our bugler, Sammy Perkins. His body was in the foxhole where he had apparently been decapitated by a nearby artillery burst.

Then I heard someone yelling for a medic and ran in that direction. When I got there, I saw "Alabama", a young man nicknamed for his State, lying half upright against a bank. His guts had been shot out and were exposed on the ground beside him. I knew he didn't have a chance, but I knelt down and held him by the shoulders as he looked up at me. "Corporal Waldron," he said with his last breath, "is Ah gonna be alright?"

"Sure you are, Alabama. We'll have you in the hospital in no time and they'll sew you back together again." Before I had finished talking to him, Alabama had died in my arms.

I returned to my machine gun and prepared for another assault. It wasn't long in coming, only this time there were about 65 enemy soldiers, all of them yelling at the top of their lungs, trying to scare us into running, I guess. I concentrated on stopping this mad charge, firing my machine gun, reloading it and firing again just as fast as I could. Then the gun jammed and I began throwing hand grenades, but only half of them exploded. Apparently, those that didn't explode had been in storage too long and the primers or powder had gone sour.

We eventually stopped this charge. I shot two or three Japs with my .45 before it was all over. Like most of the other men who were there, I was out of breath and scared to death. It seemed as if I had been fighting for hours when actually the skirmish only lasted a few minutes. Everything seemed to move in slow motion. You could shoot a man and watch all his reflex actions before he fell to the ground. Others had blood spurting out of their mouths, trying to say something as they died. All I could hear was a buzzing sound in my ears. After the fighting ended, I realized it was the rushing of my own blood, my own adrenalin going through my body. My blood pressure must have been at its limit. 

 

 

What you have just read did not happen. "Captain Amery" is a tissue thin literary cowardice not to identify or deal with a real personage - the widely admired Captain Godfrey Ames, the unit C.O.  The surrender of Corregidor occurred to prevent the Japanese combat troops from entering Malinta Tunnel's eastern entrance, and the consequential carnage Wainwright believed would have caused in lateral to lateral fighting. There was no infantry combat on Corregidor west of Malinta Tunnel. That's right, there was no fighting on Morrison Hill.

 

Now, here is what really happened.

Subject: Narrative Report of Action
To: C.O 60th CA (AA)

1. The following narrative report of action for "Chicago" (Battery C. 60th CAC (AA) covering the period 6.00 pm May 5 1942 to 12.00 noon May 6 1942 is submitted.

The Battery Commander, Captain G.R Ames, the Range Officer, 1st Lt. B.F.Humphrey and the Asst. Range Officer 2nd Lt. J.A Phillips (Air Corps attached) had left the battery to visit Malinta Tunnel on official business shortly before 6pm. 1st Lt. Thomas H Fortney (Battery Executive) and 2nd Lt. Yancey B Chaney were present at Morrison Hill. All enlisted personnel, except detailed, hospitalized, etc were present.

In accordance with instruction issued by Capt. Ames prior to his departure, the battery was employed in the repair of splinterproofs and improving the other protective measures in the battery area. Emphasis   this night was put on the reveting of the ventilation shaft in Chicago's   Tunnel and on approach trench thereto. Work was started at nightfall and continued until moonlight became very strong about 10:00pm. Intermittent enemy artillery for about 15 minutes each hour had been falling in the area. The Catholic Chaplain Capt. Baumann, 91st CA (PS) was in the battery. He held confession in the evening and Mass at midnight. Catholic personnel were released to attend. A light midnight lunch was served the battery.

While midnight Mass was still in progress, a message was received at Chicago CP command post informing the battery that an enemy landing had been made near the eastern end of the island but had been repulsed. Orders were also received at the same time from 1st RTN C.P "Cambric"  to standby. Prepared to man local defense positions - foxhole and ground machine guns. The equipment and ammunition were checked and the men told to get as much sleep as possible. About 4.00 am a double serving of hot breakfast was served.

About 4.30 am orders were received from Cambric to man local defense positions. Lt. Fortney and Lt. Chaney [illegible, possible "ordered"] the men into their foxholes and machine gun positions. Lt. Fortney then returned to the Chicago CP where he could have telephone contact with Cambric and other headquarters. Orders were issued to the men in local defense positions to maintain contact between foxholes and attempt to establish contact with Marines on the right and left. Local defense plans called for Marines to occupy positions adjoining Chicago when situation called for Chicago to occupy local defense lines. No contact with Marine troops could be established. As day broke it was evident that no Japanese were between Chicago lines and the still intact water's edge from which the Marines had not withdrawn.

About daybreak an intense enemy artillery barrage fell directly on Chicago lines. About 15 minutes later Sgt G.C Smith (MG section leader) reported that shells were falling directly on the foxholes, that a number of men were injured. Lt Fortney issues orders to withdraw the men from the foxholes lines and called Cambric 1 [?] telling him of the section taken. Col Breitung [was he "Cambric"?' okayed the withdrawal and issued orders to keep the men under cover until further orders. Withdrawal was made about 6:00 am. An ambulance was called for. Telephone communication was broken by enemy action about 6:30am. Communications set out to find trouble and repair lines. Repairs completed about 8:00pm. Dive bombers were overheard almost continually and two or three heavy bombers passed over bombing Corregidor.

At about 11:00am a message substantially as follows was received from Cambric "Enemy shell fire will cease at 12 noon. You have until then to destroy your equipment". Clarification of the order could not be obtained. Orders were interpreted to mean 'Surrender imminent destroy your equipment". Demolition crews were asked to work at once. Director and power plant were thoroughly dynamited. Fragile parts of the guns [first two words illegible "in cables, etc"] were smashed. Firing locks were scrapped off and flung away. Dynamite was set off in the chamber of each gun. Ht Finder position was already put out of action by shell fire and  [illegible] ordnance.

Repair Shop. All telephone communications failed again about 12:15am [illegible words possible "Battery remained"] under cover until noon. Then allowed to [illegible word] Class C rations and prepare pack for departure. Battery was marched to Middleside Tunnel about 1.00pm where it was later surrendered along with other troops in that tunnel.

The following seven were casualties during that period:

Sgt. G.C. Smith, shell fragment wound, not too serious.

PFC N.C Thompson, same as Smith.

PFC C.W Sumrow, shell fragment wound, serious, hospitalized.

Pvt. E.D Stanfill same as Sumrow.

OFC S. House shell fragment wound, not too serious.

Pvt. R. Shook, killed by direct shell hit.

The above information was obtained by interview of Lt. H. Fortney and numerous enlisted men of battery conducted by the undersigned. Narrative is as accurate as possible.

2.   Capt. Ames Lt. Humphrey and Lt. Phillips were caught in Malinta tunnel by the Japanese assault on Corregidor. Circumstances prevented their return to Chicago prior to the evacuation of Morrison Hill by Chicago. These circumstances are discussed in a separate report.

Godfrey R. Ames
Capt. 60th CAC (AAO)
Commanding Battery C 60th CAC AAO

 

 

 

I am bitter when I see this book listed on eBay. How are people to know the author cannot be relied upon? Have you seen the drivel written about it on Amazon? 

 

 

 

 

NOTES ON SOURCES

This report of action is originally via Ms. Karol Ames, the daughter of the late Capt. Godfrey R Ames, Co. Battery C (Chicago), 80th CAC and appears in an ADBC Newsletter February 1994 (Andrew Miller, Historian.)   The document's author,  Capt Ames,  was a P.O.W. at Cabanatuan Camp No 1.  The original document itself was buried at Cabanatuan when Capt. Ames was selected to go to Japan.  He was on the ill-fated Oryuku Maru/Enoura Maru/Brazil Maru journey, and was one of the very few who made it to Japan -   but he died two days after arrival in Muji.

Karol Ames, incidentally, was born on Corregidor on March 18, 1940 and along with other dependants of the garrison, was sent back to the U.S. before the war started.

I'm not against Ben Waldron selling books, and this expos is not likely to stop him.    But with passages in it like the one quoted, it should be prominently labelled "FICTION".  Read it for a  yarn if you need to, but don't confuse it as history, or think that Waldron deserves any special admiration that sets him apart from all the Corregidor survivors. He was there, that should have been enough for him, it would have been sufficient for an accurate book, but it is no excuse to foist this fiction on an unsuspecting readership.

The Ames article comes to us from John Lindgren.  The Waldron text comes to us via Al McGrew, who keeps a watchful eye over us on behalf of his diminishing group of Defenders & Survivors. He is loath to generate verbiage for personal gain.

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