THE MOORE REPORT
Engineer preparation for defense of the fortified islands at the entrance to Manila Bay and operations of the Engineer Department in construction and maintenance activities during the period 8 December 1941- 6 May 1942.
1. Prior to November 1940 no new work of any consequence was started pertaining to the modernization of the fortifications.
2. The Navy Department started tunnel operations of some magnitude for important shore installations which were to be used in the event that Cavite Yard had to be abandoned in an emergency. These projects were constructed by Army Engineers with Naval appropriations and were known as Projects Afirm, Dog, Roger, and Queen. A total of approximately two and a half miles of concrete-lined fully water-proofed tunnel with suitable drainage was constructed. These tunnels were not damaged during the hostilities. There were three other similar projects completed for the Navy for housing their activities on Corregidor at this same time. The funds transferred to the Army for these purposes were approximately $500,000. This construction was carried on from May 1939 until December 1941. All projects were fully completed except Roger.
3. In the fiscal year 1939 to 1941 inclusive, the allotment of funds for Engineer maintenance and construction for the fortified islands did not exceed $39,000 per year or a total of $117,000 for the entire period. This sum was inadequate for ordinary repair and maintenance work so that only a few minor new structures were built. However, the Navy funds proved very beneficial to the extent of providing an effective construction force, reducing overhead expenses, and permitting the purchase of a limited amount of new shop and construction equipment badly needed. During this same period annual allotments had been requested for funds varying from $300,000 to $700,000 for maintenance and new construction, amounts considerably in excess of the funds actually made available.
4. In the spring of 1940 upon direction of the Harbor Defense-Commander a Board of Officers prepared plans and estimates for gas proofing seacoast batteries, and certain underground installations and utilities structures. The proceeding of the Board which was in reality the revamping of an old and previously submitted plan was approved by the Harbor Defense and Department Commanders. The estimated cost of the project was $528,000. This amount covered a large sum for modem blower canisters. The amount recommended was approved in the War Department and was actually allotted about June 1941.
5. The first important step toward emergency defense was the approved recommendation of what was known as the "Sand Bag Board" which submitted plans for the protection of fortifications. An allotment of $40,000 for sand bags and $30,000 for miscellaneous items was secured in 1941 as a result.
6. During the summer and fall of 1940 in order to increase the efficiency of 155-mm guns for firing at Naval targets, funds were secured and work started by the Engineers on the installation or partial completion of the following batteries:
a. Relocation of Battery South, Fort Mills. (This battery was later renamed Battery Hamilton in honor of Capt. Alvah L. Hamilton, CAC, killed in action on Corregidor.) This work included installation of 3 Panama mounts, 300 feet of approach road cut out of adobe rock, and construction of 2 temporary magazines.
b. Construction of Battery Sunset. This included 4 Panama mounts, 400 feet of road, 1 cut and cover magazine; a temporary galvanized iron observation station and 1 galvanized iron tool house.
c. Construction of Battery Rock Point. This included one Panama mount, and two cut and cover concrete magazines.
d. Construction of Battery Frank North. This included three 3600 Panama mounts, two concrete magazines, one fuze magazine and one temporary galvanized iron observing station.
e. Construction of Battery Monja. This included one Panama mount and a bomb-proof shelter for an air compressor.
f. Construction of Battery Kysor. (Named in honor of Capt. Benjamin B. Kysor, M.D., killed in action at Fort Mills.) This included one Panama mount, two cut and cover concrete magazines and one fuze magazine.
g. Construction of Battery Ordnance Point. Work started on one Panama mount and magazine. Not completed.
h. Construction of Battery Levagood. (Named in honor of Capt. George E. Levagood, CAC killed in action at Fort Mills.) This included the completion of one Panama mount and partial completion of an-other. This work was done after war had started.
i. Construction of 8-in Gun Battery. This work included the installation of gun carriage and gun on a permanent concrete base at RJ 43 at Fort Mills, Corregidor, during March and February 1942. This gun was proof fired and met the required stability tests.
7. Sites were selected and nine towers constructed during the spring of 1941 for anti-aircraft machine guns when it was considered inadvisable to cut away foliage or remove structures to secure a suitable field of fire. Five other existing towers were strengthened.
8. In March 1941 approved proceedings of a Board of Officers appointed to formulate a workable plan for modernizing the Harbor Defense installations for the protection against heavy shelling and aerial bombing, forwarded to the Department Commander. This Board selected the type of protection needed, new installations most urgently required, and recommended a priority of construction. The Engineer Officer prepared the necessary drawings and estimates for consideration of the Board as a whole. In cooperation with the Chemical Warfare Service Officer and the Harbor Defense Quartermaster the necessary data were prepared. The plan called for underground protection for personnel manning all seacoast, beach defense, and anti-aircraft batteries; for utilities and Harbor Defense Headquarters Command Post Bombproof, Seacoast Defense structures occupied by personnel; and also for the air conditioning of Fort Drum. There were included a few miscellaneous installations such as magazine and road construction on Bataan Peninsula. In all there are forty-six items of separate work projects estimated at three and a half million dollars. The Department Commander notified the War Department that a comprehensive modem plan covering all items was in process of preparation and would be submitted by air mall. Funds to start work on the recommended projects were released to the Harbor Defense Commander early in October 1941. In the meantime in anticipation of the availability of funds the Engineer Officer LCFW started requisitioning large quantities of construction equip-ment and supplies from the States in order to anticipate the deluge of work. Some requisitions were submitted before the close of the fiscal year 1941; others partially filled by the outbreak of hostilities. How-ever up to one month prior to 8 December 1941 it was still necessary to put out competitive bids, or if work was to be done on a cost-plus fixed fee contract, to locate reliable contractor to accept the job and then to wait for War Department approval. In spite of the difficulties involved, a cost accounting and inspectional service man was trained and placed in active operation to meet supervisory requirements, and during November 1941 a contractor was secured to start the first four items of the Modernization Program. These were:
a. Harbor Defense Command Post bombproof;
b. Seaward Defense Command Post bombproof;
c. Battery Monja personnel bombproof;
d. Batteries Hanna-Sunset-Rock Point personnel bombproof. Work was started a few days prior to outbreak of hostilities.
(Note: Projects b and c above were completed during the period of hostilities and were available for use during the time when Corregidor was subjected to the most intensive shelling and bombing during the last two months of the siege. Projects a and d had progressed to such an extent that considerable shelter was available for material storage and for personnel.) Projects b and c above were completed during the period of hostilities and were available for use during the time when Corregidor was subjected to the most intensive shelling and bombing during the last two months of the siege. Projects a and d had progressed to such an extent that considerable shelter was available for material storage and for personnel.)
9. During hostilities it was necessary to change the location and design of some structures to meet battle conditions. Early in the conflict artillery fire from the Cavite shore made it necessary to reselect sites for tunnel entrances and advantage was taken of local cover or baffle walls were erected to fnrnlsh additional protection if work had progressed too far to make changes. Many tunnels were started by troops with the Engineers supplying technical advice and some super-vising personnel. The exigencies of the situation demanded the simultaneous construction of practically all the personnel protection which had been planned. Although all concerned worked unceasingly, not all of it could be completed. The following were the principal difficulties encountered in construction work:
a. Lack of time;
b. Active artillery fire and aerial bombing causing delay or stoppage of work;
c. Depletion or destruction of construction materials;
d. Damage to construction equipment and in many cases had to resort to slower hand methods;
e. Change of plans to meet immediate tactical requirements;
f. Diversing of personnel to work on field or other defense works.
Tunnels were started in the vicinity of practically all mobile batteries and near RJ 43 on Corregidor for the 8-in gun personnel. Innumerable tunnels or splinter proofs were built by Beach Defense troops using such scrap or salvage materials as could be spared from the main projects. It is safe to venture a guess that if all tunnels constructed on Corregidor after hostilities commenced were connected end to end the resultant summation would not be less than two miles.
10. Corregidor had an intricate road and trail system approximately sixty-five miles in length. These roads and trails were in excellent condition at the time of the first bombing attack on Corregidor on 29 December 1941. At this time, progressive deterioration had begun which took all the available facilities of the Engineer Department to combat. The tactical roads were largely rock base, gravel or crushed rock surface type, with adequate drainage under heavy rainfall conditions. During the course of the siege both aerial bombardment and artillery fire caused many road blocks but at no time was it impossible to get around to desired points by means of detours until the last few days prior to the end. At that time the road machinery was practically all destroyed and the density of fire prevented personnel from working on roads day or night. Experience under severe battle conditions on Corregidor proved that well-drained gravel roads were much easier to maintain or replace than the hard surface type. Damaged hard surface roads left sharp edges and caused immovable upturned sections and disrupted drainage.
11. Kindley Field was located on the tail of Corregidor Island. It was a small field and since 1939 efforts were made to improve its condition. Its surface was either too rough from rocky soil at the western end or too muddy at the eastern end. The runway alignment was slightly bowed and narrowed down to 150 feet at the center. The length of the runway was just short of 2100 feet. Due to lack of funds little improv~ ment could be made prior to 1941. It was desired to improve this field to provide for a 2600 feet runway hard surfaced and 150 feet wide with 75 feet gravel surfaced shoulders. The east end of the field was to be extended by fill from Navy project tunnel spoil and the lowering of the south-eastern end and middle of the runway. It was estimated this improvement would require funds in the amount of $130,000. During 1940 and 1941 the Air Corps provided $2300 for this work, except that the project was to be changed to provide a natural earth runway. This was an inade nd little was accomplished. It was not until January 1942 that real work was done on the field. At this time work was started on extending the field and on the construction of five splinter proof fully camouflaged plane pens. Company "A", 803d Engineers (Aviation) was brought to Corregidor from Bataan together with equipment and five pens and a substantial portion of the field completed. This work was accomplished under frequent bombings and shellings. The Company Commander was severely wounded while engaged in this work. He died subsequently in the Malinta Tunnel Hospital.
12. Early in 1941 the Harbor Defense Commander directed the completion of the Malinta Tunnel Hospital to include the gas proofing originally planned. The CWS had received funds at the close of the FY 1941 which had to be obligated for storage and other installations. Some funds were released from Engineer allotments which could be used for tunnel work. In July a construction crew started on the 450 feet of additional underground excavation necessary to accommodate the hospital according to plans. This work was completed in December 1941 except for a portion of the floor which was laid later. All plumbing was of an emergency type but it served the purpose for which it was intended to a satisfactory degree. Fortunately th~ big blowers for forced ventilation had arrived but the duct work for their efficient use had to be abandoned for a more easily constructed temporary scheme. None of the CW5 cannisters or headers arrived for gas proofing so makeshift blanket curtain frames were installed as temporary expedient. Five unfinished laterals were enlarged and interconnecting cross-cuts constructed for ventilation. These were to be concrete lined, fully drained, and the main tunnel facing the entrance to be likewise enlarged and finished. About 30% of the cut surfaced enlargement was completed when necessity required that work cease in order that supplies might be moved in for storage without further lining. The space thus provided was of great value for the protection of a large quantity of food supplies.
13. Three wooden redwood tanks were placed on the side of Malinta Hill after hostilities started.
14. In April 1941 the following defense measures were ordered by the Harbor Defense Commander:
a. The issue of defense reserve stocks such as barbed wire, concrete beams, galvanized iron sheets, entrenching tools, and sand bags.
b. The issue and apportionment of rough lumber for splinter proofs.
c. The construction of concrete magazines for small arms ammunition, hand grenades, and fuzes.
d. The testing of air raid alarm systems with a view of selecting the most satisfactory.
e. The adoption of a standard splinter proof machine gun nest.
f. Improvement of certain installed concrete field work.
g. Construction of bombproof Command Post for Beach Defense.
h. Fixed spads mounts for 75-mm guns assigned to beach defenses.
In accomplishing this work the Engineers were to build all structures requiring technical skill and the troops assigned to emergency beach defense were to construct and erect all other works used by them; and to install obstacles. By 8 December 1942 work was completed insofar as was possible with available material. There was a dearth of sand bags and barbed wire which deficiency existed through-out active operations in spite of several issues from the Philippine Engineer Depot. Essential supplies had failed to reach the Philippines and no substitute could be obtained in local market in sufficient quantities.
15. After 8 December 1942 the shortage of sand bags became progressively more serious. Some bags were fabricated by using packing burlap. The window openings and doors of the Post Power Plant, Cold and Dry Stores, and the Engineer tunnel were protected by huge baffle walls. Sacks of cement were used until sand bags could be made and filled. These vigorous protective measures instituted by all concerned resulted in the saving of many lives.
16. The well at the west entrance to Malinta Tunnel was protected by a circular parapet of sand bags. Although it was necessary to partially renew the parapet from time to time this well was never out of commission even during the heaviest bombardment; and during the first few days after the surrender, water from this well saved the lives of many prisoners of war in the concentration camp not far away. The well was completed under the direction of the Harbor Defense Quartermaster during the spring of 1941.
17. Four and one-half miles of land cable was laid in a six-foot trench by the Engineer Department during the summer of 1941 to connect the submarine mine casemate in James Ravine to three terminal huts located in Cheney Ravine, Rock Point Shore and James Ravine respectively. The digging of the trench and laying of the cable were done by Bilibid prison labor during the worst period of the rainy season without a single accident.
(Scan courtesy of Eric
Sprengle, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army Reserve (Ret),
Commander, VFW Post 7591, Madison, Wisconsin)
18. During the conduct of the defense several large reinforced concrete projects were carried to completion as follows:
a. The Morrison Hill gasoline storage was covered with two feet of heavily reinforced concrete and the structure subsequently camouflaged. Although work was carried on during aerial and artillery bombardment it was never damaged or used as a target.
b. M-22 Ordnance Magazine was repaired. This involved the partial replacement of a four-foot reinforced concrete ceiling.
c. The Harbor Defense telephone exchange at Topside was covered with two feet of reinforced concrete. The trees over the top of the structure were left untouched for camouflage purposes. The reinforcing steel was woven between the intervening spaces and the concrete was poured around burlap-protected tree trunks. A large baffle wall was constructed covering doors to this structure. This installation although surrounded by bomb craters was not damaged at the surrender.
d. Tank obstacles were erected in the port area at Bottomside and near entrance to Malinta Tunnel. These consisted of reinforced square slotted concrete posts in which steel rails were laid.
e. Roofs were placed over beach defense 75-mm guns for protection from dive bombing attacks. They were really improvised casemates and proved successful for the purpose installed, although several were destroyed by heavy bombs or prolonged artillery fire.
f. Reinforced concrete bases for two 250 KW Fairbanks Morse two cycle engines were constructed and one engine actually installed and was practically ready for operation when hostilities ceased.
g. Cold Storage room was repaired. This work was well along toward completion at the time of surrender.
h. The arch roof protecting the west entrance to Malinta Tunnel was strengthened. This work was completed under camouflage nets during a quiet period in March 1942. It consisted of a two to two and a half foot reinforced concrete cover over the thinly exposed arch section extending beyond the rock cut. The supporting timbers were left in place to give added strength.
19. In January 1942 the Engineer Department took over all utilities and post maintenance work under very hazardous conditions. Repair of water and electric lines, and roads, reached discouraging proportions, but although there were interruptions to these services at times by long hours of daily and nightly work under combat conditions, the responsible personnel maintained those services to such an extent that at no time were the defenses seriously hampered by lack of such facilities.
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