"I" Company later again became pinned down by
a MG firing from the icehouse in the north dock area. Again the
tank was called on; it only took a couple rounds to silence the
MG and set the icehouse on fire.
CO of "K" Co, which was at the top of Malinta Hill, radioed BN
Hdq and reported that the landing beach looked much like a movie
war zone. Vehicles were blown up by land mines and casualties
were all over the place. All very quiet at that time on top of
Malinta in "K" & "L" Coís areas.
The first night a Jap slipped into Service
Co. area and set off a charge, destroying himself and a water
treatment plant brought in to convert sea water to drinking
water. A second Jap crawled under a truck loaded with
demolitions. Fortunately, he blew himself up under the front of
the truck and only blew off the truckís left front wheel.
The second day, 17 Feb, "I" Co found that the
area they had cleared the day before had been reoccupied by the
Japs, who were hiding in shell holes created by our 500 lb bombs
that had left a good sized hole in the coral rock.
Lt. Coleman and the first Platoon, along with
Sgt. Ortez and his MG squad moved from shell hole to shell hole,
and by first tossing in a smoke grenade then followed by a
couple of hand grenades then assaulting the position. They
killed over 40 of the enemy, and captured two MG, one knee
mortar and numerous individual weapons.
Meanwhile Sgt. Personni, whoís platoon was
securing the road around the north side of Malinta Hill, spotted
a cave with a large camouflage net hanging over the opening.
John Goodin, "I" Coís flame thrower operator, was called and
directed to burn away the net, which revealed a large cave with
an 8 in. coastal gun covering the north channel entrance to
GOAL POST RIDGE
On top of Malinta Hill, "K" Co had two lower
areas to their left flank. The lower one was known as goal post
ridge, since it had a couple of iron pipes sticking up that
looked similar to a goal post used in football.
Dan Valles, Jim Sullivan and three other men
from Danís Plt were sent down to secure goal post ridge. About
midnight the Japs attacked with force. After they had used up
all ammo and thrown all grenades, Dan and Jim were able to slip
over the side of the hill and work their way around and, at
daybreak, back up to the Company at the top of Malinta Hill.
Next morning Cpt. Centanni, with his
messenger Corp Mureau,2
went down to reconnoitre the area, not realizing there were
still some enemy in that area. Both the Captain and his aide
"K" Companyís EX officer had been killed in
the attack the night before, leaving only a Lt. Fugetti.
"K" Co had taken heavy casualties.
"I" Company was ordered to move to the top of
Malinta Hill and replace "K" Company. Since it was dark by the
time it got in place, it did not attempt to occupy goal post
hill. The enemy attacked again that night at about midnight
until 3 a.m.
We found the primary weapon of defense was
the hand grenade. Harry Veick from Oak Park, MI said if you
spotted one of the enemy crawling up the hill you just pulled
the pin out of a grenade, let the handle fly off so he would not
have time to toss the grenade back, then toss it to the enemy.
If he were on the steep side of the hill he usually rolled back
down and sometimes took another Jap with him.
One night I looked for my radio operator Sam
Sniderman and found out he was out gathering grenades for the
men on the perimeter.
Next morning I requested some sort of
illumination during these night attacks. The Navy had a shell
they fired into the air where it would light up a large area for
about 45 seconds. They continued to fire them every 2 to 3
minutes during an enemy attack. They were a great help.
Next day "K" Company sent up a detail to pick
up casualties on goalpost hill and take them down off the hill.
"I" Company Commander went down with them to reconnoitre the
area. Casualties were recovered. There was no sign of enemy.
Two hours later Sgt. Owen3
with the 2nd Platoon was sent down to occupy goalpost hill. He
found the enemy had moved back in, or had been asleep that
morning as a tough firefight developed with Sgt Owen and one
other man killed, and one wounded. As dark came on 2nd Platoon
now under Sgt. Shorr was moved back up into Company perimeter
for the night.
Next morning Sgt. Shorr had his 2nd Plt
reinforced with a section of Sgt. Ortezís Lt. MG. Following a
81mm mortar barrage, they moved onto goalpost hill with no enemy
opposition. But, the enemy continued to hit them every night.
One morning we started to receive sniper fire
from Infantry Point, a brush covered hill some 150 yds to the
northeast of our position. One of Company "I"ís men was wounded.
We tried 81mm mortar fire which seemed to have little effect.
We next contacted our air liaison officer
requesting a napalm drop to burn off the brush. Less than 5
minutes later he called me back advising that planes were
already being loaded and that they would be over our target in
15 minutes. Since he was down at Bn. Hdq, he asked me to help
direct the planes in. So, by keeping the line open between us
and he in touch with the planes, we directed the strike, which
was 100 percent successful. We also saw one of the enemy come
running out of the brush and was immediately cut down by rifle
fire from Malinta Hill.
Joseph Baron from Chicago, IL, a medic with a
4-man litter squad was evacuating a seriously wounded man down
off Malinta Hill when the enemy opened up spraying them with
heavy caliber MG fire killing one of the litter bearers. The
wounded man was dropped off litter and rolled down the hill for
Naval vessels setting offshore fired and
quieted the Jap MG so the medics could pick up the wounded man
and continue on to aid station.
A MG had been spraying the landing area when
any gathering had developed. Lt. Bernie an officer on patrol
located it in a brush covered cave on the side of a cliff.
Bernie then went out to the cruiser located just offshore and
helped them spot the entrance to the cave where this gun was
located and the Naval guns quickly shut down that heavy MG.
Bill McKenna and Joe Froelich (who
represented Austria as a downhill skier in the 1932 Olympics) of
"A" Company settled down for the night in a shell hole.
We were advised by a couple of Naval Officers
who had spent time on Corregidor back when it belonged to the
U.S., that if the Japs ever blew the ammunition in the tunnels
the blast would create a channel across the island. The tunnels
held some 35,000 artillery shells, 10,000 powder charges, 2,000
lbs TNT, 80,000 mortar shells along with hand grenades and land
Sgt. Bill Hartman, Plt. Sgt Cannon Co 34th
Inf, with driver Mike Nolan stripped down a M7 self-propelled
mount (105MM & 50 Cal MG) and took a load of medical supplies up
to the 503rd Paratroopers up topside. They had to go up a road
which had not yet been cleared of the enemy, and received heavy
MG fire at one point.
On return trip they carried wounded men.
Hartman and Nolan made a second trip this time pulling a water
tank along with medical supplies, again MG fire, however not as
heavy and again brought down casualties.
On the 7th night the Japs blew the tunnel.
Malinta Hill bounced, fire came out of the tunnels and rose up
the sides. A portion of the south end broke off burying six A
Company men under rock and isolating Bill McKenna and his MG
squad from the remainder of the Platoon.
A couple hours later the Navy moved a
destroyer and a PT boat into the area, and shot a rope up to
Billís position and rescued he and his squad one at a time. They
took them out to the PT boat in a rubber boat. The remainder of
the "A" Company was rescued at daylight.
Jack Miller and the 2nd Plt. "L" Company were
shaken from explosion and flames, which as observed from above,
appeared to cover their position. But they had no casualties.
As it got daylight the following morning, the
east side of Malinta Hill was covered with the enemy. They were
crawling up the hill. "L" Company spotted them first and started
firing. None of the 300 or so enemy troops ever reached the top
of Malinta Hill.
Jack Miller and his Platoon with two tanks
attached was given the assignment to attack around the north
side of Malinta Hill. He positioned one tank in front of the
north tunnel entrance where it was stormed by the enemy in
bunches of 10 to 20, all armed with sticks and rocks. They
killed a great number of the enemy, but took no casualties of
On 24 February the 503rd relieved "I" and "L"
companies on the top of Malinta Hill.
On 25 February, the 3rd Bn. with attached
units were picked up by LSTs and moved back to Subic Bay where
they re-joined the rest of the 34th Infantry.
On 2 March Col Postlethwait, his staff and
the Company Commanders with about a dozen EM returned to
Corregidor for the flag raising with Gen McArthur.
The 503rd Paratrooper Regiment and the 3rd
Battalion 34th Infantry were awarded the Presidential Unit
Citation for the job they did on retaking Corregidor.
Paul J. Cain
Paul J. Cain, hometown Ivesdale, IL., drafted a private
1940, commissioned 2nd Lt. Inf October 1942, joined "K" Company 34th
Inf. 24th Infantry Division on Oahu Nov 1942, transferred to "I" Company
34th Inf as Commanding officer Nov. 1944. After Japan surrender August
1945 relieved and returned to States, November 1945. #
1. Frank D.
CENTANNI, Capt., S/N O-01286439, of Cleveland OH. 17 Feb
2. There's no "Mureau"
in the 34th ID database of KIA. The reference appears
to be to Salvatore J. Di Muro S/N 32020810.
3. There is no "Sgt.
Owen" listed with the 34th ID database of KIA, though there
is an S/Sgt. Owen E. Williams.