This view was taken from high on the northern slopes of  Malinta Hill across the North Dock area towards Topside. The three docks are the Lorcha Dock, North Dock, and Engineer's Dock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engineer's Ravine is swathed in smoke as men of the 3d Bn., 34th Inf. Rgt. crouch down low and observe for any potential movement   across the North Dock area. They are positioned on the slopes of Malinta Hill, near Malinta Point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things go quiet for a while.

 

 

 

4

Reasons for Airs Successes

Our air support worked exceptionally well because:

  1. The Air Forces had the planes and wanted to use them.

  2. Every effort was made to fill all requests.

  3. The air liaison officer and his party knew their business and had a desire to produce.

  4. No unreasonable or wasteful requests were made by us.

While Im on the subject, I believe a few general suggestions for better air support are in order:

  1. Make five bombers available for close tactical support whenever possible. The average close-support target is either a spot target or a small area target requiring great accuracy to get satisfactory results. Accuracy is important for troop safety on close targets. (The close we Doughboys can get for a quick follow-in, the better we like it). Its a tough job for a glide-bombing fighter pilot to be this accurate.

  2. Wed like more rockets. Nothing like a sizzling howling rocket for spot accuracy and for making Christians out of Shintos.

  3. When there are plenty of pilots and planes available, why not designate some outfits as ground-cooperation squadrons? Give pilots special training on it. Teach them some ground tactics and show them how they fit into the picture. Have a few field exercise with Infantry battalion staffs, air liaison parties and the planes flying dummy missions with flour sacks.

  4. We can tighten teamwork by basing the supporting squadrons close to the ground operational area and bringing the pilots to the area after a mission to see the destruction and the dead Japs the have produced. Nothing fosters pride in a job like seeing the results. I just shot a Jap! Hell, how about I got fifty-two on that mission this morning?

With the decrease of Jap air power and the increase of bitter ground fighting (witness Okinawa), close tactical air support becomes more possible from the Air Forces view and more important and necessary from the Ground Forces view.

 

The Malinta OP

 Before mentioning our naval gunfire support, Ill tell you about the Malinta Hill OP. Before the war, a concrete OP on the top of Malinta Hill, known as base end station B-23 was used for artillery direction. It is dug into the rock, has overhead cover, and affords a grand view of the entire island. Every officer ever stationed on Corregidor knows the spot. I met Major Jules Yates after his liberation from Cabanatuan, and found that he had used this OP to defend Corregidor from Japs. He was happy to know that the same OP had been used to drive them off.

Our Company L had an officer on duty there around the clock. After a day or two, they had learned all the most likely places to nail a few Japs. Machine guns were adjusted on road junctions, cave entrances, paths, etc. The 81mm. mortar observers did likewise with their guns. From there on, it was a game, mostly at night, observing fire by the light of the moon and Navy star shells. One or two Japs moving down a road was a challenge to the mortar observer to fire his gun at the precise instant which would bring Jap and the shell together. A miss of five yards, even though it got the Jap, brought derisive remarks. When a Jap column appeared, school was out and a field day in order. The best Malinta Hill OP field day story comes later in speaking of naval gunfire.

Our pre-landing bombardment was copious, well places and was furnished by cruisers, destroyers, gunboats, rocket firing LCIs and PT boats. On D-day the fire never ceased from the opening of the heavy guns at daylight until our first wave touched shore amid the dust of the final volleys of five-inch shells.

My best story of naval support concerns our floating artillery. The destroyers which stood offshore day after day giving close support with gnats-eye accuracy were a main factor in the retaking of Corregidor. The set-up was similar to that of field artillery and air support, a liaison party and a forward observer party. These parties come from the Joint Assault Signal Companies made up of individuals from both the Army and Navy. JASCO is a good outfit and deserves a lot of credit. Their men on Corregidor showed plenty guts and skill.

We had two destroyers available at all times, day and night. During the day, one destroyer sat dead in the water off the south shore firing on any likely looking target east of Malinta Hill, while the other worked around the west end, firing mission for the paratroopers in their clean-up of the rugged ravines and cliffsides in that area. At night, one destroyer lay out west of the island firing star-shell illumination until the moon rose, while the other patrolled outside the bay entrances though still available to fire on call.

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