- 2 -
 

The battery was briefed and details discussed. Plane loading was assignments were made and packing was complete on 14 February.

On 16 February, at 0910 hrs. the 1st. Platoon and Battery Headquarters jumped on A Field, Corregidor Island. Lt. Doherty immediately set up his CP in the Infantry Barracks building. Lt. Morris took sections and moved to positions west of the jump field to support Co. I and G, 503d RCT, and the amphibious landing of elements of the 34th Infantry Division.

Lt. Reedy, assistant platoon leader 1st. Platoon, took one section and set up covering Wheeler Point and enemy Anti-Aircraft emplacements in the vicinity.

On the drop the 1st. platoon lost two weapons, nine men were wounded and twelve listed missing. The platoon gave excellent support to Co. G. and I and the amphibious landing. Thousands of rounds were expended; but due to the bitter enemy resistance no true estimate of the damage inflicted. During the mornings fighting Technician 5th Grade Lloyd S. Allen, medic attached to the 1st. platoon, was killed by sniper fire as he administered to a wounded man.  At 1315 hrs. the 2d Machine Gun Platoon, commanded by Lt. Allen and Lt. Oliver, dropped on A Field; as the enemy had foreseen the possibility of Air-Borne reinforcements, the field was well covered by machine gun and rifle fire. The enemy Anti-Aircraft weapons also got the range and inflicted some damage to the aircraft. After the jump was made and the platoon assembled Lt. Allen and four enlisted men were missing. Lt. Oliver assumed command and emplaced his weapons supporting G and I Co, 2d Battalion, 503d RCT.

 

 

- 3 -
 

The morning of the 17th, the machine gun platoons encountered strong enemy resistance, infiltrating Japanese attack the positions of Cpls. O'Donnell and O’Reilly, the attack was repelled by hand grenades.  Four Nips were killed during the encounter with no loss to either section.  S/Sgt Regester’s section was hit much harder.  The Nips attempted a Banzai on the gun position.  The machine gun was committed; the enemy attack it in force and shot and killed Pfc. Marcus Winton and Oliver Morton who were operating the weapon.  Sgt. Regester and Pvt. Nygard manned the weapon and succeeded in stopping the attack, both were slightly wounded by grenade fragments during the struggle.  Twenty Japanese were killed in this engagement the prompt action of Pfc. Winton and Morton undoubtedly saved the lives of every man in the squad.

At 0700 hrs Lt. Oliver reported that his five .50 cal machine guns had accounted for sixteen of the enemy and had exploded an ammunition dump, killing an undisclosed number. 

At 0900 hrs the third lift arrived over jump field A.  Equipment was dropped but the personnel did not jump because of a strong ground wind and terrific enemy fire.  It was like learned later that all the planes of the 3d platoon had been hit by small arms fire.

S/Sgt. Guy Neal, platoon Sgt. 1st. Platoon, reported much activity in his sector.  His weapons had neutralized an enemy .50 cal machine gun and its crew of five men.  He had moved to a ridge commanding Malinta Hill and was delivering support to Co. G in the assault of enemy emplacements below the hill.  During the assault the Co. was pinned down by enemy machine gun fire, Neal’s guns took it under fire and destroyed it and killed six of the crew.  During this engagement Pfc Frank Rutolo and James Abney were wounded and evacuated.  1st. Lt.


 

 

- 4 -
 

Morris also was evacuated and went to the hospital at Subic Bay, he suffered from a tropical infection. (Jungle Rot).

At 1600 hrs the twelve men who were missing reported into the battery CP.  They had been blown from the drop zone over the cliff at Wheeler Battery and had landed in a ravine near the beach.  After repeated attempts to fight their way to the jump field they got to the beach and signaled a P.T. boat which delivered them to an escort vessel of the amphibious assault.  They made the landing with the elements of the 34th Infantry Division and in so doing actually participated in two landings on Corregidor Island, one air-borne the other amphibious.  These men were: S/Sgt William Ellis, Cpl. Anthony Pagliughi, Cpl. Tino Santos, Cpl. Herbert Oats, T/5 Hubert Bowling, Pvts. Carmel Hall, Ralph E. Kelly, Forest Jennings.

On the 18th, Lt. Oliver reported six more of the enemy killed by the 2d Platoon.  One of the Btrys. .50 cal guns was retaken from the enemy and turned over to the 2d Platoon bringing their active weapons strength to six guns. 

At 1600 hrs the 3d Platoon, 4th and 5th Howitzer Platoons reported into the CP.  They had landed at San Jose Beach at 1715 hrs the day previous.  The landing had been made under heavy machine gun and mortar fire and had suffered two casualties: 1st. Lt. Gandee and Cpl. Maurice Obregon.

Lt. Breslin reported that Pvt.  William Harding had been wounded while flying over the jump field the day before.

Four machine guns, of the 3d Platoon, were assigned to Co. A and four to Co. E.  They occupied positions near Searchlight Point and engaged the enemy killing six Nips in the first few minutes of firing.


 

 

 

- 5 -
 

It became necessary to assign the personnel of the Howitzer Platoons to fill vacancies of the three machine gun platoons.  As far as practical these men were made into squads under the command of their regular section chiefs.  Sgt. Galand, commanding a section of howitzer men, killed three Nips on the 19th.

At 0330 hrs, 19 February; the enemy blew up a hidden ammunition dump near positions of the 3d Platoon, on Searchlight Point.  Sgt. Kolchak, Cpl. Forner, Pfc Wells, Pvts. Pope and Egan were wounded.  The blast stunned the entire section, shortly thereafter the Nips started infiltrating and in the ensuing battle fourteen Japs were killed.  The section was practically annihilated and was replaced by men of the howitzer platoons.

The Battery CP was also attack on the same night, two of the enemy were killed in this attempt.  The CP was moved to the west wing of the Infantry Barracks to a more covered position.  Lt. R. F. Boughn accidentally shot himself through the thigh during the encounter, he was evacuated.  The battery thus far had lost three of its eight officers.  Lt. Oliver reported the results of the previous night's action, the CP of the second battalion had been “BANZIED” (sic).  They were able to repel the attack and the second platoon had killed three Nips during the fight.

Lieutenant Reedy, who had assumed command of the 1st Platoon, moved his weapons to commanding ground overlooking Morrison Point and Battery point, here he supported the assault of Co. H on enemy fortifications.

 That afternoon one platoon of Co F, 2d battalion and one machine gun squad Battery D were pinned down by machine gun fire from Malinta Tunnel. The machine gun squad were able to maneuver to a position where they could cover the withdrawal of the infantry. Pfc Vernon Collett was shot thru the hand


 

 

 

- 6 -
 

 during the fire fight.

On the 20th, Pfc.  Robert Held was wounded by an enemy sniper, Sgt. Galland shot and killed the sniper.

The second platoon was again attack by the enemy, infiltrating at night, and sixteen of them were killed with no loss to our troops.

At 1030 hrs the bodies of 2d Lt. Robert G. Allen and Pvt. Vernon L. Reed were recovered in the vicinity of Wheeler Battery. They had never gotten out of their parachute harness.  Up till the 21st, attempts to get the bodies were repelled by the heavy fire of the enemy.  And three more Nips were killed by a party led by IT 4 John Gonzalez.

On the 22d, three snipers were killed by the 3d Platoon, while supporting Co B in assault of fortifications near Wheeler Battery.

On the 23d, the 3d Platoon moved up on Malinta Hill to support the 3d Battalion’s assault on the eastern tip of the island.  Two sections set up on the hill and two went with the assault Company.

The sections on the hill were subjected to a nerve-racking experience during the night, reoccurring explosions within Malinta Tunnel shook the hill all night.  Toward morning Pfc Zurawski detected a large patrol of Japanese attempting to attack the outpost of Sgt. Pickinpaugh’s section, as the Nips fixed bayonets Zurawski fired his shot alerted the outburst and all the men concentrated their fire on the attacking Japs.  The fact that the enemy had to cross a narrow ridge to get to the outpost was responsible for the success of this encounter.  During this action eight men of the 3d Platoon killed fifty one Japanese with small arms and hand grenades.  The Platoon suffered no loss.  Later in the morning three more enemy troops were killed by their machine gun fire.

 

 

- 7 -
 

During the day of the 24th, the 3d Platoon engaged the enemy, in support of the 1st battalion.  During the fire fight thirty seven Nips were killed, one mortar and one machine gun was neutralized during this action.  S/Sgt. Ricketts was shot in the head while directing the fire of his section, the wound was not serious.  Cpl. Lenhardt, Headquarters Battery, was also wounded in the encounter and with Ricketts was evacuated.

On the morning of the 25th Lt. Morris radioed, from his CP on Malinta Hill, and asked that the be relieved.  Lt. Oliver and thirty eight men of the 2d Platoon moved up to relieve them.  Lt. Morris was again evacuated for his reoccurring tropical infection.

The 2d Platoon supported the advance of the 1st Battalion on Tower Hill as they pushed on toward Monkey Point.  As the 1st Battalion pushing a successful assault toward Monkey Point the Japs set off a tremendous charge of stored ammunition.  The blast killed and wounded many men of the 1st Battalion.  T/5 Thaddeus Kazor was killed and S/Sgt. Johnson, Cpl. Roland Kirk, Pfc Verner Collett, and Leo Lenning were hospitalized for injuries sustained in the explosion, all were badly shaken.

On this date 1st Lt J.  B.  Gandee returned from the hospital to duty, assuming command of the 3d Platoon.

The reminder of the 1st Battalion and attached 2d Platoon were relieved by the 3d Battalion and the 1st Platoon, on 25 Feb.  In the action that took place shortly after the 3d Battalion was committed the 1st platoon killed three Nips as the area was searched by the machine guns.

 On the 27th, the 3d Battalion took Hooker Point, the 1st Platoon delivered supporting fire for the assault.


 

 

- 8 -

On the 27th, the 3d Battalion took Hooker Point, the 1st Platoon delivered supporting fire for the assault.

The 2d and 3d Platoons were employed, during the last phase of the campaign, within the perimeters of the 1st and 2d Battalions in the defense of the " Top Side".

From 28 February to 1 March, mopping up operations continued.  The 1st platoon killed an additional three Nips on the east end of the island.

On 2 March, General MacArthur arrived on Corregidor and after touring the island officially received Corregidor from Col. George M. Jones, 503d Regimental Combat Team Commander.  Col. Jones was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, by Gen.  MacArthur, for the outstanding work and devotion of the members of the Combat Team in the retaking of the Island Fortress.  In his order of the day he cited all units participating in the operation.  Lt. Doherty and 11 enlisted men attended the ceremonies.

From this date until the Combat Team was relieved, patrol action was the only contact made against the remaining Japanese garrison.  In this patrol activity Lt. Gandee reported that members of the 3d Platoon killed three Nips on 4 March.

On 6 March, memorial services were held for those killed on Corregidor.  Services were held at the Mariveles Armed Forces Cemetery No.1, Mariveles, Bataan, P.I.  That afternoon a fire started in the small arms ammunition dump spreading to Battalion when it destroyed all of the remaining Battery equipment.  All of the machine guns, radios, and howitzers were burned.  No casualties were caused by the conflagration.

 

The final score of enemy killed by the Battery was three hundred and twenty seven KIA.  The Battery during the operation lost one officer and seven enlisted men KIA, three officers and thirty six enlisted men wounded or injured by enemy action.

 

 

- 9 -
 

Upon return to Mindoro the battery strength was one hundred and forty eight enlisted men and four officers.

Lessons learned on the operation were many, a few of the outstanding were:

Never commit a machine gun at night unless it is absolutely necessary.

That the Battery has more weapons than men to operate them.

Local security at night must be supplemented by the use of booby traps.

Commit machine guns in pairs, commence firing with one and open up with the other when counter fire is placed on the other.

Need for more automatic supporting weapons ie. Thompson Sub Machine Guns.

An adequate carrying device for .50 cal ammunition.

 

FOR THE BATTERY COMMANDER:

 

 

/S/

 

JESSE B. GANDEE

1st. Lt.          FA

Unit Historian

 

 

 

 

transcribed by EXO 040408

   

 

 

 

 

         

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