S E C R E T
Due to the unusual
character of the CORREGIDOR ISLAND operation it is felt a record
of the operation in narrative form would be of general interest
to all. The following report is compiled mainly from eye witness
accounts fitted into the general tactical situation as recorded
in official reports. A sketch and photo map is attached-for the
clarification of this summary.
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The recapture of
CORREGIDOR was aimed at opening MANILA BAY to Allied shipping.
The operation planned and executed by troops of the XI Corps,
struck the Rock 16 Feb, just 12 days after the entry into MANILA
by American forces and accomplished in ten days, a job that
required the Japs over 3 months to do.
CORREGIDOR as an
isolated military reservation was secure from ordinary
intelligence agencies. Attempts to land Alamo Scouts on the Rock
were foiled by the presence of Jap radar on the island,
therefore, a formal G2 estimate of enemy strength was not given.
As it developed the 3rd
Battalion landing team of the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat
Team found themselves dropping on to the top of the Rock into
the midst of a Jap force 5 times their own numbers. The
preparatory naval and air strike coupled with the suddeness of
the paratroops landing were in a large measure responsible for
the initial success of the landing for the Japs, driven
underground by our coordinated naval and air action, reacted
slowly to the vertical envelopment and allowed our paratroops to
secure their equipment and organize.
From documents captured
on the Rock it is known that the Jap had recognized the pattern
of our preparations for attack and had alerted his garrison for
an amphibious attack. As a further indication of his complete
surprise at our air invasion the few weapons which did fire on
our descending infantrymen had to be shifted from ground targets
to the air. Adding to the difficulty of our paratroops were the
restricted landing areas of the golf course and parade ground,
forcing cur C-47s to make 3 and 4 runs to dump their loads. A
high wind of 15/20 MPH caused the troops to jump over water
west of the island in order to hit the landing ground. Those
unfortunate enough to miss the field found themselves in the
water or east of the top of the Rock. In spite of all
difficulties only 24 men dropped into the water and these were
quickly rescued by waiting PT boats. Only a few landed east of
the Rock but these unfortunates were killed by screaming Japs
rushing out of tunnels and hacking them to death.
The 3rd Battalion, 34th Inf landing at SAN JOSE beach just two
hours after the first air drop made the landing under heavy
rifle and machine gun fire, charging across the mine strewn
beach to secure a beachhead and making contact with the
paratroops on top of the Rock in a matter of a few hours.