"FLINT"

Battery “F” 60th coast artillery (a.a.)
by UNKNOWN

 

 

 

"This is our distinctive insignia of the 60th Artillery Regiment. The 60th had been organised 23 December 1917, and the motto "COELIS IMPERAMUS" means 'We Rule the Heavens.'

Al McGrew

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Surrender

This is a faked photo.  The real  flag had been lowered and destroyed by Colonel Bunker.  See Article 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

he Battery Histories which appear on this website are due to a long line of men,  many whose names will never be known.  These men, at the risk of their lives, wrote them from memory and created the original documents whilst incarcerated in Japanese POW Camps. They then concealed  the documents for the duration.   Not every battery history has survived the war, and their loss is part of the tragic story of Japanese indifference to human life in their custody.  

At the end of the line of these men who have preserved these histories, are George Munson and Al McGrew (himself a POW),  who have enabled us to put them into the public domain.

June 1, 1941-May 6, 1942

This battery was organized June 11, 1941, from personnel of Battery “B” of the same regiment. Its equipment - 4 M3 guns on M2A2 mounts, M4 director, 2 power plants and M1 height finder, arrived at Corregidor in September 1941 and the personnel was trained on this equipment.  Air missions were few and far between and no firing was scheduled until Jan. 1942. Firing was done in Jan. 1942, but not as per schedule.

The battery got its first taste of life in the field when it manned the war position and equipment of Battery “B” on an alert status for a four week period in August. It rained heavily and continuously during this period.

Battery “F”- known on the telephone as “Flint”- was scheduled for a war position on Bataan. Consequently, no battle position was planned on the Rock. A drill and target practice position was organized at the AA firing point just northwest of Battery Cheney. About the middle of October orders were received to organize a battle position at the same place. The digging was started at once and continued as far as the weather permitted. The soil was rain soaked hard clay full of large boulders.

On the night of November 28, about 2100, all units on Corregidor were ordered to take up battle stations. Flint had been preparing to occupy its new position on November 19 for another alert period and all were in tents by 2400. 50 rounds of HE shells were issued each gun and placed in readiness. 1000 more rounds were received the morning of the 29th and stored at the position and stored in splinterproofs that had been dug the year before by “D” Battery of the 92nd AC for 155 magazines. These served Flint as main magazines throughout the war and were never hit. Orders were received on the 29th to fire on all planes “failing to follow certain routes, or, at night failing to display certain recognition signals."  Rumors flew fast and furious, but no faster than the dirt. Several times during the period Nov. 29–Dec.8, Flint was alerted -“all guns and instruments manned and power on”– even in the small hours of the morning. The message usually “hostile planes sighted over Northern Luzon. Alert all units."

About 0430, Dec. 8, 1941, Flint was again shaken out of bed. The message was about as usual and there was much muttered cursing of “these damned war games”. At 0612 came the electrifying message “Pearl Harbor attacked. Oahu bombed by Japanese planes. Battleships Arizona and Utah sunk. President Roosevelt has announced that a state of war exists between the U.S. and Japan”. Even after this, there were a few doubting Thomases who clung to the belief “that it was all a man maneuver”. All doubts were settled by turning on the radio. Bombing was heard in the direction of Nichols Field and Cavite about 0300 on the morning of the 9th.

Flint fired its first rounds on the morning of the 10th. With the exception of about 20 men, these were the first 3" rounds the men had ever fired or seen fired. The target was several flights of heavy bombers - the twin-tailed Mikado type flying west over the North Channel. These planes were within fuze range for only 3 seconds but it was about 15 seconds before the phoned command “cease firing” got through. In that time the four guns put up 27 bursts , not a bad performance for absolutely green gun crews. No damage to the enemy was observed. The firing had the muchly desired effect of proving to the men that their own weapon would not hurt them. None were gun-shy.

 It was on this occasion that the extreme inadequacy of the 21-second powder train fuze became apparent to every man in the battery. Long after the enemy had passed our fuze limit, Battery “B” Boston kept on putting bursts “right in there” with their 30 second mechanical fuzes. The feeling of envy on this occasion was, later in the war, supplanted by a feeling of helplessness as flight after flight came right over, bombing us from altitudes that Flint could not reach. The Battery showed coolness in action on the 10th by being the only unit able to report that it had fired no cal. .30, .45, or .50 ammunition at the enemy, who was flying at the altitude of about 6000 yards.

At the declaration of war Flint had two guns in pits so that when at 0 elevation, all parts of the gun were below ground level at the director, height finder, power plants and switchboard. The 4 local defense AA machine guns were in pits evacuated by cal. .50 guns of Battery “I”. Sand bags were very scarce and the only sand available was at the beaches at the east end of the island. The deficiency in sand bags was partly compensated for by using earth filled 12" and 155mm propelling charge cans. The personnel was all under canvas. Electricity was available from Cheney’s 25 KW plant as well as from the position system. Radio’s were very popular. The two guns that had not been completely dug in were soon in , but the digging had undoubtedly been photographed. There was also much topping of trees to be done to give a field of observation for the battery range section. 

From Dec. 10th to the 29th all was peaceful on Corregidor but air activity was intense. Jap bomber formations were visible daily and the sound of bombing at Cavite was plainly audible. Work on the gun pits, director and height finder positions was completed. The Filipino KP’s completed a cave shelter for themselves and the cooks. The Filipino hired hands, KP’s, barber, shoe shine boys, latrine orderly and officer’s house boy stood by and worked faithfully through all the bombing and shelling. No defeatism was shown by them although they all knew that their families were in Jap occupied territory. Their pay was a pitiful 21 pesos per month with no prospect of pensions for their dependents.

About now, on Dec. 29th,  the air raid sirens blew. These had been heard many times in the three preceding weeks, but the enemy had always given the Rock a wide berth. This time it was different. The formations came straight for Corregidor. About 1200 noon the first AA bursts appeared, followed closely by the thunder of the first bombs to hit Corregidor.

The Battery Commander was not at the position when the first flight came over. The battery was put into action by the range officer. The Btry. Commander arrived about the time the second flight of planes came in. Figures vary on the number of bombers that came over but there were between 54 and 81 heavy type and about 18 low flying light bombers. Of the latter, 3 flew a course from Battery Wheeler directly over us at Flint and Cheney. Two of them fell in the sea about two miles west of Monja Island, brought down by the machine guns of Flint and Cheney. The action continued the whole 2 hours. The heavy bombers flew in fairly tight formations, continuing straight on after releasing their bombs.

After the “all clear” had been sounded, Flint took stock of the damage. No man had run. No. 3 gun was out of action and two of its crew wounded slightly. A bomb had hit within 10 feet of the edge of the pit and fragments pierced the counter recoil cylinder of No. 3 gun. The wounded were Cpl. Vinger and Pvt._____________. The water had been shut off in all pipes and the post power lines were out of operation. There were more than 30 crates in the immediate battery area. Flint had fired 254 rounds, engaging nine flights of planes. Several HB’s were reported shot down, but none were claimed by Flint as it was impossible to distinguish the bursts of any one AA battery from those of another. The cooks and KP’s served a good hot supper but appetites were slight. Too much excitement. It may be remarked here that no shelling or bombing ever prevented the kitchen crew from feeding the men of action. During this entire action the switchboard was located in a tent near the director pit. It had no splinter proofing of any kind. When the dust cleared away, the two operators were found working on the ground surrounded by foot lockers. Communications between Flint and Red- 1st Battalion, 60th CA, had gone out once and had been restored there, and between the CP and the guns by the battery communications section while the bombing attack was still in progress. These men received the Silver Star decoration for this brave performance and several of them added an Oak Leaf Cluster by repeating the performance during the Jan 2 bombing attack on Corregidor.

Until Jan. 2, 1942 all was quiet again on Corregidor. The communication section moved the switchboard into the protected slit trench that ran under the concrete floor of the director emplacement and started a pit that was to become their regular post of operation during action. Manila was evacuated by Dec. 31, 1941 and occupied by the Japanese Army. Flint welcomed a platoon of U.S. Marines under Lt. James Keene. This platoon was assigned as platoon 7 of Btry “F” 60th. Although they arrived at 2030 on Dec. 31st, all of its cal. .50 machine guns were in position on Navy deck mounts set in concrete by 2330/ Pretty fast work on a dark night in strange terrain. This platoon lived, worked and fought side by side with our battery until April 25 when it was moved to______________ position to increase local protection for Btry. Hearn.

On Jan. 2 the raids started again and continued for 4 days. The low flying bombers were absent and the heavies started increasing their altitude. They came at the same time every day- 12:45- but although many hits were scored in our battery area, the only damage they did was to cut one gun cable, knock out telephone lines, and ruin the tents and much of the clothing of the range section. By the end of this period the men were well salted. Bombing no longer affected appetites. The Japanese continued to lose 5 to 15 % in each raid. Several more men were wounded, but only one had to be hospitalized. This was Cpl. G.D. Smith, who was struck on the head by a large rock. His helmet saved his life.

Each day the enemy flew higher, finally bombing from ______ and higher, but although most flights could be reached only by Boston and Chicago, they continued to lose planes. On Jan. 7th everyone was at his post at 12:30 waiting. The fatal minute- 12:45- came and went and still no bombers appeared. It is no exaggeration to say that that afternoon was the longest of the war.                                 

The next day was the same. A few heavy bombers appeared on Jan. 14. No more came within range until March 24. Several large flights were seen passing far to the south apparently headed for the battle in NEI.

The “lull” was on. Except for occasional chance shot at lone G-2's known as “photo Joe’s”, all was quiet until mid-February. Improvement of splinter proofing, laying of mine cable in place of the rubber covered cable, pinochle & bridge occupied the long hours of waiting. 

About mid-February, Jap artillery emplaced in Cavite Province and Batangas opened fire on Ft. Frank. As Ft. Frank was clearly visible from our battery position, the duel between the Japs on shore and Forts Frank and Drum was watched with great interest. For several days it was generally believed that the Jap land artillery could not range to Corregidor. This impression was rudely reversed when the same guns started registering on Ft. Hughes and then Corregidor, actually dropping a few into the North Channel. The heavy shellings of Fort Frank and Fort Drum, the concrete battleship, later on provided a spectacle that the men of Btry. “F” would never forget. On one particular day the Japs dropped over 1200 shells on Fort Frank. It seemed impossible that any gun could be still in firing condition. This was proven false when Ft. Frank returned the fire after the enemy barrage let up. Weeks later Flint was to learn something of the barrage the men at Ft. Frank had gone through.

All remained quiet as far as Flint was concerned. The water pipes were repaired and AC current came back, making radios popular. Although the Rock had been out on half-rations on Dec. 15, chow was adequate right to the last. No fresh fruit, vegetables, butter, eggs or potatoes was supplied, but there was plenty of rice, canned spinach, and the canned meats lasted right up to the end. Fresh meat supply stopped with the destruction of the cold storage plant in March except for occasional issues of carabao and mule meat that had been slaughtered on Bataan. Cigarettes were issued as part of the ration, six per man per day, but cigars, pipe tobacco and “chewing” ran out early. Tooth paste and tooth brushes and razor blades became luxury items and very hard to get. Toilet soap was at a premium and the supply of QM white castile soap was almost gone when the surrender came.

 On March 24th the bombers reappeared and from this time on, they used new tactics. The came in small groups, sometimes in pairs, from all directions and at all hours. Rarely did they fly low enough to give us a good shot at them. The battery did fire, however, unless the altitude was over 8000 yards, although a great deal of firing was done at “fuze 21" or over. This was done because observation of fire seemed to indicate that many bursts occurred beyond the fuze time maximum altitudes.

From March 24th until May 7th The Rock was visited daily by heavy bombers. The numbers in attack varied, but on one day 85 heavy bombers unloaded their freight on Corregidor. Flint had many close calls. One large bomb, either an AP type or delayed action hit within 60 feet of the director and left a crater 20 feet across and 12 feet deep. Two pyramidal tents that had been standing there were spread with all their contents, through the tree tops for 50 yards around. Another bomb went into the ground 23 feet from the west corner of the director emplacement and failed to explode. The wind from its passage was felt by the men in the emplacement. The sound it made will never be forgotten by____________.

#3 gun had another close call when a bomb burst ___________ of the outriggers. Some of the bombs that were dropped after March 24th went off in the air. In one raid 3 of these air bursts occurred nearly over Flint. The concussion was quite heavy but no one was wounded although there was no overhead cover. Quite a few concrete filled bombs landed in the battery area but did no damage. These were apparently fuzed with a very sensitive fuze for they left no crater, just a pile of powdered concrete.

On -----------the battery spotted 2 heavy bombers coming in quite low about 5700 yards altitude. Data was called over the battalion data net until all batteries reported on target, we opened fire first, quickly followed by Btry “B”, then by the others. One of the first ten bursts chopped the right wing off one of the bombers. It spun down into the bay off Cabcaben. The plane made quite a noise in falling but was quickly drowned out by the cheering of all who could see it. Although many had been downed previously, this was the first to disintegrate in the air in plain view of the gun crews. The second plane went down farther in Manila Bay. Never again did the heavies fly low over the Rock. Some pieces of the plane were picked up and brought around to the AA batteries so that all men could see them. From this time on the heavy bombers stayed over 7000 yards altitude.

The enemy tried night bombing for about a week, starting during the full moon March 25th, the lights and guns picked them up so quickly and confused their aim so thoroughly that the raids grew fewer each night and the results were nearly nil. Most of the bombs dropped were phosphorous incendiary and more than 50% hit in the water. None came down near our battery.  

About April 1st the attacks on Corregidor diminished and the Japs started to concentrate their air activity on Mariveles and the Bataan Peninsula. We had a front row seat for watching the raids over Mariveles and the shipping___________. The drydock Dewey was a particularly attractive target but it was hard to hit as the Navy had submerged it as far as it would go. The sound of artillery fire, both ours and theirs, increased in volume and seemed to be getting closer every night. The flashed were like summer lightning. 

On April 8th the roar of artillery on Bataan was incessant and the whole N’west sky looked like the 4th of July celebration at home. It was apparent that a heavy attack was being made on our lines. About 2200 Hearn started firing toward Bataan at two minute intervals and sleep or rest was at an end for Flint. Heavy earthquakes rocked the island and about midnight and light ones followed all night. The exploding gasoline and ammunition dumps along the Mariveles-Cabcaben Road showed clearly that a breakthrough had occurred. 

At dawn the whole southern end of the peninsula was covered with fires, and boats were transporting men and equipment from Mariveles to Corregidor. Many men escaping from Bataan in bancas and on rafts landed on Corregidor below our battery position. In spite of these obvious signs, it was a bitter blow for us to learn that general Edward King, Commanding the forces of Bataan had surrendered to the Japanese Imperial Army at 8:00 am April 9, 1942. Btry “F” received two men from the 200th CA (AA) plus nine from the 515th CA (AA) during the night of the 9th. These men had escaped from Bataan with nothing but the clothing they wore. In spite of the experience they had been through they pitched right in and worked faithfully with us until we surrendered.

The Japanese moved their batteries into Corregidor range at once. Light batteries opened fire on the Rock from the vicinity of Cabcaben on the 10th. None of the shells fell near us but the future was very black. On the night of the 12th a dive bomber came3 in right over our position with its running lights on. Every machine gun in range opened fire and the resulting display of tracers was impressive and must have been even to Nip observers on Bataan. Within 10 minutes after the machine guns had ceased firing a 105mm battery opened fire on the Flint/Cheney area. The fire was not only rapid, but accurate. The first salvo mortally wounded Pvt. C.P. Greer of the Marines, set fire to the sleeping shelter he was in and destroyed the machine gun he had been firing. The salvo’s continued at the rate of about five a minute for three or four minutes. The mess and supply Sgts. voluntarily left the shelter of Btry Cheney and extracted Greer from the burning shelter despite the heavy shelling and exploding cal. .50 ammo. Both received the silver star for this act of bravery. Greer lived only a few minutes after he was brought to the aid station. The shelling fired all the grass and brush in the vicinity and it was necessary for a detail to put it out lest it explode the gasoline reserve and burn up all the sleeping accommodations. This was a hot and dangerous job, but was done without hesitation.

From this date on, Btry “F” and Btry Cheney were practically one organization. Flints men off duty rested and slept at Btry Cheney. The two batteries consolidated messes and ate at Cheney. Btry Cheney was short handed and we were over strength. One of our 3" AA guns had been removed and assigned to reconstitute Btry “G”. Btry “G” salvaged and transported only two of its guns from Bataan. When Btry Cheney was ordered to fire its seacoast guns at Mariveles targets, four extra men helped the ammunition carriers and the rammer details. As soon as Cheney “showed its teeth” the Japanese installed a 240mm back of Sisiman Bay that covered Btry “F”, Btry Cheney and Btry Wheeler plus Btry Monja almost without changing azimuth. A battery of 150mm’s was also assigned Cheney as its primary target. On the second occasion of Cheney’s firing, both these Jap units opened up and planted shells all around Btry Cheney’s No. 2 gun plus ______________.  A direct hit was also scored on the officer’s sleeping shack destroying the clothing of Lts. Dewey and Keene. The shack was a total loss. About this time the Nip 150 located Flint and henceforth all movement above the surface of the ground was very unhealthy as our whole area was clearly visible to the enemy from the hills on Bataan.

Our position had always been rather bare and by the time bombs and shells had done a little work even the crews in the gun pits were visible to observers from Signal Hill and Mt. Bataan. The elevating of the guns was a signal for the enemy 150's to open fire, hence targets were tracked in azimuth only until the fuze clocks got near___________. Then the guns were elevated , fired until the target was out of range and then the crew took cover in the outrigger slots.

Meanwhile the barrage continued and suddenly the whole island shook to a tremendous explosion. Battery Geary,a seacoast mortar battery had their magazine blown up. The column of dark smoke and acrid dust rose over 3000 feet above Corregidor. A little later it was learned that a chunk of concrete from Btry Geary, about the size of a small dining table had been blown some 350 yds. horizontally, and 40 yds. vertically and had landed at Btry’s “B”’s position, right on Btry “F”’s height finder.  

By now it was evident to all that the end of our struggle was drawing near. What the end would be was not so evident. The order had been issued, when Bataan fell, “Corregidor can and will be defended.  That help could not arrive in time was obvious. It is highly to the credit of the men that the will to fight remained unabated.

From May 1st on, the battery was prepared each night to move out as infantry to beach defense positions on call. Btry “F” 60th was on last priority so it was evident that an attempt at storming the Rock was expected. All the men believed that it would be “defended to the last.”  Throughout the first days of May the tempo of the attack increased daily. The artillery barrages grew heavier and the bomber attacks more and more numerous.

On the night of May 5th the enemy artillery seemed to be firing increasingly. About 2200 Btry Cheney was ordered to move out for beach defense. We checked all of our infantry machine gun tripods and stood by. It was apparent from the continuous rattle of machine gun fire and 75mm gun salvo’s that an attempt to land on the east end of the island was beginning. About 0100, May 6th the order came by phone to BC: “You will report at once, with your unit, to the CO, west sector at Middleside Tunnel, prepared to act in Beach Defense Reserve."

 The Battery moved out in three platoons, 2 rifle platoons, one machine gun platoon in “approach march” formation, with 5 minute intervals between platoons. The route was up the road to Btry “B”, along the path on the south side of Topside Parade Ground, past the ruins of the Corregidor cine and topside Barracks, down the “Golden stairs” and up Middleside back road to the tunnel. No barrage was encountered although several were being laid down below Topside. Some large caliber tracers passed overhead as the platoon passed Topside Parade ground. These seemed to come from Malinta Hill or beyond, rifle and machine gun bullets were heard occasionally, but all of our men reached Middleside Tunnel safely. If any man had been afraid to face the hand to hand fighting, he could easily have disappeared into the dark, in a dozen places on the way down to Middleside. All were eager for the encounter and none failed.

Middleside Tunnel was crowded. The tunnel construction was incomplete and there were several hundred Filipinos in addition to Btry “F” and a company of Marines quartered in it. Some of the Filipinos were Philippine Army Air Corps troops. The crowding was so bad that the blower system was just barely adequate to keep the air breathable. Everyone was ordered to settle down and remain quiet.

There were two radios in the CP, one in contact with the west sector C.P. and the other with the west sector C.P.  About daylight those in the C.P. heard east sector’s call for all the belted cal. .30 ammunition that can be spared. A little later “we need more men, send us men for God’s sake!” The group in Middleside Tunnel was being held in reserve for the attack that was expected at any moment at James and Cheney Ravines. Listening to the calls was particularly unpleasant for the Marines whose buddies were in the fight. 

Btry “F” sent a detail up to Wheeler Tunnel, Battery “B”, Battery “F: and Battery Cheney to round up more ammunition. Some of the sticks of bombs shook loose dirt from the roof and the walls. About 11:15 May 6 an order was phoned in to destroy all materials, automatic weapons, ammunition, parts and carts for them, radios and other communications equipment and secret documents in preparation for surrender at 12:00. This order was checked on by calling back over a different communication hook-up since no one would believe it. The radio reports and visual reports had indicated the enemy landing on Corregidor had been pretty well contained if not shattered and no one at Middleside had expected a quick surrender. Destruction of all armament and ammunition began at once.

The scene was unforgettable. The tunnel and cross laterals were lit by widely spaced bulbs and the general effect was a sort of twighlight gloom. The men, working with feverish haste looked really weird. Some sobbed alive, others cursed steadily. The noise was tremendous. At noon all destruction ceased and all sat down to catch some breath and wonder “what now?” Some stepped outside to look around but were quickly driven to cover by a flight of heavy bombers which dropped their loads of bombs on Middleside Barracks about 200 yards from the Tunnel entrance.

The bombing and shelling of Corregidor did not cease at the surrender. Instructions arrived by runner, that all officers were to be prepared to meet the Japanese at the Tunnel entrance with sidearms and to surrender there. The troops were to march out carrying their rifles in one hand, bolts in the other. The Japs would arrive about 1500. The Battalion Commander, being senior line officer present was to make the surrender. The officer waited two hours, but the only Jap to appear was a dive bomber who scored two hits on the hillside just above the tunnel mouth, shaking down earth inside the tunnel. After this, everyone was instructed to remain back where the overhead cover was sufficient to stand direct hits. The shelling continued after dark. Guards were ordered to keep everyone inside

At dawn, came orders to proceed at once to Bottomside. The first group of Japs were bivouacked at Middleside Parade Ground. They ignored the Americans. A few individual Japs on the way down the hill stopped individual Americans and relieved them of watches, rings, fountain pens, money and anything that caught their fancy. Low flying dive bombers caused some apprehension, but did no firing or bombing. At Bottomside all were herded to the entrance of “Queen’s Tunnel”. 

A few Jap soldiers circled around through the mob, apparently just curious. Everyone was hungry and thirsty, but eventually some canned goods were brought out of Queen’s Tunnel and were eaten cold. The officers were ordered to assemble at the East Entrance of Malinta Tunnel at 1330. On the east side of the hill there were mute evidences of hand to hand fighting. Six bodies lay there in the sun. The officers were all taken into the tunnel about 1500 and left to their own devices. Jap soldiers wandered around among them, most of them speaking some English and trying to be friendly. The enlisted men were taken to the 92nd Garage Area. Later on, all personnel numbering about (?) on Corregidor were concentrated in this area, which became a prisoner of war concentration camp. Life as prisoners of the Japanese Imperial Army. The Corregidor survivors, wondering what fate the future held for them.  

 

 
CD Version 26-10-10  BACK TO TOP