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U. S. Army 1941
Dan Lantzy 1988
Battery Geary is situated in a defiladed hollow on the southern coast of Corregidor Island to defend the entrance of Manila Bay on Luzon in the Philippines.
Built by the U. S. Army with construction starting in 1907 and completed by 1911 at a cost of $145,198. Named in honor of U. S. Army Captain Woodridge Geary who died in the Philippine–American War of 1899. Battery Geary had eight 12" (305mm) mortars, four M1890 M1 mortars on M1896M1 carriages in Pit A and four M1890 mortars on M1908 carriages in Pit B. These could fire a 1,000 pound armor piercing (AP) shell or 700 pound High Explosive (HE) shell roughly 8.3 miles in any direction.
At the start of the Pacific War, Battery Geary was manned by the 59th Coastal Artillery under the command of Captain Ben King and later Captain John W. Davis III.
On January 6, 1942 the explosion of a Japanese bomb collapsed an incomplete shelter nearby killing 31 and wounding others.
On January 25, 1942 Battery Geary was waiting to commence fire but permission was denied by Col. Paul D. Bunker, commander of the Seaward Defenses on Corregidor. Later that evening, Maj. Gen. Edward P. King, Jr. gave the order for Battery Geary to go into action.
On January 26, 1942 at midnight, Battery Geary commenced firing 67 pound land-attack projectiles with short fuses at a range of 12,000 yards aimed at Japanese position on Longoskawayan Point on the Bataan Peninsula. On Mount Pucot, forward observers reported after the fourth shot large fires were raging. This was the first use of large caliber sea coast artillery against an enemy since the U. S. Civil War. Firing for four days, Battery Geary was instrumental in defeating a Japanese landing at Longoskawayan Point during the Battle of the Points.
On April 12, 1942, Battery Geary opened counter battery fire against the Japanese artillery on Bataan, enjoying immunity from return fire because it was in a defiladed hollow and invisible to the Japanese observers until Japanese aerial reconnaissance located the battery.
On May 2, 1942 in the morning, the Japanese opened fire with a 2,600 round barrage against Battery Geary. During the afternoon, commander Captain Davis, observed Japanese 240mm shells bracketing their position and and ordered his men to take cover in the far right magazine. At 16:27 hours, a 240mm round penetrated the center magazine, detonating a massive explosion of 40 tons of explosives that utterly destroyed the battery.
The explosion created a large crater where the magazine was located. Large pieces of concrete and munitions were hurled as far as a mile away, killing another two and wounding thirty-one others elsewhere. The force of the explosion hurled one of the 10 ton barrels over 150 yards on to the nearby golf course.
During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, 1942-1945 one of the mortar barrels was removed. During the February 1945 liberation of Manila, a photograph of US troops crossing to the west side of the Pasig River shows a mortar barrel laying on the bank. This suggests that the Japanese were in the process of transporting the mortar barrels elsewhere to melt them for scrap metal.
U. S. Army in World War II The Fall of the Philippines Chapter XVII: The Battle of the Points pages 306-307
U. S. Army in World War II The Fall of the Philippines Chapter XXX: The Last Twenty-Seven Days pages 540, 541, 547
History of U. S. Marine Corps in World War II Chapter 1: China and Luzon page 171
History of U. S. Marine Corps in World War II Chapter 3: The Siege and Capture of Corregidor pages 188, 190
Corregidor - Battery Geary (photos)
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