Corregidor Island is located
in the North Channel entrance to Manila Bay off Luzon in the Philippines. Also
know as simply "Corregidor", "The Rock" or "Fort Mills". To the southeast is Caballo
Island (Fort Hughes) and El Fraile (Fort Drum). To the north is North Channel and beyond the southern edge of the Bataan Peninsula on Luzon. To the south is the South Channel and Cavite Province on Luzon. To the east is Manila. Beyond to the west is the South China Sea.
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers developed Corregidor Island into Fort Mills to defend Manila Bay and Manila. The island was developed with extensive military fortifications including gun batteries, mortar positions, anti-aircraft guns and military infrastructure plus Malinta Tunnel (Malinta Hill) and Kindley Field (Landing Strip, Corregidor Airport) to defend the island.
World War II History
On December 21, 1941 Corregidor became the headquarters for U. S. Naval Defense forces. After the Japanese Army occupied Bataan and Cavite, their artillery began bombarding Corregidor while Japanese aircraft bombed and strafed to soften up the defenses.
Japanese missions against Corregidor
January 4, 1942–May 6, 1942
During the night of March 11-12, 1942 U. S. Army General
MacArthur and his family plus other senior staff members were evacuated by order of U. S. President F. D. Roosevelt from Corregidor aboard PT-32, PT-34, PT-35 and PT-41. The Patrol Boats sped southward evading Japanese forces and disembarked the group on Mindanao and they were flown from Del Monte Airfield aboard B-17 Flying Fortresses to Darwin in Australia
May 5, 1942 a force of 2.000 Japanese Army soldiers under the command of General Masaharu Homma
made an amphibious landing on Corregidor supported by artillery and aircraft. Despite determined American resistance,
the U. S. garrison
surrendered May 6, 1942.
During the Japanese occupation of Corregidor, only one Japanese Army reinforced company of approximately 300 men defended the island. The Japanese used approximately 500 Prisoners Of War (POW) to repair installations, perform cleanup
and collect scrap for shipment to Japan. The prisoners remained on the island until shortly before the 1945 liberation. As American
forces approached, approximately 6,000 Japanese mostly Navy troops occupied the
island. During 1945, extensive American bombing missions, U. S. Navy (USN) bombardment and
mine clearing operation proceeded the liberation of Corregidor.
American missions against Corregidor
January 23, 1945–March 1, 1945
16, 1945 the U. S. Army assault on Corregidor was a simultaneous operation that utilized both paratroopers and a simultaneous amphibious landing to assault the island. C-47 Dakotas from the 317th TCG dropped the U. S. Army
Parachute Regiment (503rd PIR) and landed on the center of Corregidor at Topside at 8:33am. Meanwhile, an amphibious landing was made by the U. S. Army 24th Infantry Division, 34th Infantry
Regiment under the command of Col. Aubrey S. "Red" Newman landed at between Cavalry Point and Infantry Point on the north
coast and another landing at San Jose Point on the eastern edge at Black Beach to capture Malinta Hill.
defended from caves, and launched banzai charges. On February 21, 1945 they set off demolition
charges blowing up Malinta Hill. On
February 25, 1945 the 151st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion replaces the 34th Infantry
Regiment, 3rd Battalion.
On February 26, 1945 shortly after 11:00am, the remaining Japanese on Corregidor made a final suicidal effort by detonating the underground arsenal at Monkey Point causing a huge explosion that erased the small knoll leaving only a crater. The explosion killed roughly 200 Japanese defenders plus 50 Americans 50 killed and 150 wounded with injuries as far away as mile, knocked an M4 Sherman tank 50 yards killing all but one of the crew and off shore debris hit a destroyer 2,000 yards away. By 4:00pm the 503rd PIR reached the eastern tip of the island. Although most of the fighting had ended, mopping up continued against isolated Japanese mostly hiding in caves at the waterline.
On March 2, 1945 Corregidor was officially deemed secure. At the flag pole, the U. S. flag was raised on the old Corregidor flagpole while soldiers from "Rock Force" stood at attention with General Douglas MacArthur, General Hall (Commanding Officer "Rock Force) and Lt. Colonel Jones (Commanding Officer, 503rd PIR RCT). After the U. S. flag was raised, Lt. Col Jones stepped forward, saluted and reported to MacArthur: "Sir, I present to you Fortress Corregidor." At the ceremony, MacArthur awarded Jones the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) and stated: "I
see the old flagpole still stands. Have your troops hoist
the colors to
haul them down."
The battle to liberate Corregidor spanned twelve days. The Americans suffered 210 Killed In Action (KIA), 5 Missing In Action (MIA) and 450 Wounded In Action (WIA) and 340 injured. Nearly all the Japanese defenders were killed with at least 4,500 killed and 20 captured that became Prisoners Of War (POWs). Roughly 200 Japanese were killed attempting to swim away and 500 more likely died sealed into caves and tunnels.
Corregidor is a protected Philippines National Park,
A small population lives on the island, to maintain the grounds
and guide tourists. Most people choose the short day trip
by fast catamaran from Manila, which includes a guided bus tour
around some of the more significant sites. For the more serious
visitor, there is a nice hotel, and our stays have been up to ten
days, much to the amazement of the locals.
A battery of four mortars, capable of firing in
any direction. The last of the four mortars was still firing
when the Japanese landed, and Allied forces removed its breech
block prior to capture. Today, it is one of
the main tourist attractions on Corregidor Island tour.
Located in the west central inland part of the Corregidor. The battery faces a northwesterly direction, primarily to cover the approached to the North Channel, but was capable of covering the entire channel.
A mortar battery built into a hollow on the southern coast of Corregidor. Hit by a a 240mm round penetrated the center magazine, detonating a massive explosion of 40 tons of explosives that utterly destroyed the battery, leaving a large crater where the magazine formerly was located.
A battery of four mortars, capable of firing in any direction. The last of the
four mortars was still firing when the Japanese landed, and Allied forces removed
its breech block prior to capture.
Battery Smith was
range (26 miles) flat trajectory 12" gun. There
were two of these weapons curiously exposed like
the other being Battery Hearn. Perhaps they didn't
build a parapet so as to allow depression of the
guns bordering the South China Sea. Each could
traverse a full 360 degrees.
Battery Hearn was a long
range (26 miles) flat trajectory 12" gun bordering the South China Sea. During the defense
of Corregidor by the Americans, this gun was used
to fire at Japanese forces on Bataan, but only
AP shells were available causing limited damage.
Located near the
the old YMCA building. Built by the U. S. Army prewar to emplace three 6" guns. During 1944, the magazine of this battery was hit by an American bomb causing an enormous explosion when the magazine was hit and destroyed the battery and caused a large crater and caused one of the 6" gun mounts to be thrown onto its side.
This battery was built between 1904-1919 facing towards the southwest of Corregidor Island that could also lay fire to the northwest to Mariveles on the Bataan Peninsula.
Located on the southwest corner of the island bordering the South China Sea. This battery had two 12" guns on M1901 disappearing gun carriages
Carved by the Japanese, along the tracks at Battery
Rock Point and Middle side.
Mile Long Barracks
'Mile Long Barracks' it was said to be the longest barracks in
the world (although not actually a mile long). Heavily damaged during the capture and liberation of
the island, the ruins are still standing today.
Flagpole (The Old Corregidor Flagpole)
The original flag pole remains on Corregidor. On March 2 1945 after the twelve day battle to liberate Corregidor, the U. S. flag was raised on this flag pole while soldiers from "Rock Force" stood at attention with General Douglas MacArthur, General Hall (Commanding Officer "Rock Force) and Lt. Colonel Jones (Commanding Officer, 503rd PIR RCT). After the U. S. flag was raised, Lt. Col Jones stepped forward, saluted and reported to MacArthur: "Sir, I present to you Fortress Corregidor." At the ceremony, MacArthur stated: "I
see the old flagpole still stands. Have your troops hoist
the colors to
haul them down."
Topside Barracks (Topside)
Prewar barracks building.
Malinta Tunnel (Malinta Hill)
Located roughly in the center
of the island. This massive underground headquarters and supplies
storage area for the USAFFE.
(Landing Strip, Corregidor Airport)
Runway on the eastern end of Corregidor.
Located on the north side of the island, to the west of Kindley Field
To the SW of Battery Kysor.
Medical Marker / General Wainwright Memorial
Located on the south coast of the island, near the south
Landing point on the south side of the island, roughly in
Battery Maxwell Keyes
Located to the SW of Kindley Field, on the south side of the
Naval Radio Intercept Tunnel
Located to the east of Battery Maxwell Keyes.
Filipino Heroes Memorial / President
Located to the SE of Battery Kysor.
Located on the island.
U. S. Army in World War II - The Fall of the Philippines Chapter XXVII The Siege of Corregidor pages 471-497
U. S. Army in World War II - Triumph in the Philippines Chapter XVIII Corregidor pages 335-350
Corregidor.org information and historic resources
The 25 Best World War II Sites Pacific Theater pages 10-17
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February 27, 2020