Manila Bay was extremely important for shipping traffic, regardless of who was in control and the island fortress of Corregidor sat mid-way. The need to re-conquer the “The Rock” was imperative to the Allied effort.
The Air Force began its attacks 22 January and by 16 February had dropped 3,125 tons on the three-tier island. That same day, 24 B-24s hit known gun positions and 11 B-25s hit antiaircraft guns and the south coast while 31 A-20s strafed Caballo Island, a mile to the south.
13 February, Naval bombardment began mostly on the north side of the island and mine sweeping in the waters. On 16 February, the 3d Battalion of the 34th Infantry, part of General Krueger’s Sixth Army, landed on the south shore after it was also bombed and strafed.
The 503d was not originally a part of the 11th Airborne Division (Eighth Army), but was at this stage attached and therefore I believe they deserve mention here. So, it was also on the 16th that they boarded their C-47s on Mindoro to parachute in waves on the top and very dangerous area of Corregidor. At 0833, 3 minutes behind schedule (amazes me how they keep track of the seconds and minutes during a war), the first wave jumped and only encountered minimal enemy rifle and machine gun fire. They had put themselves down right at the Command Post, killing the Japanese general and destroying the enemy communications center. This immediately caused some confusion amongst the Japanese. After securing Topside, they were able to give support to Bottomside and achieve contact. It appeared that Japanese General Rikichi Tsukada and what was left of the Kembu Group had been caught off guard.
No trooper drowned during this jump, despite rumors to the contrary. The 34th Infantry Regiment established a beachhead at Black Beach and they proceeded to block both the north and south entrances to the Malinta Tunnel, consequently trapping that portion of the enemy. Tons of ammunition were stored in the tunnel and the 600 foot plateau was mined. All the men fought cave to cave and repelled banzai attacks as the soldiers fighting on the mainland were doing.
21 February, at 21:30 hours, Malinta Hill erupted in a massive explosion as the entrapped Japanese army blew themselves up. The U.S. soldiers then sealed the tunnel. It would not be until 1 March that Corregidor and the outstanding harbor would be open to Allied shipping.
The Japanese estimated that they had approximately 6,700 of their army on the island. Only 50 survived, 19 were taken prisoner and 20 stragglers surfaced in January of 1946. U.S. casualties were 136 with 531 wounded and 8 missing.
This data is a composit from Corregidor.org, the 11th A/B Assn. and the VFW Pictorial History of the Second World War, pub. 1949
Posted on January 16, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged 11th airborne, Army, Corregidor, family history, History, Luzon, Malinta Tunnel, Military, Military History, paratroopers, Philippines, veterans, WWII. Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.