Corregidor

just one section of the Malinta Tunnel

just one section of the Malinta Tunnel

When Corregidor fell, 1941

When Corregidor fell, 1941


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.

503rd on Corregidor

503rd on Corregidor

re-capture map, Corregidor

re-capture map, Corregidor

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 among 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 composite from Corregidor.org, the 11th A/B Assn. and the VFW Pictorial History of the Second World War, pub. 1949

jump master's view

jump master’s view

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on January 16, 2013, in SMITTY, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. Thank you gpcox for the like on my blog. But let me narrate to you my father’s involvement in wwII with the US forces in corregidor. Am very proud of how he sacrificed his life together with other Filipinos and their counterpart American GI’s liberate the Philippines from the Japanese invaders..Thank you for your blog. Am really waiting for someone with this post and it happened to be you….

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  2. Thanks for this detailed account. I’ve been to the island and attentively listened to the Malinta Tunnel audio but the details were overwhelming.

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  3. I ,too, am amazed at the accurate times and records that the military keep.

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  4. What a great summary report of the battles. Please correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t there another, more tremendous explosion when the Allies set off Japanese munitions?

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    • There was also an explosion in a previous post, neither one was set by the Americans – the Japanese blew themselves up rather than surrender and on the offside chance that they would take a G.I. with them.

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  5. Thank you for this piece of history. It made me sad then and it makes me sad now that we have to be constantly fighting and killing and dying.

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    • Your welcome and thanks for stopping in. It seems no matter how much we try for peace, human nature has us in another war (only I think the human characteristic I speak of is – money & greed).

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  6. My father’s cousin was one of 3,000 survivors of prison camps. He was a barber so Japs gave him a little extra.

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  7. I believe the Military studied every detail and kept extensive records so that they and others who followed could learn from previous events. I understand that they also studied how each and every soldier died in order to see if there was something they could have done to prevent that death. Amazing dedication.

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  8. outta the park—as usual ! I love reading these and the pictures today are incredible! What a contrast. The setting and the events are so “mismatched” …all that beauty, and a battlefield in the same spot and time. Thanks for bringing this to life

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    • You have made me feel even better. I knew I would someday get this story out there, but it is so much more rewarding knowing that other people feel I am doing it justice.

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  9. I didn’t know there were mines in the water. There always comes that sigh of relief when I hear “THE ENEMY WAS CAUGHT OFF GUARD”. So many times we were just luck to be in the right place at the right time.

    I browsed the homepage of Corregidor.org and it looks very interesting. I will look more when I have time. I have a cousin who served in the 11th in a non-combat position. He ended up having the job of taking all the battle reports, typing them up and organizing them. (A job I would have loved to do.) But, “the final report” compared to “the eyes of those who fought” can be quite different. I’d like to see more of what the men on the ground saw.

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  10. A reblogué ceci sur Lest We Forget and commented:
    Corregidor 1945

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  11. Just amazing account!

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