May 1942 (2)

CORREGIDOR

CORREGIDOR

 

3 May – Corregidor had been bombed without mercy for weeks and the beach fortifications began to fall away.  For the 1,300 men of the 4th Marine Division, “…it was like living in the center of a bulls-eye.”  The confines of the Malinta Tunnel became terribly overcrowded.  The US submarine, “Starfish was able to evacuate 25 more of the personnel, (13 of them nurses) and Wainwright told the skipper of the boat as it left, “They will have to come and get us… They will never get us any other way.”  The “Rock” had only five days of fresh water remaining.

US officer giving water to a wounded Japanese soldier

US officer giving water to a wounded Japanese soldier

4 May – Wainwright sent a radio message for General Marshall, “In my opinion the enemy is capable of making an assault on Corregidor at any time.”  As if in response, 600 Japanese soldiers landed and the First Marine Battalion went into heavy combat, but the enemy made their way to the tunnel.  Wainwright received a message from President Roosevelt, “You and your devoted followers have become the symbols of our war aims and the guarantee of our victory.”

troops pour into Malinta Tunnel during air raid

troops pour into Malinta Tunnel during air raid

Just before noon on 5 May, Japanese General Homma was notified that the white flags of truce were flying over The Rock.  Wainwright had given the order, “Execute Pontiac” – surrender.  The general had been unaware that Homma’s men were having great difficulty in crossing the swift current of the channel and were running low on their small landing boats.  Homma was fearing a possible defeat about the time the white flags were raised.  More than 800 US and Filipino troops had been lost in that final assault, but it cost the enemy in excess of 3x that amount.  Mindanao fighting would continue for two more days.

Japanese troops headed toward the 'mile-long' barracks

Japanese troops headed toward the ‘mile-long’ barracks

10 May – Gen. Wainwright officially surrendered to Gen. Homma.  At MacArthur’s press conference he said, “Corregidor needs no comment from me.  It has sounded its own story at the mouth of its guns.  It has scrolled its own epitaph on enemy tablets.  But, through the bloody haze of its last reverberating shot, I shall always seem to see a vision of grim, gaunt, ghastly men still unafraid.”

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With the end of the Philippine campaign, the Allies had lost 140,000 lives.  Nearly 12,500 US and Filipino soldiers became POWs.  Of the surviving 4th Marine Division, no more than one-third would live through their brutal captivity as enemy prisoners of war.

***

For further information, very short videos and a radio broadcast by General Wainwright, The Tragedy of Bataan website can be located – HERE!

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Aviation Humor – 

WE’RE ALL STUCK IN THE SAME TRAFFIC JAM – SO KEEP A HANDLE ON THE ROAD-RAGE!!

jets-in-traffic-5501

jets-in-traffic-5506

jets-in-traffic-5503

jets-in-traffic-5500

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Farewell Salutes – 

Stanford Brunson –  Macon, GA, USMC, Vietnam

Ralph Buelow – Racine, WI; US Army, WWII, ETOTaps

Alice Caccgillo – Windham, NY; US Navy WAVES, WWII

Tommie Falkner – Calera, AL; US Air Force (Ret. 21 years)

Ebo Jansseen – Fort Myers, FL; USMC, WWII, 2 Purple Hearts

Norman Johnson – Tauranga, NZ; NZ Army, Cpl. # 676003

George Kilvington – Victoria, CAN; RC Navy, WWII, ETO

Leonard Romeo – Piscataway, NJ; US Navy, WWII

Chuck Stevenson – Ft. Smith, AR; US Army, Vietnam

Frank Vargas – Hillside, IL; USMC, WWII, PTO / US Army, Korea

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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 19, 2015, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 59 Comments.

  1. As an ex Gunner (South Africa) who went on the reserve list with brass on the shoulders, trained in die British spirit of military discipline while peace prevailed, a student in a hobby of past wars, may I thank you for your
    great contribution.

    Like

  2. What a ghastly experience and then to have it followed by the tragedy of Bataan. Tragic.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The Rock was certainly a world of its own at that time, so much going on, the tunnel, the Japanese problems crossing the channel and the surrender.
    Makes one wonder what the outcome may have been if Wainright had known about that difficulty, would they have continued to fight or accepted surrender as they did.
    Very explanatory pictures of the tunnel
    Ian

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think they could have held out much longer. Only a few days of fresh water left, completely surrounded by the enemy, and no help at all from the States – all the enemy had to do was wait…. Thanks for having such interest, Ian.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fascinating post, thanks so much for sharing. Happy 2015 and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. My father was a prisoner of war during WWII and I can only imagine how much he suffered. He never talked to me about it, though. I think that perhaps this is a good thing, knowing what he went through would have hurt me quite a bit.

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    • Welcome, Linda. May I ask your father’s name and unit? If you care to have him listed in the Farewell Salutes, I would be happy to include him. If you have any stories from him, please feel free to include them here – we have a great bunch of friends here who enjoy reading the first-hand tales of the war. We don’t want any of them to fade into the wind, but be remembered!

      Like

  5. It’s so hard to read about the lives lost and what they went through but you do a fantastic job putting things together here, GP. That tunnel looks amazing and your pictures are always interesting.

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    • Thank you, Linda. I try to make things at least half-way interesting, even for those that are not all that gung-ho about WWII. The pictures help tell the story for me. I appreciate you loyally always stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. How heartbreaking it must have been for his to surrender after all the conflict and loss already endured. Then, to know, that they were headed to concentration camps for more torture. Oh, my!

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    • Once the ‘brass’ realized that FDR was lying about any relief on the way, they knew it was only a matter of time. You have to admit, they sure did hold out for a good amount of time bearing what little they had to work with. Thanks for coming by, Bev.

      Like

  7. This site is fantastic! I did not know much about WWII until I met my significant other, who, was fascinated with the Aircraft of the era. I had taken care of two women who were Pilots during WWII and learned quite a bit about their roles. I am now following your blog and look forward to reading your posts regularly. I am also sending your link to many of my family and friends who would find your blog interesting as well.

    Ta Ta for now, Cathy the Bagg Lady

    Like

    • I’m excited to have you join us here with all that enthusiasm of yours! I know I had data on a female pilot, but her name is escaping me at the moment. Did your ladies have many stories to tell and did you save any? I encourage the readers to add what they’ve heard or learned here in the comments; unless you have done a post on them – then leave a link so everyone can enjoy it. Welcome, Cathy – hope you enjoy your visits!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a gripping piece of military history and so well told – thanks. The photos added so much to this horrific tale… and after this terrible struggle, the prisoner of war camps were yet another nightmare…unimaginable.

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    • Thank you very much, I do try my best to make the history of these men worthy of their actions and sacrifice – while still keeping it interesting for the readers. Thank you for the encouragement, Coral. You are always so good for my ego.

      Like

  9. Unfortunate timing on the surrender.

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    • True, but it would have happened sooner or later. They were running out of fresh water, food, ammor, etc. They were surrounded and the only thing that would have saved them would have been FDR and the fleet he had promised them. Thanks for reading, Shelley, always a pleasure.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. In my Dorrie research, I watched a video about what the nursing experience was like (including in captivity). Good grief–it embarrasses me to think of things we complain about.

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    • Oh so true. I hear complaints around my neighborhood about petty annoyances and I just want to yell at them like children; “Grow Up!” (and a lot of these people I’m talking about are Boomers!)

      Liked by 1 person

  11. gosh , so much to soak up here – I liked the slide show so much – the tunnel and those mile long barracks – and the traffic jam shot! ha! ok, now I am going to listen to the radio broadcast (from the link above) with my 2nd cup of java – peace

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow, so many lives lost. That tunnel is something else, Everett.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. gp, Hurts to read even what we may already know like it’s a new story that always turns out badly. Thanks & well told. Phil

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, if this were a movie – we all know the end to the story, but I want to keep the ‘players,’ both main ‘characters’ and small parts in the forefront of everyone’s memory – because without them – we would not be here as we are today. I thank you for being such a loyal reader.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Wonderful support from MacArthur–the words. We are truly a brave nation.

    Like

  15. “Corregidor needs no comment from me. It has sounded its own story at the mouth of its guns. It has scrolled its own epitaph on enemy tablets. But, through the bloody haze of its last reverberating shot, I shall always seem to see a vision of grim, gaunt, ghastly men still unafraid.”
    Wow, that is a powerful speech, GP. I wonder if McArthur wrote it on his own, or he had a speech writer? –Curt

    Like

  16. I cannot fathom being one walking towards that tunnel entrance… The despair must have been immense.

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    • I imagine a trapped feeling, first being on an island surrounded by an enemy and then into a tunnel? We can only attempt to picture the crowds in there, the odors, sounds and emotions.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Catherine McEwen

    Very compelling writing; you bring it all back to life very well. Thank you for writing this! https://myfathersnewyork.wordpress.com/

    Like

  18. I always look forward to your posts. Always learn something new.

    Like


  19. Gruße und eine gute Woche Gislinde

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  20. These last two parts lend light on the other side of war…yes they were heroes defending our country but so many losses of life physically and mentally. These were tough men…at least they had the appearance on the outside.

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  21. The tunnel is quite an imposing construction.

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  22. Those fighter jet pictures are funny.

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  23. Great slideshow! Nice to see Corregidor is maintained and accessible. Nearby Caballo Island (Fort Hughes), was recently in the news, being used as a quarantine site for peacekeepers returning from Liberia in 2014. From what I read, El Fraile (Fort Drum) is fast deteriorating. There’s a nice thread with interesting photos on the 503d PRCT Heritage website here: http://corregidor.proboards.com/thread/542/el-fraile-island-fort-drum

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    • Outstanding photos, John! One can only TRY and imagine what those men went through that manned that post. The craters and dents made by the shell fire tell a story themselves, don’t they?! Thank you very much for taking the time to bring us all this link!

      Like

  24. I love the photos of the planes on roadways, but have you seen that in Sweden and Finlad they actually use the roads as runways. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNuVCvIGKxE

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Interesting and great photos!

    Like

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