Chapter 2: Bataan Prelude

Drawing the Battle Lines1

The Japanese did not confine their operations in the Philippines to Luzon, but December landings on Mindanao and Jolo Islands were made primarily to secure bases for further attacks against Borneo. Here again the hastily mobilized Philippine Army reservists and Constabulary troopers were no match for the assault forces, and the enemy made good his lodgment. Offensive operations in the south, however, were limited by the fact that General Homma did not have sufficient troops to press a campaign on two fronts. The main strength of the Fourteenth Army remained on Luzon to win control of Manila Bay.

The original Japanese operation plan for Luzon had contemplated its occupation by the end of January and had provided for a mop-up force of one division and one brigade with a small air support unit. Shortly after Homma's troops entered Manila on 2 January, he received orders to expedite the withdrawal of the 48th Division and the 5th Air Group which were needed to reinforce stepped-up operations against Java and on the Asian mainland. In short return for these troop losses Homma got the 65th Brigade from Formosa, originally assigned to mop-up and police duties. The brigade, which landed on Lingayen Gulf beaches on 1 January, was selected by Homma as his Bataan assault force and reinforced with an infantry regiment from the 16th Division and tank, artillery, and service troops from army reserves.

The necessary reorganization of the 65th Brigade for combat and its movement into jump-off positions gave MacArthur time to establish and initial defense line. On 7 January he reorganized his forces into two corps and a rear area service command. Wainwright was given I Philippine Corps with responsibility for holding the western front, and Parker became II Philippine Corps commander with his troops manning defenses on the Manila Bay side of Bataan. More than 80,000 men were now bottled up on the peninsula and some 50,000 held positions on or near the initial defense line. There were impressive figures, and in paper strength the Bataan defenders outnumbered the Fourteenth Army which had about 50,000 troops under its command.

Military superiority depends, however, on many other factors besides relative troop strength. The conglomerate American-Filipino forces, completely cut off from effective relief, had limited supplies of rations, medicines, weapons, ammunition, and equipment. By contrast, the enemy's control of the sea and air gave the Japanese an unmatchable resupply and reinforcement potential. Even when


the Fourteenth Army's fortunes were at their lowest ebb, the enemy troops could reasonably expect rescue and relief.

On 5 January MacArthur, in a move to conserve dwindling food stocks, had cut all troops on Bataan and the fortified islands to half rations.2 This order was undoubtedly the most significant given in the campaign. It prolonged the fighting for weeks, until Bataan's defenses eventually collapsed. Men sapped by malnutrition and its attendant diseases, for which there were no medicines, could resist no more.

In launching their initial attack on Bataan the Japanese did not expect that the reinforced 65th Brigade would have much trouble defeating the American-Filipino forces. The enemy was flushed with his successes and "completely ignorant concerning the terrain of Bataan Peninsula."3 Homma's intelligence officers had underestimated MacArthur's strength by half, had given their commander a distorted picture of Filipino morale, and had formulated an altogether incorrect estimate of the defensive situation on Bataan. The Fourteenth Army staff had:

...optimistically presumed that, considering its position relative to Corregidor Island, the enemy would offer serious resistance at the southern end of the Peninsula with Mariveles as a nucleus, withdrawing later to Corregidor Island. Taking this for granted, the threat of enemy resistance was taken lightly.4

Bataan Peninsula was an ideal position from the viewpoint of a force committed to a last-ditch stand. Thirty miles long at its deepest point and 25 miles wide at its base, the peninsula tapered to an average width of 15 miles. Numerous streams, ravines, and gullies cut up the interior and thick jungle growth blanketed everything. A spine of mountains running northwest to southeast split Bataan roughly in half. The dominant features in the north were Mt. Natib (4,222 feet) and its companion Mt. Silanganan (3,620 feet), and in the south, Mt. Bataan (4,700 feet), which commanded the Mariveles area. Although numerous trails criss-crossed the peninsula, only two motor roads existed, one running along the coast and the other over the saddle between the mountain masses. The western coast line was uneven with many promontories formed by mountain ridges; the eastern coast was more regular and open but became hilly and rugged in the south. (See Map 7)

Map 7: Japanese Landing on Bataan

The final defense line selected by USAFFE was midway down the peninsula, anchored on the towns of Bagac and Orion, and generally along the trace of the cross-peninsula motor road. It was the necessity of covering the preparation of this area for defense and the need to use the road as a supply route as long as possible that dictated the occupation of the initial defense line. Stretching across the peninsula just above the point where it narrowed, this position had a grave natural weakness. The corps boundary ran along the Natib-Silanganan mountain mass which pierced the defenses and prevented liaison or even contact between Wainwright's and Parker's men. The Japanese attempt to crack this defense line eventually involved landing far behind the front and brought the Marines at Mariveles into action.


SYMBOLIC OF JAPANESE SUCCESSES in the early stages of the war is this photograph taken on Mt. Limay on Bataan during the fighting in the Philippines. (SC 334265)


The Naval Battalion5

Although the farthest distance from the rear boundaries of the corps areas to the southern shore of Bataan was only ten miles, the defensive problem facing Brigadier General Allan C. McBride's Service Command was acute. With a relatively few men McBride had to guard over 40 miles of rough, jungle-covered coast line against enemy attack. A successful amphibious thrust which cut the vital coastal supply road could mean the prompt end of the battle for Bataan. To protect the east coast he had the newly-organized 2d (Constabulary) Division; on the west coast he had a motley composite force of service troops and planeless pursuit squadrons converted to infantry, backed up by a few elements of the 71st Division and a Constabulary regiment. Responsibility for the security of the naval reservation at Mariveles remained with the Navy.

In order to provide protection for Mariveles and support the Army in the defense of the west coast, Admiral Rockwell on 9 January directed Captain John J.S. Dessez, commander of the section base, to form a naval battalion for ground combat. The senior naval aviator remaining in the Philippines Commander Francis J. Bridget, was appointed battalion commander and he immediately set about organizing his force. For troops he had about 480 bluejackets including 150 of his own men from Air, Asiatic Fleet, 130 crewmen from the submarine tender Canopus, 80 sailors from the Cavite Naval Ammunition Depot, and 120 general duty men from Cavite and Mariveles. He was also assigned approximately 120 Marines, members of Batteries A and C which had remained behind on Bataan under naval control when the rest of the 1st Separate Battalion (now 3/4) had moved to Corregidor.

The men of First Lieutenant William F. Hogaboom's Battery A had originally been slated to provide replacement and relief gun crews for Battery C (First Lieutenant Willard C. Holdredge) whose 3-inch guns were set up in a rice paddy between the town of Mariveles and the section base. But on 5 January Hogaboom had received instructions from a USAFFE staff officer, "approved by naval authorities on the 'Rock',"6 to move his unit to the site of MacArthur's advance CP on Bataan where the Marines were to furnish the interior guard. This assignment was short-lived, however, since Commander Bridget needed the men to service as tactical instructors and cadres for the naval battalion, and on 14 January he directed Hogaboom to report back to Mariveles. To replace Battery A, USAFFE detached two officers and 47 men from the 4th Marines7 and sent them from Corregidor to Bataan where they guarded the advance headquarters until the end of the campaign.

The most serious problem Bridget faced in forming his battalion was the lack of ground combat training of his bluejackets. As the commander of the Canopus, naturally an interested spectator, noted:


...perhaps two-thirds of the sailors knew which end of the rifle should be presented to the enemy, and had even practiced on a target range, but field training was practically a closed book to them. The experienced Marines were spread thinly throughout each company in hope that through precept and example, their qualities would be assimilated by the rest.8

Even after the formation of the naval battalion, the primary responsibility for antiaircraft defense of Mariveles still rested with the Marine batteries and only a relatively few men, mostly NCO's, could be spared to help train the bluejacket companies. Holdredge's 3-inchers required at least skeleton crews and Hogaboom's unit, after its return from USAFFE control, was directed to mount and man nine .50 caliber machine-gun posts in the hills around the harbor. Therefore, in both batteries the majority of men available for ground combat were sailors; Battery A joined one officer and 65 bluejackets on 16-17 January and a Navy officer and 40 men joined Holdredge's battery on the 18th and 19th.9 Throughout the naval battalion, training was confined to fundamentals as Bridget strove to qualify his men as infantry. As was the case so often in the Philippines, the time for testing the combat readiness of the jury-rigged battalion came all to soon.

Longoskawayan Point10

In opening his attack on Bataan, General Homma committed the main strength of the 65th Brigade along the front of Parker's II Corps, figuring that the more open terrain along the east coast gave him a greater opportunity to exploit successes. By 11 January the Japanese had developed and fixed Parker's defenses and were probing for weak spot preparatory to an all-out assault. It was inevitable that they found the open and highly vulnerable left flank. By 22 January Parker's position along the slopes of Mt. Natib had been turned and all reserves with the exception of one regiment had been committed to contain the penetration. In order to prevent the defending forces from being cut off, USAFFE ordered a general withdrawal to the Bagnac-Orion defense line, to be completed by the 26th.

The enemy advancing along the mountainous west coast did not contact General Wainwright's forward positions until 15 January. By that date, Homma, impressed by the lack of resistance in this sector, had already ordered the 20th Infantry of the 16th Division to reinforce and exploit the drive, strike through to the Bagac road junction, and gain the rear of Parker's corps. Although I Corps had been stripped of reserves to back up the sagging eastern defense line, Wainwright's front-line troops were able to stand off the initial Japanese assaults. When Homma's fresh troops attacked on the 21st, however, they effected a lodgment behind the front which eventually made withdrawal toward Bagac mandatory. The local Japanese commander, encouraged by his success, decided


on a shore-to-shore amphibious assault which would hit the Bataan coastal road about four miles below Bagac.

Embarking after dark on the night of 22-23 January, the enemy's 900-man landing force (2d Battalion, 20th Infantry ) started out for its objective. It never arrived. En route two launches of the battalion's boat group were discovered and sunk by an American torpedo boat11 and it is possible that these attacks were instrumental in scattering the remainder of the landing force. in any event, the enemy boats lost their bearings completely in the darkness. Instead of landing on the objective, two-thirds of the unit landed at Quinauan Point, eight miles south of Bagac. The remainder of the battalion, 7 officers and 294 men, came ashore at Longoskawayan Point, a finger-like promontory only 2,000 yards west of Mariveles. (See Map 7)

The Longoskawayan landing force was not discovered immediately, and the enemy had time to advance along jungle-matted cliffs and reach Lapiay Point, the next promontory to the north. The Japanese patrols headed inland from Lapiay for Mt. Pucot, a 617-foot hill which commanded both the west coast road and the landing site. The first word of the presence of the enemy in his defense sector reached Commander Bridget at 0840 on 23 January when the small lookout detachment he had posted on Pucot was driven from its position by enemy machine-gun fire.

Bridget immediately phoned Hogaboom and Holdredge, directing both officers to send out patrols. Hogaboom, closest to me scene of action, sent on bluejacket platoon under Lieutenant (junior grade) Leslie A. Pew directly to Pucot while he led a second platoon himself in a sweep through the ridges south of the hill. Pew's platoon deployed as it approached the hilltop, attacked through scattered rifle and machine-gun fire, and secured the high ground without difficulty. The Japanese offered only slight resistance and then faded out of contact.

South of the hill Hogaboom ran into a platoon from Battery C which had had a brush with the Japanese and taken a couple of casualties, but again the enemy had disappeared. The story of light firing and no firm resistance was much the same from the rest of the probing patrols which Bridget ordered out on the 23d; the Japanese evidently were still feeling out the situation and were not as yet disposed to make a stand or an attack. At dusk the patrols assembled on the mountain and set up a defense line along its crest and the ridges to the south facing Lapiay and Longoskawayan Points.

During the day Bridget had called on the Service Command for reinforcements but few men could be spared as most reserves already had been committed to contain the larger landing force at Quinauan Point. For infantry he got the 3d Pursuit Squadron and 60 men from the 301st Chemical Company whom he put into a holding line above Lapiay Point and on the north slope of Pucot; for fire support he received one 2.95-inch mountain pack howitzer and crew from the 71st Division. By nightfall the chemical company had tied in with the pursuit squadron on its right and with Battery A atop Pucot on its left; platoons from Battery C, the Air, Asiatic Fleet Company, and the Naval


Ammunition Depot Company held the rest of Pucot's crest and the southern ridges which blocked off the landing area from Mariveles.12 None of the naval battalion units was at full strength and none of the platoons strung out along the ridges was strictly a Navy or a Marine outfit. sailors predominated but Marines were present all along the line, mostly as squad leaders and platoon sergeants. The composition of that part of the battalion which got into action became even more varied as the battle shaped up, and eventually about a third of the men on the front-line were drawn from the Marine batteries.

Bridget's men got their first real taste of the blind fighting of jungle warfare on the 24th. Hogaboom led a patrol down the bluff above Lapiay Point and ran head-on into an enemy machine gun firing from heavy cover. Grenades thrown at the gun exploded harmlessly in a tangle of lush vegetation which screened it from view; the men were being fired upon and they were replying, but sound rather than sight was the key to targets. When reinforcements arrived later in the day an attempt was made to establish a holding line across the point, but the Japanese opened up with a second machine gun and steady rifle fire. Then they began dropping mortar and howitzer shells among Hogaboom's' group. The Marine officer ordered a withdrawal to the previous night's positions.

The source of the mortar and howitzer fire was Longoskawayan Point where a patrol led by Lieutenant Holdredge had encountered the main body of Japanese. His two-man point had surprised an enemy group setting up a field piece in a clearing and opened up with a rifle and a BAR, dropping about a dozen men around the gun. The Japanese reaction was swift, agreeing with the BAR-man's evaluation that the surprise fire "ought to make them madder'n hell."13 The patrol fell back, fighting a rear guard action until it cleared the area of the point's tip, and then it retired to the ridges. After the day's action Hogaboom and Holdredge compared notes and estimated that they faced at least 200 well-equipped enemy troops in strong positions; they informed Bridget of their conclusion that it would take a fully-organized battalion with supporting weapons to dislodge them.

On the morning of 25 January, USAFFE augmented Bridget's force by sending him a machine-gun platoon and an 81mm mortar platoon from the 4th Marines on The Rock. The two mortars immediately set up on a saddle northwest of Pucot and, with Hogaboom spotting for them, worked over the whole of Lapiay and Longoskawayan Points; direct hits were scored on the positions where the Japanese had been encountered the day before. A midafternoon patrol discovered that the enemy had evacuated Lapiay, but it was soon evident where they had gone. Holdredge led a combined force of several platoons against Longoskawayan Point and ran into a hornet's nest. He himself was among those wounded before the platoons


could extricate themselves. Again the naval battalion occupied blocking positions on the ridges east of the points for night defense.

During the action of the 25th, USAFFE had changed the command structure in the rear service area and given the corps commanders responsibility for beach defense throughout Bataan. In addition, MacArthur had granted permission for the 12-inch mortars on Corregidor to support Bridget's battalion. Shortly after midnight, the giant mortars, spotted in by an observer on Mt. Pucot, laid several rounds on Longoskawayan Point. The daylight hours were spent in light patrol action while the battalion was readied for a full-scale attack on the 27th. General Wainwright sent a battery of Philippine Scout 75mm guns to support the drive.

At 070 on 27 January the mountain howitzer, the Marine mortars, the Scout 75's, and Corregidor's 12-inch mortars fired a preparation on Longoskawayan, and a skirmish line of about 200 men, some 60-75 of them Marines, started to advance. The enemy reoccupied his positions as soon as the supporting fire lifted, and the jungle came alive with bullets and shell fragments. The right and center of the line made little progress in the face of heavy machine-gun fire. On the left where the going was a little easier a gap soon opened through which Japanese infiltrating groups were able to reach the reserve's positions.

During the resulting hectic fighting, the enemy opened up with mortar fire to herald a counterattack; fortunately, the 4th Marines' 81's were able to silence this fire, but it was soon obvious that the naval battalion was in no shape to advance farther or even to hold its lines on Longoskawayan. Bridget again authorized a withdrawal to the night defense lines on the eastern ridges.

The solution to the problem of eliminating the Japanese beachhead arrived late that afternoon. Colonel Clement, who had come over from Corregidor to advice Bridget on the conduct of the Longoskawayan action, had requested reinforcements from I Corps. Wainwright sent in the regular troops needed and the 2d Battalion of the 57th Philippine Scout Regiment relieved the naval battalion, which went into reserve. The 4th Marines' mortars and machine guns were assigned to the Scouts to support their operations. The oddly-assorted platoons of Bridget's battalion were not committed to action again, but they had done their job in containing the Japanese though outnumbered and outgunned.

The Scouts spent 28 January in developing the Longoskawayan position. On the 29th they attacked in full strength with all the support they could muster. The mine sweeper Quail, risking an encounter with Japanese destroyers, came out from Mariveles and cruised offshore while Commander Bridget spotted for the 12-inch mortars and the 75mm guns. The ship closed from 2,200 to 1,300 yards firing point-blank at Japanese soldiers trying to hide out in the caves and undergrowth along the shores of the point.14 Ashore the Scouts, supported by machine-gun and mortar fire from the landing flanking the point, did the job expected of them and smashed through the enemy lines. By nightfall organized resistance had ended and the cost of taking Lapiay and Longoskawayan


had been counted. Bridget's unit had lost 11 killed and 26 wounded in action; the Scout casualties were 11 dead and 27 wounded; and the Japanese had lost their entire landing force.

During the next few days patrols, aided by ship's launches armored and manned by crewmen from the Canopus, mopped up the area, killing stragglers and taking a few prisoners, but the threat to Mariveles was ended. Similar action by adequately supported Scout units wiped out the Quinauan Point landing force by 7 February. The major Japanese attempt to reinforce the beleaguered troops on Quinauan was beaten back by the combined fore of artillery, naval guns, and the strafing of the four P-40's remaining on Bataan. Elements of an enemy battalion which did get ashore on a point of land just above Quinauan on 27 January and 2 February were also finished off by the Scouts.

By 13 February the last survivors of the amphibious attempts had been killed or captured. The make-shift beach defense forces which had initially contained the landings had barely managed to hold their own against the Japanese. They had had to overreach themselves to keep the enemy off balance and prevent a breakthrough while the troops of I and II Corps were falling back to the Bagac-Orion position. Once that line was occupied and Wainwright could commit some of his best troops in sufficient numbers and with adequate support, the Japanese were finished. Discouraged by their amphibious fiasco, the enemy never again attempted to hit the coastal flanks of the American-Filipino positions. (See Map 7)

At the same time the survivors of the landing attempts were being hunted down, the Japanese offensive sputtered to a halt in front of the Bagac-Orion line. The initial enemy advance on Bataan had not been made without cost, and the casualty rate now soared so high that the attacking troops were rendered ineffective. On 13 February Homma found it necessary to break contact, pull back to a line of blocking positions, and to regroup his battered forces. The lull in the Fourteenth Army's attack was only temporary, however, as Homma was promised replacements and reinforcements. When the second phase of the battle for Bataan opened, the scales were heavily tipped in favor of the Japanese.

The detachment of Canopus crewmen, the sailors from the Cavite Naval Ammunition Depot, and the majority of the general duty men, nine officers and 327 enlisted men in all, were transferred to the 4th Marines on Corregidor on 17-18 February. Commander Bridget and his naval aviation contingent moved to Forth Hughes on the 30th where Bridget became beach defense commander with Major Stuart W. King of the 4th Marines as his executive officer. Battery C of 3/4 remained at Mariveles to man its antiaircraft guns, but Battery A rejoined the regiment, with most of its men going to Headquarters Company to augment the regimental reserve.

The assignment of the sailors of the naval battalion to Colonel Howard's command accentuated the growing joint-service character of the Marine regiment. Small contingents of crewmen from damaged or sunken boats of the Inshore Patrol also had been joined and over 700 Philippine Army air cadets and their officers were now included in the 4th's ranks. These men, most of whom had never had


any infantry training, were distributed throughout the companies on beach defense and in reserve where the experienced Marines could best train them by example and close individual instruction. No company in the regiment retained an all-Marine complexion.

The arrival of reinforcements on Corregidor and Caballo came at a time when the Japanese had stepped up their campaign against the fortified islands. On 6 February, the first enemy shells, fired by 105mm guns emplaced along the shore of Cavite Province, exploded amidst the American positions on all the islands. The reaction was swift and the forts replied with the guns that could bear. The counterbattery exchange continued throughout February and early March, occasionally waning as the Japanese were forced to shift to new firing positions by gunners on Forts Frank and Drum. The limited number of planes available to Homma made enemy bombers infrequent visitors during this period, and the Japanese concentrated on reducing the island defenses with artillery fire. In the first week of March, the American commander on Fort Frank received a demand for its surrender with a boast that the Cavite coast was lined with artillery and that:

...Carabao will be reduced by our mighty artillery fire, likewise Drum; after reduction of Carabao and Drum our invincible artillery will pound Corregidor into submission, batter it, weaken it, preparatory to a final assault by crack Japanese landing troops.16

The surrender note was unproductive for the enemy, but it was prophetic regarding the fate of Corregidor.

Until the Japanese were ready to renew their assault on Bataan in late March, the severity of the enemy shellings from Cavite was not great enough to be effective in halting the construction and improvement of beach defenses on Corregidor. Trenches and gun positions lined the shores of Bottomside and the ravines leading to Topside and Middleside from the beaches. Barbed wire entanglements and mine fields improvised from aerial bombs were laid across all possible approaches. The ordnance stores of the island were searched to provide increased firepower for the 4th Marines,17 and guns were sited to insure that any landing force would be caught in a murderous crossfire if it attempted to reach shore.

The thoroughness of the regiment's preparations was indicative of its high state of morale. The men manning the beach defenses, and to a lesser extent their comrades in the jungles of Bataan, never completely abandoned hope of rescue and relief until the very last days of their ordeal.18 Even when General MacArthur was ordered to leave the Philippines to take over a new Allied command in the Southwest Pacific, many men thought that he would return, leading a strong relief force. The senior commanders in the Philippines and the Allied leaders knew the truth, however, and realized that barring a miracle, Luzon was doomed to fall. Only a few key men could be taken out of the trap by submarine, torpedo boat, or


plane; the rest had to be left to accept their fate.

On 11 March, the day before MacArthur and his party started the first leg of their journey to Australia, he created a new headquarters, Luzon Force, to control the operations on Bataan and appointed General Wainwright to its command. On 20 March, the War Department notified Wainwright of his promotion to lieutenant general and of the fact that he was to be commander of all forces remaining in the Philippines. To take the place of USAFFE, and area headquarters, United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP), was created.

To take his place on Bataan, Wainwright appointed the USAFFE Artillery Officer, Major General Edward P. King, Jr. King drew an unenviable task when he took over Luzon Force, for the volume of Japanese preparatory fire on Bataan and on the island forts indicated the start of a major effort. To meet this attack, King had troops who had already spent two weeks on a diet of 3/8 of a ration on top of two months of half rations; they were ready to fight but "with not enough food in their bellies to sustain a dog."19 The USAFFE Surgeon General, on 18 February, had accounted Bataan's defenders as being only 55% combat efficient as a result of "debilities due to malaria, dysentery, and general malnutrition."20 These same men were now a month further along on the road to exhaustion and collapse and were destined to meet a fresh and vigorous enemy assault.

The Fall of Bataan21

The Fourteenth Army set 3 April as D-day for its renewed offensive on Bataan, and General Homma foresaw "no reason why this attack should not succeed."22 He could well be confident since he had received the infantry replacements needed to rebuild the 16th Division and the 65th Brigade, and he had been sent the 4th Division from Shanghai. In addition, Imperial Headquarters had allotted him a strongly reinforced infantry regiment from the 21st Division, originally slated for duty in Indo-China. His artillery strength had been more than doubled and now included far-ranging 240-mm howitzers. Two heavy bomber regiments had been flown up from Malaya to increase materially his mastery of the air.

Once the enemy attack was launched, the pressure on Bataan's defenders was relentless. In less than a week the issue had been decided. The physically weakened Americans and Filipinos tried desperately to stem the Japanese advance, but to no avail. By 7 April the last reserves had been committed. A growing stream of dazed, disorganized men, seeking to escape the incessant bombardment at the front and the onrushing enemy, crowded the roads and trails leading to Mariveles. Only isolated groups of soldiers still fought to hold the Japanese back from the tip of the peninsula. Under these circumstances, General King decided to seek surrender terms. His aide recorded the situation in his diary:

8th [April]. Wednesday. The army can not attack. It is impossible. Area is congested with stragglers ... General King has ordered all


tanks thrown [blown?] and arms destroyed, and is going forward to contact the Japanese and try to avert a massacre.23

Near midnight on the 8th a severe earthquake tremor was felt on Corregidor and Bataan, and soon thereafter the Mariveles harbor was shaking violently from man-made explosions, as King's orders to destroy all munitions dumps were carried out. To an observer on The Rock it seemed that:

... the southern end of Bataan was a huge conflagration which resembled more than anything else a volcano in violent eruption ... white hot pieces of metal from exploded shells and bombs shot skyward by the thousands in every conceivable direction. Various colored flares exploded in great numbers and charged off on crazy courses much the same as a sky rocket which has run wild on the ground.24

All night long the water between Bataan and Corregidor was lashed with falling debris and fragments from the explosions. Through this deadly shower a procession of small craft dodged its way to the north dock of Bottomside. Everything that could float was pressed into use by frantic refugees. Some of the arrivals, however, such as the nurses from Bataan's hospitals, were under orders to report to Corregidor. Specific units that could strengthen The Rock's garrison, antiaircraft batteries and the 45th Philippine Scout Regiment, had also been called for. Only the AAA gunners from the Mariveles area, including the 4th Marines' Battery C, managed to escape. The Scout regiment was prevented from reaching the harbor in time by the jammed condition of the roads.

By noon on 9 April, General King had found out that no terms would be given him; the Japanese demanded unconditional surrender. With thousands of his men lying wounded and sick in open air general hospitals and all hope of successful resistance gone, King accepted the inevitable and surrendered, asking only that his men be given fair treatment. The battle for Bataan had ended, and more than 75,000 gallant men began the first of more than a thousand days of brutal captivity.


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[1] Unless otherwise noted the material in this section is derived from USAFFE-USFIP Rept; 14th Army Rept; Fall of the Philippines.

[2] "Actually , the troops on Bataan received about one-third ration." USAFFE-USFIP Rept, 42.

[3] 14th Army Rept, 90.

[4] Ibid., 91.

[5] Unless otherwise noted the material in this section is derived from Rockwell Narrative; 16th NavDist War Diary, 8Dec41-19Feb42 (located at NHD); Clement Rept; Cdr F.J. Bridget Rept to ComSixteen, Action at Longoskawayan Point, 9Feb42 (located at NHD), hereinafter cited as Bridget Rept; Capt E.L. Sackett, USN, "History of the USS Canopus," 28Apr47 (located at NHD), hereinafter cited as Canopus Hist; Hogaboom.

[6] Hogaboom, 5.

[7] 4th Mar Jnl, 268.

[8] Canpous Hist, 14.

[9] Col W.F. Prickett ltr to CMC, October 1956.

[10] Unless otherwise noted the material in this section is taken from USAFFE-USFIP Rept; 14th Army Rept; 4th Mar Jnl; Clement Rept; Bridget Rept; Hogaboom; Btry A, US NavBn, Narrative of events, 2Feb42; 2dLt M.E. Peshek ltr to CO, 2/4, "Report of operation of Marine Detachment sent to Bataan on 25 January 1942," 2Feb42; GunSgt H.M. Ferrell ltr to CO, 1/4, "Temporary Duty of Mortar Platoon, vicinity of Mariveles, Bataan, Philippine Islands, from January 25, 1942, to January 30, 1942, inclusive," 31Jan42; Fall of the Philippines.

[11] ComMTBron-3, Rept of Act of USS Pt-34 on the night of 22-23Jan42, 27Feb42 (located at NHD), 1.

[12] An officer of 3/4 who kenw many of the survivors of this action, later wrote an article describing the battle. He maintained that the Army detachments mentioned never joined, although they may have been assigned, and that the purely naval companies were not used as such. Instead the sailors who could be spared joined one of the Marine units. While this story is quite credible, in this instance the contemporary Bridget Rept has been used as a guide. See LtCol W.F. Pricket, "Naval Battalion at Mariveles," MC Gazette, June 1950, 40-43.

[13] Quoted in Hogaboom, 10.

[14] CO USS Quail Rept of Act at Longoskawayan Pt morning of 29Jan42, 30Jun42 (located at NHD), 1.

[15] [Missing in original]

[16] Quoted in USAFFE-USFIP Rept, 40-41.

[17] One source of beach defense guns was the sub-caliber 37mm's which were used for practice firing by Corregidor's big guns. These were dismounted from the gun tubes and turned over to the Marines. LtGen S.L. Howard interview by HistBr, G-3, HQMC, 26Oct56, hereinafter cited as Howard Interview.

[18] Maj T.E. Pulos ltr to CMC, 30Oct56.

[19] Wainwright's Story, 76. The ration was cut to 3/8 on 2 March according to USAFFE-USFIP Rept entry for that date.

[20] Quoted in Diary of Maj A.C. Tisdelle, Aide to MajGen King, entry of 18Feb42.

[21] Unless otherwise noted the material in this section is derived from USAFFE-USFIP Rept; 14th Army Rept; Fall of the Philippines.

[22] 14th Army Rept, Appendix 4, 17.

[23] Tisdelle, op. cit.

[24] LCdr T.C. Parker, "The Epic of Corregidor-Bataan, December 24, 1941-May 4, 1942," USNI Proceedings, January 1943, 18, hereinafter cited as Parker.

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