LANDING ON CORREGIDOR,
The invasion fleet heads
The traffic wasn't only one way
third wave hits the
beaches while the first two withdraw.
Landing on Corregidor
Corregidor Invaders Battle Way Ashore in
Hail of Enemy Bullets
Reporter With Them Tells How Machine Guns Raked Landing Craft
and Men Fought Up Beaches to Make Contact With Paratroops
New York Herald
Corregidor, Feb. 16, 1945 –
For the first 280 yards, as
we made our way in a landing
craft toward Corregidor,
everything went well.
Emboldened, we began
sticking our heads up over
the side. Lieut. Col. Edward
M. Postletwaite of Chicago,
commanding the Third
Battalion of the 34th
Infantry Regiment of the 24th
Division, was sittng calmly
on top of a truckload of
Ahead, in the narrow gap between
“topside,” the rocky plateau on which American paratroopers had
landed earlier, and Malinta Hill we could see how dreadfully
complete was the destruction effected by naval guns. A little
village where Philippine Scouts oofficers and thei wives once
resided was completely obliterated. Nothing remained of depots
and warehouses but a twisted rubble of steel. The place was
On the right was the gaunt framework of
the dock from which Gen. Douglas escaped on the night of March
10, 1942, in a PT boat operated by Lieut. (now lieutenant
commander) John D. Bulkeley, 58 days before Lieut. Gen. Jonathan
M. Wainwright, who remained in command at Corregidor,
We were brginning to think this was
another Marivales. Yesterday the tip of Bataan Peninsula had
fallen without a shot. But this was to be different.
The toughness of any landing should be
gauged by the casualty reports. Here at Corregidor, where
mopping up continues, our casualties were certainly not
excessive considering the risk involved. But when men are killed
or wounded directly beside you then the thing becomes very
personal and hard to write about with any degree of
Somewhere along Breakwater Point cliff
the Japanese had trundled a 40-caliber machine gun to t he mouth
of a small cave, and they opened fire on the craft directly
below, Our boat was nearest shore and we caught the fusillade.
Bullets bit into the armor. We grovelled
in the slimy bottom near the ramp, keeping as much distance as
possible between ourselves and the ammunition truck. There we
lay in a close huddle during the long minute the Japanese gave
us exclusive attention.
On my right, a doughoy suddenly raised
the bloody stumpt of his right hand. An instant later, a soldier
squatting next to him toppled dead, A bullet had gone through
his back and out through his chest. The horrible tearing power
of machine-gun bullets was brought home to us for the first
The craft came to a jolting halt. Down
came the ramp and we scampered ashore, diving for cover behind a
knocked out tank.
Bullets sang against its blackened hulk,
ricocheting with a vicious twang. For one rantic second we
couldn’t tell the direction of the fire – there is nothing
morefutile than lying on the wrong side of protective cover.
We knew about the gun on Breakwater
Point, but this stuff seemed to be coming from a nest of
pillboxes midway up Malinta Hill.
Richard G. Harris of the United Press and
I decided to stay put. I managed to gauge a shallow foxhole in
the rubble and Harris pressed himself against the shattered read
of the tank.
There was a quick slamming blast. Chunks
of concrete pelted us, and instantly the tank and the group
surrounding it melted in a cloud of dust. When the dust cleared
I looked around. A mortar shell had burst 20 feet to my left and
a jagged fragment sailing over my foxhole instantly killed a
soldier lying immediately to the right.
That was enough. I loped to a big shell
crater and stayed there until things quieted.
Postlethwaite’s men were scattered from
hell to breakfast. That was natural. The beach was too hot for
any attempt at organization. The doughboys raced for cover
wherever they could find it.
Rocket ships had churned the beach but
failed to expode the mines. We saw two tanks and a duck
(amphibious truck) disabled by mines. Then two jeeps loaded with
mortar ammunition were hit by an antitank gun. Through the rest
of the morning exploding ammunition was an added menace.
During a lull, I crept along a stone wall
to Postlethwaite’s shellhole command post (field headquarters).
The radio operator, Joe Princiotta of 905 Avenue St. John, the
Bronx, was in contact with the paratroopers. They had just
staved off a “banzai charge” in sanguinary fighting and were
now advancing down “topside,”
The two forces met midway up the slope
shortly before noon. [The paratroopers of the 503d Parachute
Regiment had landed about 8 A.M. and the ground troops about two
hours later. ] Meanwhile Postlethwaite’s K and L Companies under
Lieut. Lewis F. Stearns and Capt. Frank D. Centanni stormed
Malinta Hill, clearing a few snipers from the crest. The tunnels
in the hill had been completely sealed by the landslides during
the prelanding bombardment.
The whole island, particularly “topside”
was desolated. The great barracks, three stories high and 1,300
feet long, seemed intact at a distance, but drawing near we
could see it pitted and gutted, a mere shell, like Cassino Abbey
in Italy. We saw no trace of the batteries of disappearing guns
of 1899 vintage the formed the chief armament of Corregidor.
(Feb. 19, 1945).
New York Herald