CORREGIDOR COORDINATION
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Lieutenant Colonel
Edward M. Postlethwait

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Lt. Colonel Postlethwait commanded the 34th Infantry Regiment on Corregidor, and received the DSC for his actions there.  Shortly thereafter, he wrote of his experiences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Map 80
Recapture of Corregidor
16 - 28 February 1945

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The invasion fleet heads towards Corregidor.

 

 

Corregidor Coordination

E. M. Postlethwait, Lt. Col. (US ARMY)

The corregidor operation was an example of co-ordination as it ought to be. The fact that every arm or service has as its final mission, either directly or indirectly, the delivery of John Rifleman to the heart of the enemy’s ground with his GI boot resting squarely on the chest of the enemy is at last being recognized.

With that recognition the development of true coordination between the arms is getting somewhere. It isn’t perfect yet, but we’re getting there fast. The mechanics of close air support and naval gunfire support were first worked out in theory, then tried and improved; and they are still being improved.

Like most of us, I first learned the mechanics at informal staff schools out of the “books,” and in pre-operation planning. It all sounded good and everyone apparently had the right idea, but something always seemed to mar the picture in actual operation. The weather turned out to be bad for the planes, communications went haywire, the Japs kept the Navy busy somewhere else. It was always something- until the Corregidor show. There, we Doughfeet got the kind of suppose we had heard about and dreamed about, but which we were beginning to doubt existed. Everything clicked, just the way it says in the book, only better.

The preinvasion bombardment plans were worked out by the higher staffs. We had no voice in the plans, except by accident. I’ll say more on that later. Briefly, the Air Forces dropped around two hundred tons of bombs per day for over two weeks before Corregidor D-Day. And the Navy bombarded the island for several days from cruisers and destroyers.

Luckily, Captain “Tommy” Thompson, my naval gunfire liaison officer, was on the ball. The firing ships for the show were anchored near our staging area, and after studying the tactical plan, Thompson went out to talk things over with their officers. On board one of the cruisers, he found Commander H. L. McCoy who had been stationed on Corregidor at the time of its surrender and later escaped. Commander McCoy came ashore with Captain Thompson to our CP on Luzon and answered a thousand and one questions about the island. The talk was worth an extra battalion. Among other thing, we worked out one especially important detail.

One of the entrances to the large tunnel in Malinta Hill on Corregidor looked right down on the beach where we could land. A gun in that entrance could have spelled murder for anyone on the beach – might even have stopped the whole show. McCoy knew exactly where the entrance was. I asked him if he could close it for us, or at least neutralize it. His answer was “Hell, yes. I’ll go to the fire control tower and lay some eight-inchers right in there myself.” What more could we want in cooperation on that important point?

In our landing plan, one rifle platoon, equipped for assault-party operations (flame throwers, demolitions, bazookas etc.) was earmarked to hit out fast for that tunnel entrance and finish the job When that platoon reached the spot on D-Day, there was no job to finish. McCoy and his eight-inchers had completely closed it. Support? And how!

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This article was originally published in the
 INFANTRY JOURNAL August, 1945.