regiment had waited at SUBIC for word from BLT #3. The first message
came in at 1350.
tensely, BLT #3 had waited out the night of February 15th, dug in on the
MARIVALES Shore, across the North Channel from CORREGIDOR, waited for
dawn and the LCM’s, and 1030, and the landing, and what lay beyond.
out on the water, headed for the South Channel and BLACK BEACH, watching
the paratroopers of the 503d come down through perilous crosswinds from
a scant 300 feet, watching the shells and bombs as bombers and rockets
do their devastation, the men sat tight as their assault boats moved don
and around and forward and inward toward the beach. And somebody uttered
aloud the prayer they’d all been making, someone said – "I hope it all
had the honor of carrying the flag ashore. It landed, two platoons
abreast as planned, and moved immediately inward. "K" Company came in
right beside it. The hour was 1000 – 30 minutes earlier than expected.
"I" company came in the second wave – with the heavy weapons of "L" and
"K". "M"was in wave number 3, "A" and the BLT command group in 4, the
remainder of the team in the 5th.
beach east of South Dock had proved unsatisfactory for use. The beach
west of the dock seemed ideal, at first, from every standpoint,
including enemy opposition. The first wave came in without receiving
heavy fire or serious opposition. They crossed a thick field of conical
mines, so poorly camouflaged they were easily avoided, and found beyond
a heap of ugly misshapen, unidentifiable, sun-baked rubble which had
been made from buildings and installations by the bombs and shells.
As the 4th and
5th waves approached the shore, the enemy cut loose a fusillade of heavy
machine gun fire, most of which originated on the eastern shore of
BREAKWATER POINT. Vehicles coming off the boats of these waves began to
detonate the mines in the fields the (first) troops had crossed. One of
the tanks was knocked out – then an SH(?). An anti-tank gun, the jeep
that pulled it, and the man who drove the jeep were blown sky-high.
Several other vehicles were knocked out or damaged.
with 3 men wounded in the boats before they hit the beach, were
scrambling ashore as machine guns from SAN JOSE point on the right flank
joined the guns from BREAKWATER POINT in crossfire over the beach, and
mortar shells began to drop on the beach and among the boats approaching
havoc wrought by the mine field and the hazard of the accurate enemy
fire, "M" company’s machine gun sections quickly assembled and found
cover. The mortar platoon, with bulkier accessories, were slower but no
less calm and efficient as they came through the cross-fire and went
into positions, making use of the huge bomb craters in the IBH (?)
sector for cover. The company set up the beach defense and awaited the
need of their support of the riflemen up ahead. They had two more men
wounded, 1 killed, 1 missing, after they hit the beach.
successive waves came in, mortar shells took a sharp toll, wounding two
of the officers of the staff – narrowly missing the commanding officer.
The silt and rubble of BLACK BEACH was hot. Hot under the beating sun –
hot under the flying steel.
companies "L" and "K" progressed well against stiffening opposition. "L"
company’s first platoon fanned out to the east and made for the road
that skirted the southern end of MALINTA HILL. The remainder of the
company began the excruciating climb up the southwest slope of the hill.
The platoon on the road, reaching its sharp bend at SAN JOSE POINT,
received sudden machine gun fire from the mouth of one of the minor
tunnels and was denied further progress. The platoon set up a road block
beyond the tunnel, leaving 6 men to guard it. The action had cost them 1
BAR – 1 man wounded.
The rest of the company gained the top of the hill at about 1130. On the
way up they knocked out a 75mm gun and captured a knee mortar, both of
which were in caves. The second platoon, climbing the western slope, and
received small arms fire – the third had encountered resistance from a
pillbox and a tunnel mouth. Neither sustained casualties.
"K" company had its immediate objective the northern reaches of MALINTA
HILL and MALINTA POINT. Its 3rd platoon moved around the base of the
hill to secure the point. The rest of the company climbed. On the way to
the top of the BLT objective, they met only light resistance. From the
west entrance to the hill's central tunnel came a burst of machine gun
fire. Rockets, fired point-blank into the position silenced the guns for
a while. Two squads dug in above the tunnel mouth to keep the Japs
inside - or get them as they came out. The company went on to the top.
The third platoon, rounding a curve on its way to MALINTA POINT? met
heavy fire from the entrance to "Hospital Tunnel." They worked past the
fire and around the point, leaving a gauntlet of enemy steel between the
rest of the battalion and themselves - a perilous but not impossible
gauntlet. Coming around the point on high ground, they approached what
remained of some buildings by the read. Under good cover among these
ruins, they stared into the gaping mouth of another tunnel - this one
opening in the northwest end of the hill. Although it was apparently
from this tunnel that future Jap counterattacks stemmed, and though the
platoon had excellent fire coverage of the position, the "K" company men
were under fire and out of communication for the greater part of the
ensuing 2 or 3 days. They were able neither to put an end to fire from
the tunnel nor to keep all of the Japs inside.
The message - "EVERYTHING SUCCESSFUL. BLT #3 ON OBJECTIVE AT 1300." -
was received at OLONGAPO at 1946 hours. During the hours of the enemy
actually became more intense in his activity and counter- measures.
With the exception of the elements of companies "K" and "L" which were
on MALINTA HILL, the BLT remained liquidly mobile, shifting elements to
meet threats and situations as they arose - which was with great
variance and in rapid succession.
"I" company had landed, dispatched one platoon, as planned, against
machine gun positions on the west flank of the beach. The remainder of
the company established the IBH and moved out, on relief by company "A"
to occupy a spot of high ground about 300 yards south of north dock.
From this position, they looked straight into the opening of the
central tunnel and covered the "Hospital Tunnel" opening, from which
General Wainwright had surrendered 3 years before. (This was the largest
opening in the northern end of MALINTA HILL. It faced toward the east
"I" company exchanged fire for some time with the gunners who'd fired on
"K" from the central tunnel. Only a small aperture remained at the top
of this tunnel mouth, the rest having boon sealed off by previous
bombardment. The BLT Commander ordered a tank forward. The tank fired
into the tunnel. The fire from the tunnel quieted.
"A" Company had had all three platoons on a southern extension of the
same high ground. Around midday, all of "I" company moved westward to
the lower reaches of the 'Topside' mountains on the IBH west flank, and
"A" company expanded its occupation of the high ground across the