The area short of Landing Zone A; Battery Boston; Crockett Ravine ; Officers Row.



34th Infantry landing;  South ("Black") Beach; third wave; Landing Zones A and B. 



PT Boat ; Wheeler Point. Battery Monja;



Shore rescue; Wheeler Pt.   

Moreover, the amphibious attackers stood a good chance of seizing Malinta Hill before the Japanese garrison could recover from the shock of preparatory air and naval bombardment and the surprise of the parachute drop. In any case, American troops would have to secure the hill before they could clear the tail of Corregidor, Bottomside, and parts of Middleside. Without the help of amphibious forces, the 503d RCT would have to attack Malinta Hill across the open area of Bottomside--an operation that, planners believed, would be most unpleasant.

To minimize expected casualties during the shore-to-shore attack, the amphibious troops would make their assault two hours after the paratroopers started jumping. By that time, planners expected, the parachutists would be able to provide some fire support for the amphibious assault, while Japanese attention would be largely diverted to the manifest enormity of the situation on Topside.

To allow visually directed air and naval bombardment as well as good visibility for the airborne assault, planners scheduled the parachute jump for 0830 and set the amphibious attack for 1030. The whole plan, of course, depended upon generally fair weather; an inclement dawn on 16 February would force postponement of both assaults.

Thus, carefully, planners made provision for most eventualities. The great imponderable was, of course, the Japanese reaction, and here Sixth Army and all other forces involved were due for a surprise. Information concerning the isolated Japanese garrison on Corregidor had been so scanty that the estimate of 850 had, in fact, hardly attained the status of an educated guess, even though it was necessary to use that figure as a basis for planning. Actually, the Japanese had over 5,000 troops on Corregidor, all but 500 of them naval personnel.8

Corregidor and the other islands in Manila Bay were garrisoned by the Manila Bay Entrance Force under Capt. Akira Itagaki, IJN, who reported to Admiral Iwabuchi in Manila and whose headquarters was on Corregidor. Itagaki's forces, which included three Army provisional infantry companies and two Army provisional artillery batteries, were organized into provisional units and assigned defensive sectors.

As Sixth Army expected, Captain Itagaki did not anticipate an airborne envelopment. He had deployed his troops for defense against amphibious attack and had placed his strongest positions at James, Cheney, and Ramsay Ravines and at Malinta Hill. Over half his troops were ready for action at these points; the rest of the garrison he apparently kept in reserve on Malinta Hill or in the tunnels below. A few men held isolated positions along the tail. Itagaki's ravine defenses had no communication with each other or with Malinta Hill. Wire communications from each strongpoint led back to a central location on Topside, but even so it would be difficult for Itagaki to move forces quickly from one position to another around the periphery of Topside. Moreover, the early destruction of the communications center would lead to complete disruption of control. Thus, while he commanded a strong and fairly well-armed force, Itagaki's means of controlling the operations of his troops were extremely precarious.





8. Japanese information is principally from: Japanese Studies in WW II, No. 9, Luzon Opns of the Shimbu Gp, p. 12, and No. 125, Philippine Area Naval Opns, pt. IV, p. 16; Statement of Capt Masayoshi Koma (IJN) (Staff, Southwest Area Fleet), States, II, 293; Col Kobayashi Narrative, pp. 2, 6, 10th I&H Staff Study, Japanese Opns on Luzon; XI Corps G-2 Per Rpt, 26 Feb 45, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 25-27 Feb 45; an. 1, Org Chart, to 503d RCT S-2 Rpt Corregidor; USAFFE Bd Rpt Corregidor I, 2-3.