The debris from constant bombardment gave Malinta Hill the appearance of a moonscape. On the western side, the fractured rock was more than fifty feet deep in places. The extent of the landslide which cut the south road, killing six men, can be seen. The hill is still so fractured that area is prone, even today, to landslides.










































Malinta Hill  bisected Corregidor and prevented any Japanese reinforcements from moving towards Topside.





A mortar barrage fell at 2330. At midnight the Japs attacked. They threw in everything they had. Again they scaled that impossible cliff in a death-seeking, death-dealing frenzy. They had made up their stubborn minds to claw out a passage that would let them join their well trounced Topside garrison.

Lieutenant Albert S. Barham, a Texan from Eastland, was the first to hear them pussyfoot up the slope. Barham had won his commission fighting at Leyte. He launched some flares. The hillside swarmed with crawling shapes. We looked right into their faces, twenty feet below us. Our fire transformed their stealth into a crazy rampage. They were like demons running amuck, half tiger, half baboon.

I've never heard so many grenades thrown in so short a time. When we ran short of grenades, "Tex" Barham had been hit in the face. But he ducked through the uproar to where Company "Love" had its perimeter. I never saw a man sprint so fast on all fours. Sergeant Herman Tay]or helped him. Soon they came back with more grenades. For this time the Japs had enough. They scrambled downhill and vanished in the dark. Some twenty of our men were hit. But we had killed plenty. One of the few who did not kill a Jap was Corporal Edward J. Stachelek of North Adams, Massachusetts. While grenade fragments and bullets ripped the night, he slipped from hole to hole to tend the wounded. Then he was wounded himself.

"Take it easy," we told him. "Let somebody else carry on."

"No," said Aid Man Stachelek, "my mission, ain't it?"

And he went right ahead with sulfa and bandage kit, as did another corpsman, Frederick Lederer, who has a wife in Saint Joseph, Missouri.

Just then the moon rose over Manila Bay like a fine orange. It outlined our positions on top to observers around the base of the hill. Lying wounded in a foxhole, Lieutenant Henry G. Kitnik CBroughton, Pennsylvania) was swearing at the moon.

"Hank" Kitnik had taken command of "King" Company when our captain was killed by grenades. But "Hank" was hit in the back of the head and in the arm, and so another Pennsylvanian, Lieutenant Robert R. Fugitti (Philadelphia) took over.

Besides the indestructible Barham, Bob Fugitti had only one officer left, Lieutenant Albert J. Cruver of Seattle. Through the moonlight they crawled, counting the fit.

"How many in the Second Platoon, Al?"

"Eight," reported Al Cruver.

"First Platoon?'.

"Nine," came a muffled reply. "Grenades are all gone..."

"Christ, what a mess."

The Weapons Platoon reported only eleven men fit for action. Headquarters had ten: linemen, messengers, supply crew, cooks, all of them fighting with the rest.

Thirty-eight men and three officers to hang onto Malinta Hill. "I'm going to get some more grenades," Tex Barham announced -- and off he went, bandaged head and all.

We pulled our men closer together to tighten up the mangled line. We waited through the longest minutes of the longest night that ever straddled the Philippines. A few canteens of water were carried up from the beach. The carrying party had trouble with snipers. Only the wounded got water. The rest of us chewed our tongues. A shadow bobbed up in the dark.

That was Barham, coming back with eight more grenades.

The minutes wore on.

"What time is it?"

"Same time as this time last night."

"Hey, what time is it?"

"Oh, pipe down."  

"What time is it?"

"Banzai time."

"Has anybody got the time?"

Every five minutes someone asked about the time.

The Japs attacked at 0300. First there was ferocious mortar fire, then the frantic yelling, the hot bloody sweat, the bullets and grenades, the kicks and cold steel, the wordless rage, the whole twisted monstrosity of killing in the dark. That went on for an hour before the enemy streaked back downhill where he belonged. Five more of our men were hit.

Again we reorganized, now thirty-three of us, sat tight, sweating out the dawn.

One hundred and fifty Jap cadavers stared up from the limestone cliffside.


With daylight a carrying party came through with water and rations. They took away the wounded. Then another company relieved us and we dragged ourselves down to the sweltering beach. There was a bevy of medics dealing out "something to quiet your nerves."

"Make mine rye," cracked a kid with blood in his hair. They gave us capsules.

We flopped into the sand and slept, sweating while we slept, with firing loud a couple of hundred yards away, among millions of flies and the stench of dead men decomposing in the sun. Warships stood offshore, shelling the cliffs around Breakwater Point.


The battle for Corregidor was not finished when we woke up to a meal of canned frankfurters, canned sauerkraut and dehydrated potatoes. The whole rutted island was still heavy with trouble.

"Item" Company cleaned out the North Dock area for the second time. One of the squads ran into grenade ambush among the rocks. Sergeant Owen Williams (Chicago, Illinois) cried a warning. The squad ducked and was saved. But Williams. warning shout had given his position away. He dropped mortally wounded.

"Item" Company swept forward. They killed forty Nips and captured two machineguns.

"Love" Company men cleaned out caves and tunnel entrances around Malinta Hill. They blew up three naval guns mounted in rock bunkers. They also destroyed a huge fourteen-inch cannon. The men of "Love" changed the name of their company to "Lucky." In five days of fighting on the hill they had not lost one man.

The Japs were still firing doggedly from Engineers Point. Elsewhere our tank-destroyers smashed pillboxes which the Nips had built in an old ice plant between Topside and the Hill.

At one time word came through that the portable hospital treating wounded paratroopers on Topside had used up all its plasma and whole blood and needed more. That hospital was two miles from Black Beach. Two men on a tank-destroyer volunteered to slug through with more plasma.

They stowed the life-saving stuff under their cannon and roared off along a winding road. Enemy machineguns near the ice plant beat against the armor of the SPM.

Through the sight slots of the tank-destroyer Sergeant Bill Hartman (Peoria, Illinois) and Corporal Mike Nolan (New York City) saw a shell-wrecked bridge ahead. The bridge lay askew and there was a jagged gap. Their self-propelled cannon weighed twenty-three tons.

"Give her the works," said Hartman.

Either the bridge would hold, or it would not.

The tracks ground over the jagged gap, lapping over four inches on each side of the span. The bridge groaned-and held.

Past shredded clumps of vegetation and a line of pillboxes the tank-destroyer reached its destination. The medics took the plasma and hurried away. Others unloaded a few cans of water which happened to be aboard the mount.

"Sure wish you had brought us some more water," a doctor said. "We've none up here."  

"We'll bring it, Doc," said Hartman.

The wrecked bridge groaned and held and the paratroopers got their water. Back on the beach Hartman and Nolan drove toward a gasoline dump to tank up. Before they reached it their motor bucked and stopped. A connecting rod had broken. Bill Hartman stood among swarms of flies and stared at his mount. Its name, big and white, was SAD SACK. Mike Nolan counted the bullet scars on the armor. He stopped after counting two hundred.


On February 19 our mortars put three hundred pounds of high explosive on Goal Post Ridge where our gallant captain had been killed.

February 20 we spent thinking up ways of finishing off the Japs in the big tunnels of Malinta Hill. We knew that there were hundreds of them holding out in the tunnels. At night they came out to raise hell; at dawn they crawled out of our sight and reach. We tried this and that. "Love" Company men threw smoke grenades into a tunnel in the hope that the rising smoke would curl from the air vent that serviced it. The vent could then be blocked and the Nips' air supply cut off. But the smoke stayed in the tunnel. So did the Japanese.

There was a threat in the cavernous bowels of Malinta Hill that had us all on edge. A captured list of supplies in the Hospital Tunnel showed that there were stowed away inside the hill 35,000 artillery shells, more than 10,000 powder charges, more than 2,000 pounds of TNT, some two million rounds of rifle and machinegun ammunition, 80,000 mortar shells, more than 93,000 hand grenades, 2,900 anti-tank mines among many other parcels  of war.

At 9:30 P.M., February 21, the Japs blew up Malinta Hill.

First there was a rumbling noise. It sounded like freight trains thundering beneath the rocks of Corregidor. Then there were mighty explosions and the island trembled. Sheets of flame shot from the tunnel mouths. Flames belched through the summit of the hill. A crumbling hillside buried alive an "Able" Company detachment on a roadblock below. Sections of road were blown out. Rocks and wreckage and clouds of Jap bodies sailed high in the mellow night. From other places Jap machineguns were firing wild into the flanks of Malinta Hill. About fifty Nips, in a column of twos, marched out of a tunnel as if they were on parade. Our machineguns mowed them down. Other Japs came dashing out of other tunnels. Our guns kept barking.

Two nights later they tried again. Rocks crumbled and fire belched from every hole in the rocks.

Our engineers went to work to carry the job to an end. Quantities of gasoline were set afire in the remaining tunnel mouths, and the entrances were then sealed by blasts. For days there came dimly out of the tunnels the sounds of shouting, of mass singing, of muffled pistol shots and grenade explosions. Then silence.