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What if Corregidor had held out?

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by John Dudek, Feb 6, 2009.

  1. John Dudek

    John Dudek Member

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    Page 2.

    "Between the two attacks and after the 2nd we threw many hand grenades down on the beach. Also the aerial frag bombs were released down wooden chutes to explode on the beach.

    Just at dawn we were in the process of getting a 3rd attack but guns from Ft. Hughes to our rear opened up & the landing craft turned off to our left and landed at North Pt. unopposed. They were never within our range to fire. Or they possibly saw their hundreds of dead soldiers floating in the water and a halfsunken landing craft on the beach. I counted 22 one-half sunken landing craft and 4 fully loaded with dead Japs. All craft had 10 to 20 dead inside but the four were loaded with about 60 in each all dead. All Japs wore orange coloured life jackets so they floated in the water until the tide took them out. The sharks were having a feast. Later in the morning I saw one other group of landing craft going up the North Channel to the land where I heard later at Officer beach.

    We of course were in good spirits. I had one dead Phil Scout & 1 wounded, both from small arms.

    Our biggest scare came after the 2nd attack when our own 12" mortars from Topside opened up on us to cut the island in two. I understand Colonel Bunker, who commanded the 59th Rgt. was informed that I was possibly still holding out & stopped the firing.

    We spent the day cleaning out the few remaining survivors who were sniping at us. By noon we had cleaned out all, I believe. We had formed a skirmish line & started north & in 2 hrs. reported all well. About 4 or 5 p.m. I saw a small boat leave South Dock and sail to Ft. Hughes dock. It was flying a white sheet from the stern. From that I gathered that the island was in the process of surrendering. I took a vote on staying or attempting to negotiate with the Japs. We hadn't heard a shot fired in our vicinity for several hours. The vote was 38 to 36 for surrender, several did not vote. So just before dark I marched the men out in a column of 2's. I placed my 3rd Lt. who was recently promoted to 2nd Lt. in the rear to close up the column.

    I don't think the Japs saw us until we reached the main road at the end of the airstrip & and we had marched and down it about 100yds. They immediately surrounded us & disarmed us. They tried to question us but gave up. I'm sure they never knew where we came from or I wouldn't be writing this. They took us about 1 mile along towards the Offices Beach & had us sit in the middle of the road all night. In the morning they lined us up to be shot, but a very high ranking Jap officer with his stuff came up from the beach with his staff & guard of about 25 soldiers. He stopped the proceedings & spoke to me in English. Told me to follow him & keep my men in a close column. He took us to the Bottomside dock area & kept his guards on us all morning, brought us water and food. Afternoon another guard detail led us to the old Balloon hangar area the 92nd motor pool area. We were used to erect a barricade of barrels outward from the hangar. That night after we had gone to sleep the Japs brought the rest of the offices and men of Corregidor to the area. The barrels were found we found were to separate the Filipinos from U.S. personnel. I was then separated from my men & saw few after that. We stayed there for approx 3 weeks when we were loaded aboard transports and taken to Manila. We were taken part way to shore in small boats, then forced to swim ashore. We then paraded down Dewey Blvd. to Bilibid Prison. I spent the next 2 yrs – 2 mos. at camp 3 & Camp 1 Cabanatuan and in Aug 3rd landed in Moji, Kyushu, Japan. Was in Jap Camp 23 until end of war.

    You ask me to say something about the P.I. Scouts. I have nothing but praise & admiration for them. They were, I'm sure, the best disciplined men I've known. They never questioned an order and they fired those 75's at a rate of 20 rds per gun in such precision that any gun crew would have envied. I remember visiting No. 1 gun during the 1st attack & Corporal Navarro the gunner was peering through his gun sight & said "Sir, I cannot see them through my sight the light is out. " I picked him up off his seat & pointed down the barrel & said, "Use it like a shotgun, you're shooting ducks on the pond now." At that time we were firing pt. blank range 50yds at the craft on the beach.

    Estimate 2,000 each wave. I later read Manila paper which said they lost 5,000 men on the beach in this vicinity.

    My 75's were mounted on wheels & the tail piece was fixed to a circular railroad rail. Each could fire in an arc of approx. 225 ds. All MG and 37mm were dug in about 25' above the shore line with logs & 1 ft. of earth on a roof overhead. This saved them from hand grenades from the beach below.

    I have always believed that we bore the main attack and that less than 500 organized Japs remained on the Island at daybreak. Of course, I was out of communication and could only hear our gunfire. But, I have questioned many friends who were on the beach an airstrip to my left. They saw little action but heard us. One Lt. Anderson 60th AA who had a platoon of 50 cal. on airstrip said only a few Japs crossed the airstrip during the night. Next day he & his troops were withdrawn to the Kindley Ridge.

    There was a report of this activity in John Toland's book "But Not in Shame." He did not contact me but he was essentially correct. Except when he said we withdrew. At the time of my surrender the island had been under a truce for at least 6 hrs. My guns were all in operating condition, morale was high, and we could if we have had been provided water & food holdout another day or 2. Our chow truck did not show up the night before & we were out of water since dawn. We used our canteens of water to replenish the machine guns.

    An inventory of ammo expended.





    75mm
    No. 1 – 580 rds used


    No. 2 – 455 rds used

    37mm
    No. 1 – 750 rds


    No. 2 – 900 rds

    50 Cal
    No. 2 – 4,000 rds

    30 Cal
    No. 1 – 9500 rds


    No. 2 – 8,000 rds

    25 lb bombs 30 rds

    3,000 Hand grenades




    Each man carried 100 rounds of 30 cal ammo and was replenished several times. I had about 10,000 rounds of 30 cal remaining for the MG's & 1000 rds of rifle ammo. The 8 BAR's fired approximately 500 rds each. Several marines had 45 cal submachine guns & expended all their ammo.

    I only wish I could hold a reunion & roll call of my men. I haven't seen a single one since left for Japan (sic) in July 1944 and only a few before that. My Marine NCO was Sgt. Zajak & and never saw him again. He and his men were superb. My PI Scouts were so courageous I often think of them.

    I gave a good report to Lt. Col Beecher, 4th U.S. Marines in POW camp & recommended decorations for my men but never knew if they rec'd them. I'm sure there were none more deserving for the highest award.

    I have tried to be as accurate as possible, but I'm sure you will see some questions. Please feel free to write for any further details.

    I retired from U.S. Army July 1, 1961 after 20 yrs active. My last assignment station was Ft. Chaffe, Ark. I am now employed as a project engineer for New Mexico State Highway Dept. stationed at Tacos, N.M. My family, wife and 2 children, live in Albuquerque. I was unmarried until 1947 & have a son age 15, soph. in H.S. & daughter 12, 7th grade.

    I believe I am very fortunate, I am in fairly good health and happy. I would really enjoy hearing from any of my men. If you have heard from them please give me their addresses.



    Sincerely yours,
    Ray G. Lawrence
    Lt. Col. (Ret) "






    Source: Belote Collection, Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks. CD Version
     
  2. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    If the Japanese hadn't even contemplated taking Corregidore and decided to wait them out till they starved, there was nothing the island could give for offensive capabilities. They were "bypassed" and impotent to a certein degree.
     
  3. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Does nobody here see the ljnk with the current singapore thread? Not a major critisism but quite rightly most commebts seem to be from our usa cousins...and there seems to be a certain leeway given here to what happened here and not singapore...was there nothing envisaged before war to make this fortress impregnable as seems to be the concensus of critisism on Singapore. And surely the supply line from states was shorter than uk to singapore and that before the home base of uk being in war survival state it was at its homeland and hq...I particularly like one quote here never reinforce defeat..why then is this not applied to your understanding where singapore is concerned..malaya fight was ferocious before the crossing of allied troops on causway to singapore..the bombing and water supply problems were then exsasperated much like corregidor but with added massive civilian population in place..yes singapore could have carried on the fight but like corregidor it was doomed before the war started.
     
  4. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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    I think I understand your point, Urqh. I agree with you that both Corregidor and Singapore were doomed from the start but I would also consider that unlike Corregidor, Singapore had a major civilian population and their fate must be factored into account. Because of this, I would have to think that Singapore would still have fallen earlier than Corregidor. Maybe Corregidor might've been held longer than it did historically, but what would be the point? As you've said, "never reinforce defeat."
     
  5. Maxs

    Maxs Member

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    On other or previous threads, books and articles, I've seen these arguments and sad concessions. I've wondered about things like moving some of the artillery down to Mindanao, which essentially had none, to throw the Japanese intelligence people off, and perhaps get the focus more on the southern islands, at least temporarily.

    But there would be all kinds of logistical problems with getting on down Luzon, down to Samar, and so forth, to get even one artillery piece down there.

    That is, of course, unless you did it before the war started. But even then, Japanese intelligence would probably have caught it.
    In other words, it would probably only do any good, if it could be done after the campaign had started, to throw the Japanese off their stride in their attack in Mindanao. It might have caused some repositioning of some of their forces to compensate for the unexpected presence of artillery on Mindanao. How much good could this have actually done? Perhaps not much.
    If it took some pressure off, somewhere in the Luzon theater, could it have changed any outcome? A US Navy assessment seemed to feel Ft. Wint, near Subic Bay, had been abandoned too soon, and might have made some difference had it been used in place, instead of the guns being moved to Bataan. But surely only a few hours would have been gained. Could this really have changed the outcome?
    It just looks awfully grim, no matter what. You can make more difference, the further back in time you go with the changes you make, at least in most things.

    They--the military and naval commanders on both sides--really anticipated a lot more in the way of conventional naval activity than ended up occurring. Big ships blockading, and fighting to break through blockades, is not really what happened. Instead, there were submarines and aircraft. And, during this time, the Japanese had superiority in aircraft--and in equipment to destroy submarines, whereas, our subs then in operation, were WWI vintage and highly vulnerable.

    MacArthur staying on Mindanao instead of going to Australia, would be another angle. Could his considerable military genius have been brought to bear? But how, by then, by that late in the campaign? Again, it seems, the farther back you go in time, with any or most changes, the more success you'd achieve. The closer to the end of the campaign, the less effective changes would be.
     
  6. Maxs

    Maxs Member

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    And, yes, I know MacArthur had plenty of faults, but lack of military ability was not one of them. Could he have pulled a rabbit out of his hat, some Inchon landing style maneuver, somewhere during this time?
    One thing, would be, had he gotten the B-25s to hit the big mortars being used to hit Corregidor. He was able to get some in, at Wainright's request, for one or two raids on Manila Bay.
    Also, all those airfields on Mindanao might have been used to better or greater effect had MacArthur stayed on Mindanao awhile. They'd dug a bunch, by the time of the final invasion of Mindanao. Wouldn't MacArthur himself being on Mindanao, have increased the pressure to station a big bomber or two on Mindanao, perhaps secretly, and perhaps used as a last-minute surprise to hit the mortars?
    Without those mortars hitting Corregidor, the Japanese would be relying on lighter level artillery for barrages, and on their air attacks.
    But even with all this, wouldn't the final outcome have been a defeat? Yet, it's also true that re-supplying Mindanao could have been simpler than resupplying Luzon from Australia. But there wasn't much to re-supply with, at that stage. Could they really have held out until more could get to Australia? Given the times for the later re-supply convoys to Australia, it seems doubtful.
    The use of surprise aircraft from secret airfields had been used by the Dutch earlier, on one of their islands, (I forget which one, but recall reading an account of it at the Dutch "reo" cities Site.) It had only a limited effect. Of course, the surprise planes were soon destroyed anyway.
    Wasn't it going to boil down, ultimately, on being able to follow-up on successes achieved by the defenders? Without resupply, or reinforcement, how could any follow-up have been done for these surprise attacks or changes?
    I read somewhere that the Japanese had allowed more time for the invasion campaigns than it actually took.
    Among their biggest screw-ups were thinking they could take Port Moresby overland, and taking the bait at Midway. Of course, there were several other mistakes they made, too. Being at war with Chna, Holland, Britain, Australia, India, and the United States--all at the same time--was also not the least of them.
     
  7. syscom3

    syscom3 Member

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    In the end, it boils down to this. The allies had to many negatives to contend with. Too much to defend with too few resources (material and personell) to make a difference. The Japanese were going to steam roller over everyone as it historically happened, regardless if Corregidore held out for a bit longer, or MacArthur made life difficult for the Japanese on Mindanao.
     
  8. squidly the octopus

    squidly the octopus New Member

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    Corregidor's fate (and Bataan's too) was sealed before the war began...... by General MacArthur. He intended to defend Luzon everywhere, and thus chose not to stockpile supplies (which were available) at Bataan and Corregidor that could have allowed the garrisons to hold out for much, much longer, even though Bataan and Corregidor were envisioned as the final "holdout" spots before the war began.

    This is not to say the Allies could have won the Filipino campaign in '42 if Gen. MacArthur had made different decisions, that seems highly far fetched, but it could have been very different than it was. When you're out of food, it does not matter what else is going on, and that's why forces on Bataan surrendered - no food - at the time they were still holding the line and had not been militarily defeated.
     
  9. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    the key here is ''half rations'' .....they were getting weaker and weaker...so they might have lasted till then, but would've been worthless skeletons..
     
  10. von_noobie

    von_noobie Member

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    The best tactic that could have been used at Corregidor and the Philippines as a whole would have been to load every plane and ship with as many of the troops as possible and put the pedal to the floor heading South to Malaya or further.

    Was a pointless tactic that never had a hope in hell of working, Even if Dug out Doug had left all the supplies located in Bataan rather then spread out trying to defend everything (Which he never had the forces to do) the supplies would not have lasted long enough to be relieved by the USN (In earlier years when the plan's had been drawn up the USN estimated it would take 1 year to fight though the Japanese to relieve them).

    Actually removing as many troops as possible would allow what supplies had been there to last longer.

    Better to live to fight another day then fight an unattainable victory.
     
  11. Gromit801

    Gromit801 Member

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    One other psychological consideration that may have led to Wainwright's surrender: 78 Army and Navy nurses. The U.S. by then knew all to well the savagery the IJA tended to inflict on prisoners out of frustration. If the IJA had to fight to the tunnel doors, something may have happened to the nurses that would been horrible to the extreme. I don't think Wainwright could have lived with that.
     
  12. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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