Discussion in 'Land Warfare in the Pacific' started by JCFalkenbergIII, Feb 19, 2008.
My pleasure! Keep the change!
The big disappointment in all of this is how the Manila Bay forts (other than Corregidor) were given too much importance by Army planners. The men and artillery pieces that were tied up on these forts would have been put to so much better use at Abucay or in Marivieles.
They served a purpose, which was to deny the Manila Bay from the Japanese. I imagine the island forts were mutually supporting the way infantry machineguns are emplaced in a mutually supporting with interlocking fields of fire. There were not that many CA crewmembers to possibly make a difference in Abucay. And I'm not sure how they'd be of help in Mariveles, which was a rear echelon area.
The forts were too obsolete to be of much use in defending Manila Bay.
Had they been based in Mariveles they could have helped to block off the straight into Manila Bay between Bataan and Corregidor, or even perhaps pointed up the peninsula (they certainly would have been useful during the Battle of the Points)
War Plan Orange planners simply, in my opinion, were fighting World War One all over again in their emphasis on fortress style artillery.
A couple of factors to consider about a Mariveles battery:
1. The north channel is only 2-3 miles wide. It's already very well covered by the Corregidor batteries. The south channel is quite bigger and Fort Drum was put in place to prevent enemy ships from hugging the Cavite coastline and sneaking into the bay.
2. Mariveles is dominated by the Mariveles mountain. There is no field of fire up north unless the battery is the huge mortars like those in batteries Geary and Way in Corregidor. Incidentally, Geary's mortars were able to help out at Longoskawayan point. The other points were too far north for its range. So yes, if they had a mortar battery in Mariveles, it could have helped at the points. It would have also fallen prematurely along with Bataan though.
Just my 2 cents.
I understand the shortcomings of geography, however I am still set that those men stuck on a concrete block in the middle of the bay might have been better used elsewhere.
It would have done them a lot of good if they had been anti-aircraft units stationed in Bataan instead. They'd have given the Japanese planes something to watch out for.
AA units would have been of help on Bataan. However with the level of air supremacy the Japanese enjoyed, especially by February 1942, and given the dense vegetation on much of Bataan which rendered ground attack difficult by Japanese aircraft, I think the AA guns would have ended up being used horizontally to attack Japanese infantry.
By the time our troops had to pull back into Bataan things had been screwed up to a point that the ultimate collapse was inevitable short of reinforcement.
I just finished writing the rough draft of my undergraduate thesis, the subject being the Development of War Plan Orange and the role of the Philippines therein from 1900 to 1942
I thought I saw a book at Borders that was titled "War Plan Orange". It's probably a main stay in your thesis list of references. Good luck with the defense.
There were 3 flak batteries on Bataan located around the key airfields there. The batteries were armed with 3-inch, 75 caliber guns, a few 37mm AA plus their normal compliment of .50 and .30 caliber machineguns. They had been sent there from Corregidor right after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Re: the fortified islands of Manila Bay. They performed the task for which they were designed and much more. During the siege of Bataan of 1941-42, the Japanese Navy never risked forcing their way into Manila Bay because they would have suffered major losses and severe damage to any of their ships that attempted to do so. During the Battle of the Points, when the Japanese attempted to land troops behind the Fil-American lines, the mortars and guns of the fortified islands roared out their resistance and were extremely effective in limiting the depth of their incursions away from their beach heads. Even during the Japanese invasion of Corregidor, the guns of Fort Drum and the other fortified islands blasted the tail of Corregidor and caused heavy casualties to the invaders. The 14" guns of Fort Drum and Corregidor's mortar Battery Way were firing until within minutes of the US Surrender