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Friendly fire from Corregidor to Bataan

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#1 Falcon Jun

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 10:47 AM

I found some info involving the Bataan Death March and Bataan when I visited Corregidor last Friday.

According to the historical guides on the island, the guns of Corregidor had inadvertently fired on the POWs of the Bataan Death March, causing some casualties.
This was documented, they claimed. Unfortunately, since I was only on a day tour, I lacked the time to look at the records on the island. They also mentioned that it was the British that first released this story while the Americans hushed it up.

As an aside, I bumped into a Japanese tourist who visited the island. On board the ferry, we discussed the Death March before I met the island's historical guides. According to the tourist, he was told that the Death March was a military necessity. It was a gruesome thing to do, he admitted but the Japanese had to use the prisoners as a human shield to force Corregidor to stop shelling Japanese positions and supply routes. The supply routes, he added, was partly the same route the prisoners took.

I don't know but this seems a coincidence. At first glance, it seems there might be something to the claim of friendly fire. It looks logical and plausible. Anybody else who has heard of this claim? It is a fact that some of the guns of Corregidor were still firing at Bataan when the troops in the peninsula surrendered.
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#2 Slipdigit

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 01:35 PM

According to the tourist, he was told that the Death March was a military necessity. It was a gruesome thing to do, he admitted but the Japanese had to use the prisoners as a human shield to force Corregidor to stop shelling Japanese positions and supply routes.

Sounds like a lame excuse to me, an attempt to justify what they did.

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#3 Falcon Jun

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 11:16 AM

I agree that it looks like a lame excuse.

I am just the messenger. Please don't shoot the messenger. I just relayed what I was told. I am down on my knees begging for mercy . . . I'll just make sure I'm far away from that hole. There might be crazy Spartans looking to get a good kick out of lil old me.

#4 mac_bolan00

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 10:44 AM

when i was a kid, i remember some accounts by death march survivors. it was the individual atrocities that happened along the way. they tracked the original route of the march and they were laughing and drinking all the way.

but militarily, it was a necessity. the japanese expected less than 30,000 POWs after the fall of bataan. but when they did surrender, it turned out there were more than 80,000. so the commander in bataan had a nice logistic problem. the only POW camp big enough was in capas, tarlac. to get there, one had to ride a train and the nearest arm of the line was in san fernando, pampanga. that's at least 110 kilometers from where they were.

the choices were, process them in bataan and probably end up with 80,000 prisoners dead of starvation and exposure (plus several hundred of your own soldiers dead of the same cause,) or force march them to the nearest rail bend. the japanese chose the latter, and there was urgency in their task. you'd expect a lot of one-sided bayonet action along the way, under the hot summer sun.

#5 Tomcat

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 10:50 AM

There might be crazy Spartans looking to get a good kick out of lil old me.


Spartans:confused:

Were they in world war 2>:D
For want of a nail the shoe was lost, for the want of a shoe the horse was lost, for the want of a horse the rider was lost, for the want of a rider the battle was lost, For want of a battle the kingdom was lost, and all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Robert,


#6 Falcon Jun

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 11:06 AM

Spartans:confused:

Were they in world war 2>:D

LOL. Sorry, I wrote that just after beating the deadline crunch. I guess that also came from watching the lampoon version thrice.

To Mac,
That, I think, was the situation in the Japanese view. Still, being told that the few guns firing from Corregidor had inadvertently caused some casualties at the beginning of the Death March is intriguing so I wonder if anyone has also heard of this in one form or other?

#7 mac_bolan00

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 11:17 AM

not on my side. we have to get some philippine maps. wait...

ok, it started in mariveles, which was the japanese jump-off point for attacking correigidor in manila bay. that alone would have explained it. but the time frames are still confusing.


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#8 Falcon Jun

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 11:43 AM

I'm looking for my copy of the "Wainwright Papers". It holds a record of the activities of the various gun batteries on Corregidor. It's the closest thing I could think of ever getting close to satisfying my interest in this intriguing matter.
As to the time frame, Corregidor didn't surrender until May so its guns were still firing at selected targets during and after the surrender of Bataan. As to the range, Mariveles is, as shown in your map, within the theoretical range of the gun battery nearest to Bataan.

#9 mikebatzel

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 03:01 PM

Interesting stuff Falcon. Thanks for posting it.

Sounds like a lame excuse to me, an attempt to justify what they did.

Yep, Just an excuss. At least that was one Japanese person who knew of the death march
Please give the Combined Fleet the chance to bloom as flowers of death. This is the navy’s earnest request. RADM Tasuku Nakazawa prior to the Battle of Leyte Gulf
It is the function of the Navy to carry the war to the enemy so that it will not be fought on U.S. soil. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

#10 Mussolini

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 03:06 PM

Well, to be fair, think of it like this. Supplies come by rail and take the easiest, direct route to the troops. The wounded are moved along these same supply lines, so why wouldn't the POWs? If a route is already established, why not use it? It would not make sense to find an alternative through the jungle when there is already a pre-existing route used by the wounded/supplies.

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#11 Falcon Jun

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 06:42 AM

Well, to be fair, think of it like this. Supplies come by rail and take the easiest, direct route to the troops. The wounded are moved along these same supply lines, so why wouldn't the POWs? If a route is already established, why not use it? It would not make sense to find an alternative through the jungle when there is already a pre-existing route used by the wounded/supplies.


That's what I thought too. That's why I just can't dismiss the claim that friendly fire did hit prisoners of the Death March. Once an area is preregistered for artillery fire, all that has to be done is to fire the artillery piece and the shell goes to that general area.

#12 John Dudek

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 03:52 AM

I found some info involving the Bataan Death March and Bataan when I visited Corregidor last Friday.

According to the historical guides on the island, the guns of Corregidor had inadvertently fired on the POWs of the Bataan Death March, causing some casualties.
This was documented, they claimed. Unfortunately, since I was only on a day tour, I lacked the time to look at the records on the island. They also mentioned that it was the British that first released this story while the Americans hushed it up.

As an aside, I bumped into a Japanese tourist who visited the island. On board the ferry, we discussed the Death March before I met the island's historical guides. According to the tourist, he was told that the Death March was a military necessity. It was a gruesome thing to do, he admitted but the Japanese had to use the prisoners as a human shield to force Corregidor to stop shelling Japanese positions and supply routes. The supply routes, he added, was partly the same route the prisoners took.

I don't know but this seems a coincidence. At first glance, it seems there might be something to the claim of friendly fire. It looks logical and plausible. Anybody else who has heard of this claim? It is a fact that some of the guns of Corregidor were still firing at Bataan when the troops in the peninsula surrendered.


Most of the long range, 12-inch mortars and guns firing from Corregidor were still able to hit targets on Bataan, especially after the Japanese chose to set up their gun batteries immediately next to the still-full, American Field Hospitals, full of wounded soldiers and other outlawed, neutral positions. Corregidor's gun batteries were surprisingly accurate until the final days of the siege and we have Colonel Paul Bunker to thank for that. The Coastal Artillery Boys of the Fortified Islands of Manila Bay exacted a heavy toll of the Japanese invaders.

#13 AnywhereAnytime

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 06:59 PM

If I remember correctly, this book has some veterans' recollections of having to dodge counter-battery shell fire from Corregidor. They may be the tail-end of the marchers.

We Remember Bataan and Corregidor
by Col. Mariano Villarin

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#14 Falcon Jun

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 07:18 AM

Thanks for the info. Now all I have to do is get my hands on that book.

#15 clems

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Posted 19 April 2008 - 03:07 PM

And where they friendly fires from Bataan to Corregidor in attempt to murder MacArthur ?
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#16 John Dudek

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 01:30 AM

Uh, no. MacArthur had already been recalled to Australia by that time.

#17 AnywhereAnytime

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Posted 04 May 2008 - 10:44 PM

I just came across a mention of American casualties to due to counter battery fire from Corregidor in the Surviving Bataan and Beyond:

Amazon.com: Surviving Bataan And Beyond: Colonel Irvin Alexander's Odyssey As A Japanese Prisoner Of War (Stackpole Military History Series): Dominic J. Caraccilo: Books

#18 Falcon Jun

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Posted 05 May 2008 - 06:15 AM

Thanks for posting info on this book. It's just amazing how we can find tidbits of information just by asking a simple question.

#19 AnywhereAnytime

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Posted 12 May 2008 - 07:00 PM

Here's a first hand account of friendly fire from Corregidor by the late Maj. Richard M. Gordon:

HistoryNet - From the World’s Largest History Magazine Publisher » World War II: Interview with Major Richard M. Gordon — Bataan Death March Survivor

#20 Falcon Jun

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Posted 13 May 2008 - 06:39 AM

Thanks for sharing what you found. His tale is a very touching account. It also confirms what the Japanese told me in Corregidor that the prisoners were used as human shields.

#21 tferedo

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Posted 20 July 2008 - 12:55 AM

I found some info involving the Bataan Death March and Bataan when I visited Corregidor last Friday.

According to the historical guides on the island, the guns of Corregidor had inadvertently fired on the POWs of the Bataan Death March, causing some casualties.
This was documented, they claimed. Unfortunately, since I was only on a day tour, I lacked the time to look at the records on the island. They also mentioned that it was the British that first released this story while the Americans hushed it up.

As an aside, I bumped into a Japanese tourist who visited the island. On board the ferry, we discussed the Death March before I met the island's historical guides. According to the tourist, he was told that the Death March was a military necessity. It was a gruesome thing to do, he admitted but the Japanese had to use the prisoners as a human shield to force Corregidor to stop shelling Japanese positions and supply routes. The supply routes, he added, was partly the same route the prisoners took.

I don't know but this seems a coincidence. At first glance, it seems there might be something to the claim of friendly fire. It looks logical and plausible. Anybody else who has heard of this claim? It is a fact that some of the guns of Corregidor were still firing at Bataan when the troops in the peninsula surrendered.


Hi Jun,

There was never an official "friendly fire" incident from Corregidor to Bataan. When Bataan surrendered on April 9, there were strict orders from USAFFE forbidding counter battery fire from Corregidor againsts Japanese positions in Bataan for fear of hitting surrendering US and Filipino forces. There was incident while the surrender was still taking place when the Japanese tried emplaced some of their light field artillery from the shores of the peninsula and tried to shell the beach defenses. They were immediately placed under counter battery fire from 75mm and 155mm abd silenced. From them USAFFE held any counter battery until such time that gunners from Corregidor could have identified and confirmed targets. It was only April 12, 1942 that an official order was handed down to fire againsts Japanese positions in Bataan.

Note the most effective counter battery fire to Bataan other than the 12-inch mortars of Batteries Geary and Way were the roving batteries of 155mm guns which were manned by Philippine Scouts. Batteries Hearn and Smith ( 12-inch M895A2 guns each on 1917 BC) ceased firing after the night of April 8-9. Battery Grubbs (2 - 10-inch DC guuns) was silenced on April 16 and Battery Morrison ( 2 - 6-inch DC guns were aslo rendered silenced) by Japanese artillery fire from Bataan.

Regards,
Tony

#22 Falcon Jun

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 08:39 AM

Hmmm, it's true that most of Corregidor's gun batteries were useless because they were mainly sighted to fire out to sea. Only a few batteries, namely the ones you mentioned, could fire into Bataan.
You're also right in mentioning that there are no official report of such a thing. However, word of mouth and tales from veterans persist that casualties from friendly fire from Corregidor's guns happened.

#23 John Dudek

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Posted 27 July 2008 - 05:04 AM

It should come as no great surprise to anyone that the Japanese would deliberately choose to locate their artillery batteries directed against the US Fortified Islands of Manila Bay up close to neutral American Hospitals on Bataan, still filled with wounded Filippino-American troops.

#24 Falcon Jun

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Posted 04 September 2010 - 01:56 PM

Found more accounts of this in the book "Crisis in the Pacific, the Battles for the Philippine Islands Bythe Men Who Fought Them" written by Gerald Astor, Dell, 2002.
The book is written in the style of Cornelius Ryan but there are some parts of the book I feel that the author was misinformed.
That's about it,
Fil

#25 R Leonard

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 01:13 AM

Be very wary of Astor, from what I've seen of his work he was not very good at vetting his stories.

Rich
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