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Date: 20.10.2017

A Battle for a Bottle (1942)

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The American-Filipino military force under the command of General Douglas MacArthur was forced onto the Bataan peninsula, where they carried out a delaying action. The Japanese knew that with enough force, they could take American- and Filipino-occupied Corregidor, a small rock-strewn island south of Bataan.

Like the stopper of a bottle, control of Corregidor meant control of the bay. Often called the Gibralter of Asia, Corregidor became the headquarters of the Allied forces and also the seat of the Philippine Commonwealth government. Wainwright in overall command. A bomber attack did little damage because the occupants had been on alert and their antiaircraft defenses were on stand-by. With that lack of success, Japanese commanding general Masaharu Homma ordered at least one more week of bombing.

Now that the Japanese pilots were familiar with their target, they managed to inflict much more damage to the artillery and soldiers on the ground.

Battle of Corregidor

The attacks caused extensive damage to the above-ground barracks and supply depots. Those attacks continued until January 6, when the main focus of the Japanese onslaught turned to the Bataan Peninsula. Because Bataan received so much attention, it temporarily eased the attacks on Corregidor, allowing the garrison to re-supply and defend the island with much more effect. It was not until early February that Japanese artillery opened fire on Corregidor.

All of the fortifications sustained damage and part of the Malinta Tunnel on the island was breached, killing 28 men. The bombing also continued and the Japanese increased the amount they were firing on three nearby island forts. The enemy had experience with island warfare and had camouflaged his guns, making it nearly impossible for the Americans to aim at any targets. The attacks on Corregidor were then occurring so often that the soldiers cherished every moment when there was a break in the shelling.

The men had a very hard time keeping their spirits up, especially in the Malinta Tunnel, where the lack of space could drive a man insane. The Japanese continued to hit Corregidor even harder after the fall of Bataan. Every movement that the Americans and Filipinos made was immediately spotted and fired upon heavily. From that time on, it continued daily.

On May 5, they began their approach to the shores of Corregidor.

They miscalculated which direction the wind and tide would take them, and ended up far from their intended landing area. The Americans gave them hell by firing their rifles, machine guns, and when they got close, delivering point-blank artillery fire. That was, however, only the first wave of Japanese; they had shipped many more men to take over the base. The Americans tried desperately to counterattack, but when Japanese tanks entered the fray, their fate became apparent.

On May 6 at noon, Wainwright made the decision to surrender Corregidor, because of the lack of supplies and the losing battle. Bleakly, the American flag was lowered and replaced with a white flag. He made sure to radio General Sharp of the Visayan-Mindanao Force to let him know he was releasing command of the Visayas and Mindanao islands to him.

That made it possible for Wainwright to surrender only Corregidor. That way, the resistance could continue in the south. The surrender signaled the beginning of the end of organized resistance to the Japanese in the Philippines.

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Wainwright tried to explain to him that he only had control over Corregidor, but Homma did not believe him and wanted to take control over all of the islands. On May 7, Wainwright signed the surrender agreement, and the next day he was brought to a radio station to inform all of the troops in the area. The commanders on Visayas and Mindanao were not sure if the orders were genuine and debated over the orders for many hours. They eventually decided that the orders were not valid and ordered their men to begin guerrilla attacks against the Japanese.

Wainwright had to send letters to all the organized forces in the area to let them know that his surrender was for real.

The letter stated that they had to surrender or the current prisoners of war would be tortured. Some Americans did not believe that the orders were real, but they had no other choice than to follow them.

General Sharp and virtually all of the American commanders in the Visayas decided to follow the orders after receiving the letter from Wainwright. Even after so many officers and men had surrendered, some did not want to give up, and remained behind to fight.

The Japanese eventually called off their attacks and were satisfied with their current count of prisoners of war. The Corregidor garrison did not participate in the Death March. They were taken to Manilla where they were put on parade, and then by train to Prison Camp Cabanatuan in the Philippines.

On June 9, all organized resistance in the Philippines officially ended. The Japanese began to invade the islands to the south that had not yet seen any action, and guerilla warfare against them began when organized resistance ended.

On January 22, , Corregidor was again exposed to the wrath of combat as Americans reoccupied the island following a costly airborne assault. Off-site search results for "Battle of Corregidor" May 5, - May 6, Location: Corregidor island in Manila Bay