During World War II, Corregidor was the site of two costly sieges and pitched battles—the first during the first months of 1942, and the second in January 1945 — between the Imperial Japanese Army and the U.S. Army, along with its smaller subsidiary force, the Philippine Army.
During the Battle of the Philippines (1941–42), the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Luzon from the north in early 1942 and attacked Manila from its landward side. American and Filipino troops under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, retreated to the Bataan Peninsula, west of Manila Bay. The fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942, ended all organized opposition by the U.S. Armed Forces in the Far East and gave way to the invading Japanese forces in Luzon in the northern Philippines. They were forced to surrender due to the lack of food and ammunition, leaving Corregidor and its adjacent islets at Manila Bay as the only areas in the region under U.S. control.
American and Filipino soldiers on Corregidor and the neighboring islets held out against the Japanese to deny the use of Manila Bay, but the Imperial Japanese Army brought heavy artillery to the southern end of Bataan, and proceeded north to blockade Corregidor. Japanese troops forced the surrender of the remaining American and Filipino forces on May 6, 1942, under the command of Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright.
The battle for the recapture of Corregidor occurred from February 16 to 26, 1945, in which American and Filipino forces successfully recaptured the island fortress from the Japanese occupying forces.
Corregidor: The Rock Map
This map and action can be found in Bounding Fire Production’s Advanced Squad Leader module: Corregidor: The Rock.
The Battle of Corregidor (1945)
The Battle for the Recapture of Corregidor, which occurred from the 16th to the 26th of February, 1945, pitted American forces against the defending Japanese garrison on the island fortress. The Japanese had captured the bastion from the United States Army Forces in the Far East during their 1942 invasion.
The retaking of the island, officially named Fort Mills, along with the bloody Battle of Manila and the earlier Battle of Bataan, marked the redemption of the American and Filipino surrender on 6 May 1942 and the subsequent fall of the Philippines.
The surrender of Corregidor in 1942 and the ensuing fate of its 11,000 American and Filipino defenders led to a particular sense of moral purpose in General Douglas MacArthur, and as shown in the subsequent campaigns for the liberation of the Philippine archipelago, he showed no hesitation in committing the bulk of US and Philippine forces under his command. To the American soldier, Corregidor was more than a military objective; long before the campaign to recapture it, the Rock had become an important symbol in United States history as the last Pacific outpost of any size to fall to the enemy in the early stages of the Pacific War.
Strategy for Recapture
Corregidor in 1945 — though it lacked in importance to the defensive strategy of the Japanese that it previously had held for the Americans in early 1942 — remained a formidable sentinel to the entrance to Manila Bay. Consequently, American planners thought it merited a separate attack.
MacArthur’s strategy was to make a combined amphibious and airborne assault — among the most difficult of all modern military maneuvers—to retake the island. Although this particular plan of action had been used to good effect during the Luzon landings, the airborne phase was risky. As small as it was, at just over five square miles, the tadpole-shaped island made a difficult target for a parachute drop.
Complicating the strategy, was that the paratroopers were required to land on a hill known as ‘Topside’, the island’s foremost dominant terrain feature. MacArthur’s staff balked at the proposal, but on the other hand, there was little choice. From ‘Topside’, the Japanese could dominate all possible amphibious landing sites. The American premise was that the Japanese would certainly not expect an airborne landing on such an unlikely target.
The role of recapturing the Rock went to the 503rd Parachute Regimental Combat Team (503rd PRCT) of Lieutenant Colonel George M. Jones and elements of Major General Roscoe B. Woodruff’s 24th Infantry Division, the same units which undertook the capture of Mindoro island. The 503rd PRCT included the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, Co. C, 161st Airborne Engineer Battalion and elements of the 462nd Parachute Field Artillery Battalion with 75 mm pack howitzers. They were airlifted by C-47 aircraft of the 317th Troop Carrier Group. The amphibious assault was by the reinforced 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, carried by Landing Craft Mechanized (LCMs) of the 592nd Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment.
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ASL Map Spotlights are meant to be quick history lessons on available historical Advanced Squad Leader actions. These short articles are meant to highlight both a short history of the battle portrayed for players unfamiliar with the setting, as well as show the ASL map on which it plays out.Citation: —. “Corregidor.” Wikipedia, 11 Nov. 2022, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corregidor.
Citation: —. “Battle of Corregidor (1945).” Wikipedia, 28 Nov. 2022, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Corregidor_(1945).
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