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    Fort Drum Cavite Luzon Philippines
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Prewar

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43rd BG, 64h BS
January 27, 1945

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USAF April 12, 1945

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US Army April 13, 1945

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US Army 1945

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Dan Lantzy 1987

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AirPirates 1991

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Justin Taylan 2004

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Tony Feredo 2006

Location
Fort Drum is located on El Fraile Island in Manila Bay.

Construction
During April 1909 the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction of a fortification began on El Fraile Island. Named "Fort Drum" in honor of U. S. Army Brigadier General Richard C. Drum who died on October 15, 1909 while the fort was under construction. During the construction, El Fraile Island was leveled. The fort was completed during 190 and included several gun batteries with 14" guns designed specifically for the fortress, anti-aircraft guns and seven generators to provide electricity. As the finished fort was shaped like a warship, the island was dubbed "the concrete battleship".

During 1941, prior to the start of the Pacific War, the garrison was increased to 200 men, commanded by Lt. Col. Lewis S. Kirkpatrick and Captain Samuel Madison in charge of the batteries. By the summer of 1941, Fort Drum was ready for action.

Wartime History
At the start of the Pacific War when the Japanese attacked Luzon, Japanese aircraft bombed the fort, but warships kept their distance. On January 2, 1942 was the first heavy bombing. On February 6, 1942 heavy bombardment commenced

On February 6, 1942 the Japanese commenced another heavy bombardment. The fire control tower was knocker down as it was perceived to be an aiming point. On March 15, 16 and 21 were more heavy bombardments but the 14" guns were not disabled.

On May 5, 1942 during the Japanese landing on Corregidor, Fort Drum's gun batteries fired over 100 rounds at the the landing barges and assembly area. The garrison was informed of the the upcoming surrender, they were willing to continue fighting, but lack enough food and supplies. On May 6, 1942 when the garrison on Corregidor surrendered, Fort Drum also surrendered at 11:40am. Before surrendering, the powder stores were watered down with seawater and the guns and generators were damaged.

During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, Fort Drum was never repaired and lightly garrisoned. Lewis S. Kirkpatrick died as a Prisoner Of War (POW). By February 1945 Fort Drum was defended by 65 Japanese Navy personnel, survivors from Battleship Musashi. In late February 1945, a US Navy PT Boat docked at the fort and sent a shore party aboard that was fired on, killing one and wounding another from the crew. After the U. S. Army liberated both Corregidor and Caballo, they focused on Fort Drum. During April 1945 bombarded by USS Phoenix CL-46 and and aerial bombing commenced.

Japanese and American missions against Fort Drum (El Fraile)
January 2, 1942 - March 6, 1945

On April 13, 1945 at 10:00am LCM 503 landed the U. S Army 151st Infantry Regiment, F Company plus a platoon of demolition men from 113th Engineers B Company onto the top of Fort Drum. After securing the top, a pipe from LCM 503 pumped 3,000 gallons of diesel oil into the fort and explosive charges were set with a thirty minute fuse. When the charges detonated, it seemed to have no effect until the fort's magazine ignited causing a huge explosion that burned for several days. Two weeks later, another force landed to examine Fort Drum without opposition.

Today
Abandoned since the war, most of the scrap metal inside had been removed in the 1970s by people seeking scrap metal. The two 14" guns remain in their turrets.

Battery Marshall
Lower battery on the bow. Two 14" M1909 guns in an enclosed casement

Battery Wilson
Upper battery on the bow. Two 14" M1909 guns in an enclosed casement .
No. 2 (right) gun barrel broke off after a direct hit from a 2,000 lbs bomb on January 27, 1945.

Battery Roberts
Port side of the island, emplaced two 6" M1908MI guns in M1920 carriages, in a double level casemate. Exposed to direct shelling by the Japanese in 1942, and hit in 1945, destroying the lower gun.

Battery McCrea
Starboard side of the island, emplaced two 6" M1908MI guns in M1920 carriages, in a double level casemate. The demolition charge detonated on April 13, 1945 at 10:00am blew off a portion of the casemate. This metal slab landed on top of the fort.

References
Engineers of the Southwest Pacific, 1941-45, Volume 4 pages 562-563, 565, 568, 567 (photos), 569, 753-754 (index), 739 (index), 762 (index)
The Concrete Battleship: Fort Drum El Fraile Island Manila Bay, by Francis Allen 1988.
ConcreteBattleship.org

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Last Updated
January 11, 2018

 

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