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  Battery Geary 
U. S. Army

Click For Enlargement
Dan Lantzy 1988

Location
Located in defiladed hollow on the southern coast of Corregidor Island in the Philippines.

Construction
Built by the US Army. Construction commenced during 1907 and was completed by 1911 at a cost of $145,198. Named in honor of Captain Woodridge Geary, a casualty during the US-Philippine War of 1899. This mortar battery included eight 12" (305mm) mortars, four M1890 M1 mortars on M1896M1 carriages in Pit A and four M1890 mortars on M1908 carriages in Pit B. These could fire a 1000 lbs armor piercing (AP) shell or 700 lbs High Explosive (HE) shell roughly 8.3 miles in any direction.

Wartime Usage
During 1942, Battery Geary was manned by the 59th Coastal Artillery under the command of Captain Ben King, and later under Captain John W. Davis III.

On January 6, 1942, a Japanese bomb collapsed an incomplete shelter nearby killing 31 and wounding others.

On January 26, 1942 in what was the first use of large caliber sea coast American artillery against an enemy since the US Civil War, Battery Geary commenced firing at Japanese position on the Bataan Peninsula. Firing for four days, Battery Geary was instrumental in defeating a Japanese landing at Longoskawayan Point on Bataan.

On April 12, 1942, Battery Geary opened counter battery fire against the Japanese artillery on Bataan, enjoying immunity from return fire because it was in a defiladed hollow and invisible to the Japanese observers until Japanese aerial reconnaissance located the battery.

During the morning of May 2, 1942, the Japanese opened fire with a 2,600 round barrage against Battery Geary. During the afternoon, commander Captain Davis, observed Japanese 240mm shells bracketing their position and and ordered his men to take cover in the far right magazine. At 16:27 hours, a 240mm round penetrated the center magazine, detonating a massive explosion of 40 tons of explosives that utterly destroyed the battery.

The explosion created a large crater where the magazine was located. Large pieces of concrete and munitions were hurled as far as a mile away, killing another two and wounding thirty-one others elsewhere. The force of the explosion hurled one of the 10 ton barrels over 150 yards on to the nearby golf course.

Today
During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, 1942-1945 one of the mortar barrels was removed. During the February 1945 liberation of Manila, a photograph of US troops crossing to the west side of the Pasig River shows a mortar barrel laying on the bank. This suggests that the Japanese were in the process of transporting the mortar barrels elsewhere to melt them for scrap metal.

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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