The entense enemy activity of the week preceding the fateful night of May 5, 1942, presaged a “Big push” at an early date, and the moon was right for a night attempt, being on the wane-and rising about ll 390 pm.
So when the enemy artillery preparations for the attack began about 8300 pm,’ that night, the thought in every mind and the question on every lip was, “Is this it?” !
The personnel of the battery was in high spirits. Jhat afternoon we had engaged a flight of nine enemy heavy bombers with “Boston” and “Hartford”. He fired one string and suspended fire as the flight turned. ‘he bursts of all batteries appeared to be good. We resumed fire aS Soom as the flight straightened out on its course and continued as long as it was in renge. Our bursts obscured the target. ‘hey were the last bursts fired. “Shortly afterwards the 44 Gua Defense Command announced that ome plane had been seen to fall out of formation and disappeared at sea. Naturally we attributed this plane to our battery as we had been the last in action, and we gloried in ow success.
The men were now scattered about the emplacements lounging in the cool comfort of evening and discussing some mysterious lights wiich had been s een flashing at sea about 7:00 pm and listening with pleasure to the freight-train-like roar of 14″ shells from fort Frank passing directly over our heads at 4 low elevation, bidding revenge against the enemy on Bataan’. they were keeping
close to their fox holes, as experience had taught them the dire necessity for
it, particularly during our artillery action. About 8:00 pm we heard the
guns on Bataan open up with the rapidity of machine gune fire. A shout of alarm
was sounded, end everyone dived for cover to wait for the bursts to determine
where the barrage was laid. “oon we had our answer-Kindley ‘ield and “ottomide.
We heaved a sigh of relief, and I sat on the edge of my command post pit listen-
ing to the rumble of the artillery. It was thrilling in its ferocity. suddenly
Without warning there was a blinding
(35) : ee
flash and a roa as a large caliber shell, presumably a 240 mm, exploded about
100 yards away. At irregular intervals during the bombardment, these large
shells landed about the Golf course and our position, mamy being duds which shook
nerves with their ground-jarring thumps. About 10:15 pm after two duds had
landed in rapid succession om the upper part of the Golf course, shouts, sounds
of running feet, and then curses as men hit barbed wire entanglements in the
dart were heard from the machine gunners manning the anti-paratroop machine
guns in that area. Soon the two gunners fell gasping into my pit and request-
ed permission to remaine “hen they caught their breath, I got their story.
Ond dud had passed through a tree over their heads and landed a few feet
just behind their pit. ‘+he other landed just in front of the pit. Brave
men can stand only so much. I had seen these Same two Men only a few
days-earlier laugh as they picked bomb fragments from their position and
repaired their machimgun and a rifle which had been damaged in their small
emplacement while they took shelter there. Now their nerves were gone; I
gave my permission for them to remsin With me.
Sometime around 10:00 pm (time is so meaningless and interminable
when you are pinned to the ground by artillery fire we heard the first
staccato rattle of machine gun from Kindley field and the artillery began
to slack off. We guessed then that the”big push”was One Soon reports over
our “flash” line verified this. About 11:00 pm the AA Gun Defense Commander
called me in person and confirmed these reports. He said that the battery
should be prepared to move as infantry reserves on call, meanwhile our prev-
ious mission would remain unchanged. ‘The necessary orders were issued and the
preparations promptly completed. Personnel was enthusiastic over the poss-
ibility of a chance to meet the enemy in close combate