As the night wore on the machine gun fire slacked off, and after 1:50 pm only an occassional bursts was heard. The battery turned in to get what little sleep was possible. Most of the men slept fittfully in their foxholes, fearing to sleep above ground because of the danger of a sudden artillery barrage over our area.
We were aroused about 4:30 am by the sound of mortar fire from Batteries Way and Craighill. From the battlefield came the crackle of rifle fire. We breakfasted on our emergence rations and prepared for action. Action came at about 5:00 or 5:15 am when the enemy commenced on aerial attack on Kindley Field. It was still so dark that the observers had difficulty in locating the planes, However, as many flights were taken under fire as possible. “Boston” was also in action and alternated with us in engaging flights. The two-batteries succeeded in breaking up several formations and diverting them from their missions. We believe that we brought dow two out of five planes in one formation and possibly one out of another formation. However, we were not able to get confirmation of this due to the lack of communications.
On several flights we were unable to pick up the planes With our height finder due to the fact that the instrument was dug-in for protection against shelling and bombing and dot emplaced for enployment against dive bombers at extremely low altitudes. On these flights we fired with estimated altitudes, and with remarkable success for the most part. In one formation, though, we almost met with disaster. A flight of six enemy seaplanes approached from the west. We opened fire with an estimated altitude, which apparently was in considerable error due to the new type of plane encountered and our fire ineffective. The planes spotted our position from the dust and smoke of firings the flight turned south, and the planes peeled off on us one at a time, coming down in an almost vertical dive, as compared with the shallow swooping dive of the other dive bombers. I watched the bomb separate from the leading plane and coming closer and closer. I rose in my pit and watched the bomb disappear over the cliff and hit in Geary Trail less than 75 yards south of the battery emplacements.
Bombs from the other planes struck almost at the same point. In the meantime the battery 50 AA machineguns Were having afield day. ‘he gunners fired on each of the plames as they came down in rapid succession. Two aircooled guns became so hot that they jammed, and we were never able to get them to fire again.
At about 8:15 AM looking down the road I saw two men approaching. I recognized the two as Staff Sergeant Huffman and Private Beasor from the organization and who had been in Malinta Hospital. Sergeant Huffman reported to me with the remark, “Well, Captain, I thought the battery might have to go out as infantry and I knew the Battery Commander would need all the old heads he had with these recruits, so I came back. Besides I want to try out my new M1 rifle. He had braved on artillery barrage at Bottomside and divebombers near Middleside to return to his organization, and he with a piece of shrapnel through his right arm and with a weak left wrist, so that he was unable to fire either rifle or pistol. However, Staff Sergeant Huffman had had some notoriety as a fighter in garrison before the war.
We continued to engage the enemy in the air at every opportunity. about 9:30 am the Gun Commander of number 3 gun reported his gun out of action with a broken equilibrator. After an examination of the piece, l decided that it could be fired with only a little difficulty in elevating and ordered it back into service where it continued to function as long as required. Our last course was fired a few minutes before 11:00 am.
At about 10:45 am the AA Gun Defense Commander called me and said that he had refused an order to lower the national colors and that he, personally, preferred to continue to fight until engaged and defeated by the enemy at topside in hand to hand battle. I agreed; and I believe that this fighting spirit dominated all the officers and men of the Sixtieth Coast Artillery to the end.
Later I was warned to be prepared to destroy all equipment on receipt of orders. At 11300 am I was told that the garrison battle flag would be lowered (by another commander; Col Sunker, Seuward Defense Comir has been designated) at 12300 and that I should execute the destruction of materiel. Immediately transmitted this information and order to the battery. The disappointment of every man at our defeat was obvious. However, everyone turned to execute this final order with all the vigor and enthusiasm with which they were accostumed to executing my orders.
The destruction of materiel, equipment, and supplies was as complete as time and circumstance would permit. The guns were fired after the recoil mechanisms had been severely damaged by armor piercing rifle fire, and the
fuze cutters and data transmission systems chopped and beat up with axes The director end height finder were as completely destroyed as delicate instruments may be with rifle and pistol fire and with pick axes, machine guns end small arms were dismantled and parts damaged and scattered. Small equipment, supplies, small arms ammunition, and personal equipment, except that to be carried by individuals, were burned. The small amount of
3″ ammunition remaining after the prolonged activity of the morning was left undamaged due to lack of time and the fact that personnel was to remain in the vicinity.
A few minutes before noon from our position we witnessed the lowering of our battle flag and the hoisting of a white flag of truce. The end of the battle had come.
We ate a disconsolate lunch of our emergency rations, and prepared our field bags and rolls to take with us into the unknown future. Our last instructions had been to remain in the vicinity until further information was received, So we disposed ourselves as comfortably as possible near our fox holes and pits. During the afternoon the enemy continued to dive bomb various installations and areas on Topside, coming lower and lower as they gradually lost their fear of positions which no longer fought back. Several sticks of bombs struck the upper edge of the Golf Course and the officers quarters above. Not desiring to expose defenseless men to needless danger I requested, and was granted, permission to evacuate the area and go to Wheeler Tunnel for shelter. The last man left the emplacement at approximately 3:00 pm. We spent sometime in the tunnel and then went on to the Battery Cheney emplacements where we spent the night. We were aroused at 4:00 next morning and proceeded to Bottomsided where we placed ourselves in the hands of the enemy.