Napoleonic Wars: Montmirail Champaign 1-10 February 1814 (Part 2)

As the morning of 10 February 1814 progressed, about midday Müffling’s ADC. Lieutenant Gerlach, rode in from Sacken’s headquarters. The General though the expulsion of the Cossacks from Sézanne of no significance and had gone on to La Ferté-sous-Jouarre. MacDonald, however, had out-distanced him and, destroying the bridges over the Seine at La Ferté-sous-Jouarre and Trilport, had retired to Meaux. Gerlach remarked that he had ridden through Champaubert at 11 0’clock that morning and all seemed quiet. Blücher sent peremptory ordereds to Yorck to go to Montmirail and himself set out to La Ferté-Champenoise where Kliest and Kapzevich were due to meet before going the 11 milies to Sézanne.

As he went, the dull thudding of cannon fire came from the north-west in the general direction of Champaubert and Baye. There was nothing headquarters could do except hope that if Olsufiev was in trouble he would take to the woods. Towards evening so fugitives straggled into La Fère-Champenoise with a story of disaster. Olsufiev had been captured and most of his men killed or taken prisoner. Blücher halted his advance on Sézanne. Kliest’s men had already marched a long way and the wild country round La Fére-Champenoise would give some protection against the powerful French cavalry. They bivouacked for the night. Blücher had with him about 13,000 men all told, including about 500 horse; some 4,000 of Kliest’s corps including most of his cavalry were still somewhere between Châlons and the Rhine.

In the morning Blücher marched on Bergèresm and camped; during the day he accumulated about 1,000 stragglers from Olsufiev’s unhappy detachment. Some 3,000 must have been either killed or captured. Blücher anticipated that now Napoleon would turn east and attack him. With virtually no cavalry he dared not advance to Montmirail; equally he dared not retreat to Châlons. If the French cavalry caught him in the plains surrounding that town he would be cut to pieces. He stayed in camp and waited for information none came. For the rest of the day and most of the 12th he remained at Bergères in ahideous state of uncertainty. On the 13th a letter arrived from Yorck saying simply that Sacken had driven MacDonald across the Marne at Trilport, then had marched back to find Napoleon across the road at Viels-Maisons. There the message ended. All remained quiet except that some 800 of Kliest’s cavalry rode in and some French were identified at Étoges. Blücher’s old impatience began once again to take charge. He advanced, drove the French out of Étoges and stopped at Champaubert, proposing to march to Montmirail next day.

Next morning Blücher had gone about four miles along the Montmirail road and was approaching Vauchamps when his advance guard ran into a strong enemy post and a cense cloud of cavalry, well supported by artillery, descended on his marching column. The Prussian cavalry, haplessly out numbered, were soon driven off. A Cossack captured an officer of the French Old Guard. The Frenchman told Blücher that he was in the presence of the Emperor himself. Sacken and Yorck were north of the Marne. Napoleon had just completed a night march from Château-Thierry in order to destroy him.

Blücher and his army were in mortal peril. His one chance was to retreat before the French infantry could catch him up. He put Kapzevich on the right of the road and Kleist on the left while the guns traveled down it, dropping in and out of action as they went. During the bleak, cold afternoon the two columns slowly progressed eastwards while the French cavalry with their shouts of “Vive l’Empereur!” came roaring down in charge after charge. Müffling, marching with Kleist and checking progress with his habitual thoroughness, became alarmed. The French cavalry might head the columns by a wooded defile near Étoges and the survivors be compelled to surrender. Blücher, fearlessly riding about encouraging his men, was moving with too measured a tread. Müffling sent a message suggesting it would be wise to hurry. The old man replied with his accustomed bluntness. “ If Kleist did not run so immoderately fast all would remain compact.‘ Müffling, noted that a regiment of French cuirassiers had cut in ahead of the advance guard, composed of of three raw Russian infantry battalions, and was preparing to charge. The Russian infantry halted quite steadily and allowed the cuirassiers to close in. Then on the word ‘FIRE!’, every man blasted off his musket in one stupendous vvolley. It was poorly aimed and few Frenchmen fell; fortunately the cuirassiers turned and trotted off for, with their muskets empty, the Russian infantry lay at their mercy. Müffling thought ‘this was the time to make these inexperienced soldiers believe they had done something heroic. I Hurrahed them loudly. They moved briskly on, their drums struck up a march and all the drums of the corps followed their beat.

The light began to fade from the heavy skies and the muddy ground either side of the road prevented the French from bringing up their guns. This probably saved Blücher from complete destruction; but passing through Étoges, the French cavalry under Grouchy moved a head of the Allied rear guard and charging down the narrow streets virtually annihilated them. Beyond Étoges Napoleon called off the prusuit and the weary, ravaged columns halted at their old camp at Bergère to restore some of their order. After a few hours’ rest they continued on to Châlons. Blücher had lost some 6,000 men.

When he arrived at Nogent on 7 February Napoleon discovered that MacDonald, heavily outnumbered by Yorck with some 18,000 men, had kept his own troops concentrated and left the roads to Paris by Montmirail and Sézanne completely unprotected. There was nothing to stop Bücher hammering at the gates of Paris. But Schwarzenberg had swung away to the south, and a sudden and sharp blow might be dealt to the impetuous Prussian. He ordered Marmont with 2,000 cavalry, 1,000 infantry and six guns to march that evening to Sézanne 20 miles away to the northeast. While probing Blücher’s dispositions on the Montmirail road, Marmont was to ensure the enemy knew nothing of what passed between Nogent and Sézanne.

At about 4 P.M. , while he was meditating over his next move, despatches arrived from the peace negotiators at Châtillon. Napoleon read them and blenched. With their armies less than 100 miles from Paris and no signs of a mass uprising by the French people, the Allies were prepared to offer nothing more than the borders to France as theyhad been in 1792; in the north these would exclude Antwerp and the Rhine. Berthier and his Foreign Minister, Maret, begged him to accept. He retired to his own room to ponder. At last he reappeared and passionately rejected the term. “ Never’, he cried. “Never will I leave France smaller than I found it.’ Baron Fain, his secretary, remarked that he again withdrew and threw himself upon his bed. If he did, it was not to repine. Already he was organizing his next move. He himself declared that he had a mind like desk full of drawers; when he wanted to examine one he pulled it out, then when he had finished with it he shut it away and pulled out another. When he wanted sleep, which was seldom, he shut all the drawers.

That night he worked late. He constituted a VII Corps made up of the 7th and 9th Divisions from Soult’s Army of Spain. He gave the command to Marshal Oudinot, recently recovered from typhus contracted in Germany, instructing him to watch the more westerly approaches to Paris. Pajol’s cavalry division at Sens and Allix’s infantry at Pont-sur-Yonne were to come under him. He was to place troops at Nangus and Provins and be responible for Montereau with a total of nearly 25,000 men ( Napoleon always overestimated the number of troops he placed under the command of generals). Victor with 15,000 men including Gérard’s troops , now only a division strong, was to remain at Nogent and guard the crossings over the Seine to the east. The two marshals were to liaise closely over their plans. With 40,000 men between them they should be able to keep Schwarzenberg in check.

This left Napoleon a field force of 30,000 men and 120 guns, comprising all the best regiments in his army. His infnatry would consist of the two division of conscripts in Marmont’s VI Corps, two division of the Old Guard and three of the Young numbering in all about 20,000; for cavalry he had the Cavalry of the Guard, totally about 6,000, which Defrance’s Garde d’Honneur and the I Cavalry Corps, each of 2,000 gave him 10,000 troopers in all.

He estimated Blücher could muster 45,000 men. With help from MacDonald’s XI Corps, now increased to about 7,000 men, he concluded he should be strong enough to defeat him. Writing to his brother in the midst of his other preoccupations, he found time to include a postscript about Josephine: ‘ Keep the Empress happy, she is dying of consumption.’ Then with his small by choice army he set out to demolish Blücher, little knowing he now commanded 60,000 men.

The rain fell steadily and the road to Sézanne became a sea of mud; moving was hideously difficult and the misery of the soldiers acute. Marmont (VI Corps), after herculean efforts, had arrived on the 8th and during the 9th patrolled forward, indentifying Olsufiev at Champaubert and Sacken 10 miles to the west at Montmirail. Yorck, Napoleon knew, was chasing MacDonald some where near Château-Thierry. Although much of his army was still short of Sézanne. Teams of cavalry horses were needed to drag the guns out of the mud and, as he informed his administrative chief, the army was dying of hunger. The emperor ordered an advance to Montmirail via Champaubert on the 10th.

Marmont led. Olsufiev left the bridge over the Petit Morin undefended. He made no attempt to hold the difficult country near the river, here little more than a stream. The he suddenly elected to make a stand and fight in the flat open country round Champaubert, country excellently suited to Napoleon’s powerful force of cavalry. It must be supposed that the French advance was unexpected and that Olsufiev was unable to oppose it any earlier. Perhaps some rather unpleasant comments about the conduct of his corps at Brienne, suggesting that he and his troops left unnecessarily abruptly, may have weighed with him. His decision to stand and fight was disastrous. During a wet overcast afternoon Marmont’s conscripts drove fiercely forward, while Napoleon directed his cavalry to cut the Montmirail road on both flanks of the unfortunate Russians. After a stubborn resistance they were over whelmed. Characteristically Napoleon claimed to have captured 40 of their 24 guns and 6,000 out of a detachment of 4,000. It sounded better in the Bulletins.

He did not waste a moment. He told Marmont to clear up the battlefield with a single division and gave him I Cavalry Corps with which to mask Blücher. He ordered the remained to press on through the night to Montmirail, 10 miles to the west. But it was not until 1 o’clock next morning that he inhabitants of Montmirail awoke to the clip-clopping of many hooves and threw open their windows to see the leading squadrons of the Cavalry of the Guard ride by, their splendid uniforms drenched and plastered with mud.

SOURCE: Napoleon: The Last Champaign’s 1813-15; BY: James Lawford

Napoleonic Wars: Montmirail Campaign 10-11 February 1814 (Part 3)

Napoleonic Wars:Montmirail Campaign 1-10 February 1814 (After La Rothiére, Part 1)


World War Two: Fall of Philippines; Siege of Corregidor (5-27)

Though the fall of Bataan ended all organized opposition on Luzon, it did not give the Japanese the most valuable prize of all, Manila Bay. So long as Corregidor and its sister forts across the entrance to the bay remained in American hands, the use of the finest natural harbor in the Orient was denied them. And before General Homma could report to his already impatient superiors in Tokyo that he had accomplished his mission, he would also have to occupy Mindanao to the south as well as the more important islands in the Visayan group in the central Philippines.

The campaign for the Philippine Islands was not yet over. Though he had won the most decisive battle of that campaign, Homma still had to take Corregidor and the islands south of Luzon before the Japanese could integrate the archipelago into the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

The Harbor Defenses of Manila Bay Since the days of the Spaniards, Corregidor had been used as an outpost for the defense of Manila. By a system of semaphore signals from the island the Spaniards were able to receive warning of the approach of any hostile force in time to alert the forts in and around the capital. Later, they constructed minor fortifications on the island as an outer line of defense and as a screen for the larger guns emplaced along the Cavite shore south of Manila Bay, and at Fort Santiago in Manila. By 1898, when Admiral Dewey sailed into Manila Bay, the Spaniards had on Corregidor three large cannons, each with a range of about one mile. Two of these faced Cavite the other pointed north toward Bataan. In addition the Spaniards had twelve other coastal guns to defend the approaches to the capital city: on EI Fraile and Caballo Islands, which, like Corregidor, lay across the entrance to the bay; along the southern tip of Bataan; and along the Cavite shore.

After the cession of the Philippines to the United States, a vast construction program designed to defend Manila by sealing off the entrance to Manila Bay was begun. During the years before the first World War, forts were built on Corregidor and the adjoining islands in the bay. By 1914 the task was completed. The Americans could now boast of an elaborate defense system in Manila Bay, so strong as to justify the name Gibraltar of the East. Reflecting the doctrine of the era in which they were built, the forts were designed to withstand attack from the sea by the heaviest surface vessels then known.

The development of military aviation in the decade of the 1920’s struck a sharp blow at the effectiveness of this carefully wrought and vastly expensive system of defenses. Nothing could be done to remedy the weakness of the forts, however, for by the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 the construction of additional fortifications as well as the modernization of those already built was prohibited. Major construction after 1922, therefore, was limited to antiaircraft positions and to the tunnels dug into the solid rock of Malinta Hill on Corregidor, presumably as a storage area for supplies. When the Japanese attacked in December 1941, the defenses of Corregidor and the ad joining islands were little different from what they had been twenty-five years earlier.

Of the four fortified islands in Manila Bay, Corregidor, the site of Fort Mills, was the largest, measuring three and a half miles in length and one and a half miles at its widest point. With its bulbous head pointed toward the west and its tail stretching eastward, this tadpole-shaped island separated the bay entrance into a north and south channel. Corregidor had narrowly missed being two islands, for at the junction of the head and tail it narrowed to 600 yards and dropped to a height only slightly above sea leveL This low area was known as Bottomside and contained two docks, the barrio of San Jose, shops, warehouses, a power plant, and cold-storage units. Directly to the east of Bottomside was Malinta Hill with its labyrinth of tunnels. Beyond, stretched the tail of the island, where a small airfield and a navy radio intercept station were located.

West of the narrow neck which connected the tail with the head of the tadpole was a small plateau known as Middleside. Here were located the hospital, quarters for commissioned and noncommissioned officers, a service club, and two schools for the children of the island. Beyond, lay the heavy head of the tadpole, rising 500 feet above the sea. Called Topside, this area contained the headquarters, barracks, and officers quarters, grouped around the traditional parade grounds. The ground was high almost to the beach line where it dropped precipitously to the water’s edge. Cutting into the cliffs were two ravines, James and Cheney, which gave access from the beaches to the crowded area above. These ravines, together with Ramsey Ravine which led to Middleside, were the critical points in the defense of Corregidor against hostile landings.

Critical also to the defense of Corregidor and the ability of its garrison to hold out against a sustained attack was the safety of its power plant. Fresh water for the island had to be brought by barge from Mariveles or pumped from the twenty-one deep wells on the island. Perishable food could be kept in that tropical climate only by power-driven cold-storage plants. The large seacoast gun batteries, though equipped with emergency power sets, relied on the power plant, and ventilation for the vast underground tunnels depended on electrically operated blowers. Although there were sixty-five miles of roads and trails on the island, much of the heavy equipment was moved over an electric railroad with thirteen and a half miles of track which led to all important military installations. The garrison, therefore, was dependent in a very real sense on the island’s power plant, and it was natural that those concerned with planning the defense should make every provision to guard against its destruction by bombardment. The most extensive construction on Corregidor was the tunnel system under Malinta Hill. Consisting of a main east-west passage 1,400 feet long and 30 feet wide, the tunnel had 25 laterals, each about 400 feet long, branching out at regular intervals from each side of the main passage.

The underground hospital was housed in a separate system of tunnels north of the main tunnel and had 12 laterals of its own. It could be reached either through the main tunnel or by a separate outside entrance on the north side of Malinta Hill. Opposite the hospital, under the south side of Malinta, was the Navy tunnel system, connected to the main tunnel by a partially completed low passageway through the quartermaster storage lateral. Reinforced with concrete walls, floors, and overhead arches, blowers to furnish fresh air, and a double-track electric car line along the east-west passage, the Malinta Tunnel furnished bombproof shelter for the hospital, headquarters, and shops, as well as a vast labyrinthine underground storehouse.

The armament of Corregidor was formidable. Its seacoast defense alone consisted of 23 batteries, many with their own names and traditions. Altogether, Corregidor had a total of 56 coastal guns and mortars, all of World War I vintage, ranging in caliber from 3 to 12 inches. The longest range cannon were the two 12-inch guns of Batteries Smith and Hearn, with a horizontal range of 29,000 yards and all-around traverse. In addition, there were six 12-inch guns with a range of 17,000 yards, and ten mortars of the same caliber. Nineteen of Corregidor’s guns were the 155-mm. GPF’s, capable of a range of 17,000 yards. The ten 3-inchers had the shortest range. The supply of seacoast ammunition was ample but there was little of the type suitable for attacking land targets and no star shells to provide illumination for night fire. North and south of the island were extensive mine fields planted by the Army and Navy.

Antiaircraft equipment consisted of 3-inch guns with a vertical range of 27,000 and 32,000 feet (depending on the type of ammunition used), .50-caliber machine guns, and 60-inch Sperry searchlights. Defending Corregidor from air attack were 24 of these 3-inch guns, 48 machine guns and 5 searchlights. Another battery of 3-inchers was emplaced on the southern tip of Bataan to tie in with these on Corregidor. Ammunition for the antiaircraft weapons was less plentiful than that for the seacoast guns, and there was a critical shortage of mechanically fuzed 3-inch high explosive shells.

Before the war, the Corregidor garrison consisted principally of headquarters, artillery, and service troops. The combined strength of the four fortified islands in Manila Bay at that time did not exceed 6,000 men, most of whom were stationed on Corregidor. After 8 December the population of these garrisons swelled rapidly. First came the survivors of the Cavite naval base, then the headquarters and service troops from Manila. MacArthur’s headquarters was established on Corregidor on 25 December and with it came the 809th Military Police Company, two ordnance companies, an engineer company, and service detachments.

When Olongapo was evacuated on 26 December, the 4th Marines were also transferred to Corregidor, swelling its population by over 1,000 men. Before the first blow hit that island, it was already crowded with the men of all services and a dizzying pyramid of headquarters.

The defenses of the three other islands in the entrance to Manila Bay were hardly less formidable, proportionately, than those of Corregidor. Caballo (Fort Hughes), just south of Corregidor, was the next largest in size. Only about one quarter of a square mile in area, this island rose abruptly from the bay to a height of 380 feet on its western side.

The east coast, which was lower than the rest of the island, was vulnerable to amphibious attack and a marine detachment of about 100 men was sent there to augment the garrison. Later, 200 sailors from Corregidor were added to the marine detachment and Commander. Francis J. Bridget, who had commanded the naval battalion in the Battle of the Points, assumed command of the beach defenses. His force was almost doubled when the crews of four gunboats, about 225 men, were sent to the island. By the end of April the garrison of Fort Hughes numbered about 800 men of whom 93 were marines and 443 belonged to the Navy. The antiaircraft defenses of the island were tied in with those of Corregidor and consisted of four 3-inch guns. Seacoast artillery numbered thirteen pieces: two 14-inch guns, four 12-inch mortars, two 6-inch guns, three 155-mm. GPF’s, and two 3-inchers.

About four miles south of Fort Hughes lay Fort Drum, the most unusual of the harbor defenses. Cutting away the entire top of El Fraile Island down to the water line and using the island as a foundation, the engineers had built a reinforced concrete battleship, 350 feet long and 144 feet wide, with exterior walls of concrete and steel 25 to 36 feet thick. The top deck of this concrete battleship was 40 feet above the low-water mark and had 20-foot-thick walls. Equipped with four 14-inch guns in armored turrets facing seaward, a secondary battery of four casemated 6-inch guns, and antiaircraft defense, the fort with its 200-man garrison was considered, even in 1941, impregnable to attack.

The southernmost of the fortified islands was Carabao, only 500 yards from the shores of Cavite Province. Except at one point along its eastern shore, the island rises precipitously from the sea in cliffs more than 100 feet high. On this uninviting island the Americans had placed Fort Frank, which late in 1941 had a military garrison of about 400 men, mostly Philippine Scouts. Its armament consisted of two 14-inch guns, eight 12-inch mortars, four 155-mm. GPF’s, as well as antiaircraft and beach defense weapons.

All four forts in Manila Bay, as well as Fort Wint in Subic Bay, had been formed before the war into an organization called the Harbor Defenses of Manila and Subic Bays which, in August 1941, became a part of the Philippine Coast Artillery Command.

Both were commanded by Major General George F. Moore who also commanded the Corregidor garrison. The 5,700 men assigned to the Harbor Defenses were organized into three seacoast and one antiaircraft artillery regiments, headquarters, and service troops. The three seacoast units included the American 59th and the Philippine Scout 91st and 92nd. The 60th, the antiaircraft regiment, was composed of Americans. About 600 Philippine Army soldiers in training were organized into the 1st and 2nd Coast Artillery Regiments (PA), but operated under the control of the two Scout regiments.

General Moore commanded not only the seacoast and antiaircraft artillery but the beach defenses and inshore patrol as well. To exercise tactical control over all elements of his force, he had four major commands. Seaward defense he placed under Colonel Paul D. Bunker who, in turn, commanded four groups, two of which covered North Channel and two South Channel. All antiaircraft units were under Colonel Theodore M. Chase, commander of the 60th Coast Artillery.

In addition to the normal mission of providing defense against air attack, Chase also maintained an air warning service for the fortified islands and for vessels in the bay. Though each fort commander was responsible for local defense, General Moore had an executive for beach defense who coordinated the plans for each of the islands. The inshore patrol remained a naval function, but under the principle of unity of command, Captain Kenneth M. Hoeffel, USN , was under Moore’s tactical control.

By the end of 1941 all that could be done in the limited time since funds had been made available in midyear to improve the defenses of Corregidor and the adjoining islands had been accomplished. But the basic weakness of the harbor defenses their vulnerability to attack from the air and from their landward flanks-was never corrected. They accomplished their mission, the denial of Manila Bay to the enemy, without firing a single round at a hostile warship; Japanese cruisers and destroyers blockading the bay stayed well out of range of Moore’s heavy guns. But when Bataan fell the flank protection of Corregidor disappeared and the fortress was left exposed to destruction by air and artillery attacks and to landings by hostile forces.

The First Aerial and Artillery Attacks

First word of the Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor reached General Moore from the Navy radio intercept station on Corregidor at 0340, 8 December, about the same time that General Sutherland relayed the news to the commander in chief. The garrisons of the four fortified islands had been on the alert for eight days and all battle stations were manned. There was little Moore could do except notify his commanders and instruct the sea, antiaircraft, and beach defense commanders to double their precautions against a surprise dawn attack. At 0620 official notification that a state of war existed between the United States and Japan came from MacArthur’s headquarters, and the Navy temporarily closed Manila Bay to outbound traffic. About four hours later the first air-raid alarm sounded over Corregidor.

This first alarm and those that followed during the next three weeks proved groundless. The Japanese did not attack Corregidor on 8 December and had no plan to do so at the start of war. But they had the intention either of bypassing the island fortress. They fully appreciated its strategic significance and its importance in the scheme of defense, but their first task was to seize Manila and defeat MacArthur’s army. The conquest of Corregidor would follow “as soon as possible.”

The Aerial Attacks

Hardly had news of the evacuation of Manila and the transfer of MacArthur’s headquarters to Corregidor reached Homma on 28 December when he ordered the 5th Air Group to begin operations against the island. Manila would soon be his and though MacArthur’s army had not yet been defeated, Homma may have believed that he could soon move against Corregidor.

Homma’s plans, by agreement with the Navy, provided for a joint attack in which Lieutenant General Hideyoshi Obata’s 5th Air Group (Army) would be supplemented by the planes of the 11th Air Fleet (Navy). The Army air force would strike first, at noon of 29 December, “with its whole strength.” An hour later the Navy bomuers were to take over. The bombardment would continue for two and a half hours, until 1430, and would, General Obata hoped, “destroy the center of the American Far East Command.”

Almost exactly on schedule, at 1154 of the 29th, the first flight of 18 twin-engine bombers of the 14th Heavy Bombardment Regiment, covered by 19 fighters, approached Corregidor at a height of 15,000 feet and in regular V formation. The flight broke into smaller flights, of 9 and 3 planes, which passed lengthwise over the island, then back, dropping 225 and 550-pound bombs on the headquarters buildings and barracks. For the half hour they were over the target, the planes of the 14th Heavy Bombardment dropped almost fifty bombs.

At 1230, 22 bombers of the 8th Light Bombardment Regiment, accompanied by 18 dive bombers of the 16th Light Bombardment Regiment, had their tum. The light bombers followed the same pattern as the first flight, dropping their sixty-six 225-pound bombs on installations and buildings on Bottomside and Topside. The dive bombers, loaded with 35-pounders, attacked from an altitude of 3,000 feet, though to the men on the ground the planes appeared to be at treetop level.

When the dive bombers left at 1300, the Navy bombers came in. Numbering about 60 planes, the naval formation continued the attack against the island and shipping in the bay for another hour. Altogether, the Americans estimated, the Japanese used about 81 mediums and 10 dive bombers and dropped about 60 tons of bombs during these two hours. None of the few remaining American aircraft rose from the recently established fighter base on Bataan to dispute their supremacy of the air on this occasion or during any of the attacks that followed.

In this first attack the antiaircraft defenses at Fort Mills, Fort Hughes, and southern Bataan gave a good account of themselves, firing a total of 1,200 rounds of 3-inch ammunition. Score for the 3-inchers was thirteen medium bombers. It was with considerable satisfaction that Captain Roland G. Ames, commander of Battery C (Chicago) , 60th Coast Artillery (AA), wrote after the attack that his men “had performed wonderfully” in their first encounter with the enemy and had brought down at least three Japanese planes.

The dive bombers, too, were met by strong and effective opposition. The .50-caliber machine guns of the antiaircraft command downed four of the planes in their first low-level strafing attack. Thereafter, according to American sources, the Japanese did not again attempt to dive-bomb targets on Corregidor until the end of April.

The men had paid little heed to the alarm when it first sounded, since none of the previous air warnings had been followed by attack. Some of those who had recently arrived on the island with the transfer of headquarters from Manila to Corregidor casually took up a better position to watch the large enemy formation. One officer in the concrete building on Topside which housed USAFFE headquarters mounted to the second floor for a clearer view of the proceedings.

Hardly had he arrived there when he heard “an ominous, whirring whistle, which rapidly increased in crescendo.” He made a wild jump for the stairway, later claiming that “the whistle of my descent must have rivalled that of the falling bomb.” Others were equally surprised and displayed a tendency to head for the corners of the rooms where they fancied they were safer than elsewhere. Fortunately windows and entrances had been sandbagged and broken glass caused few casualties.

The first bombs hit the vacated station hospital and many of the wooden structures on Topside and Middleside. One bomb struck the post exchange, went through the roof and three concrete floors, buried itself in eight feet of earth, and left a crater about twenty feet in diameter. Fully half the barracks and headquarters buildings were demolished and only a part of the foundation of the officers’ club remained after the bombing. Many of the structures were of corrugated iron, and the danger from flying bits of metal was often as great as that from the bombs. Bottomside, after the bombing, appeared to be “one huge mass of jagged and bent sheet iron.” Fire sprang up at many points so that to an observer on Bataan the island appeared to be enveloped “in clouds of dust and black smoke.” Altogether about 60 percent of all wooden buildings on Corregidor were destroyed during the first bombings. Headquarters, USAFFE, promptly moved into Malinta Tunnel the next day.

Fortunately, damage to military installations, the major target of the Japanese aircraft, was comparatively slight. Two of the gun batteries suffered minor damage which was repaired within twenty-four hours. Several of the small vessels docked at Bottomside and at anchor near the island were hit, and two Philippine Army planes at Kindley Field on the tail of the tadpole were destroyed. Power, communication, and water lines were temporarily disrupted but little permanent damage was wrought. Casualties for the day were twenty killed and eighty wounded.

After the first bombings there was a marked change in the reaction of the men. Before the 29th, despite warning, they had crowded the doorways and windows to watch the planes and speculate about probable targets, safe in the knowledge that Corregidor would not be hit. “All of us,” wrote Captain Ames, “were too careless of bombs and bullets at first.” But that attitude quickly changed. “Now,” noted Colonel Bunker, commander of the Seaward Defenses, “they all stampede for the nearest cover and get as far under it as possible.” As a matter of fact, it soon became difficult to get some of the men out of their shelters, even when there were no planes overhead. There was a marked change, too, in the attitude toward the weather after the first attack from the air. Bright moonlight, “by which we had wooed our sweethearts and wives,” carried the threat of night attack.

It gave away the position of vessels and made the large searchlights of the harbor defenses nearly useless. The beautiful sunrise and sunset of the tropics lost their attractiveness when enemy planes chose that time for attack. In the muted light of dawn and dusk it was difficult to pick out the attacking aircraft. Clouds, unless they were high and solid, were considered “a curse” by the antiaircraft gunners, and cloud formations through which enemy aircraft could drop for a bombing run were a “pet hate.” The feared typhoons, on the other hand, were eagerly awaited. “We prayed for them...,” wrote Captain Ames, “to break up and destroy Jap planes and ships.”

For the next eight days, until 6 January, the Japanese continued to bomb Corregidor intermittently, with less and less effect and at greater cost to themselves. There were no enemy aircraft over the island on the 30th, when President Quezon was inaugurated for the second time, or on the 31st. There is some indication of air action on the first day of the New Year, but it was on the 2nd, the date Manila was occupied, that the Japanese came back in force.

The day was overcast, with a low ceiling of shifting clouds. Shortly after the noon hour the first enemy bombers burst through a hole in the low-hanging clouds, released their bombs, then flew up into the safety of the clouds. Altogether fifty-four enemy aircraft participated in the attack that day. They left behind, in Colonel Bunker’s words, “a scene of destruction.” On a tour of inspection, he saw huge sections of corrugated iron “scattered in painfully distorted shapes” all over the parade ground, and “gaping, square, empty openings” in the barracks.

The bombardment of the 2nd was the beginning of a five-day assault during which hardly a yard of the island did not feel the effects of the enemy bombs. Except for the attacks on the 2nd and the 5th, the sole enemy target was Corregidor. On the 2nd, Fort Drum, and on the 5th, Fort Frank came in for their share of the bombs but were never the primary targets.

The pattern of the daily Japanese attacks was usually the same. During the morning a lone photo reconnaissance plane, whose pilot the Americans referred to familiarly as Photo Joe or The Lone Ranger, would circle Corregidor and the other fortified islands for a time and then return to base.

About 1230 the bombers would come in, flying at an altitude well above 20,000 feet and at a speed of about 160 miles an hour, bomb the island for about two hours, then fly off. Until the last day, they approached the target from the same direction in a large V formation, then broke up into smaller formations for the run over the island. Only at the end did the Japanese abandon this regular formation and approach the target from different directions in scattered formations and at varying altitudes.

Total damages for the six days’ bombing were extensive. On the 2nd and 3rd the buildings on Topside and Middleside were hit again and two of the island’s precious water tanks destroyed. On the 4th the principal target was the wharves, shops, and warehouses on Bottomside. The next day a barge was bombed and set afire. It drifted into shore and set fire to a diesel oil dump near the power plant. On the 6th there was a tragic accident when thirty-four men took cover in an incomplete bomb shelter. A large bomb fell near the structure, which collapsed and killed thirty-one of the men.

By the 7th practically all unprotected surface installations had disappeared or were in ruins. Bomb craters were uniformly scattered over the island and one could hardly walk more than twenty-five yards in any direction without stumbling into one.

The worst destruction was caused by fire. Barely adequate during peacetime, the Fort Mills fire department proved unable to cope with the conditions created by the hail of bombs. Much material, such as lumber, hardware, mattresses, and medical and chemical warfare supplies, which had been stored on the surface in wooden buildings, was burned. Concrete structures suffered less from the bombings and from fire, and the supplies stored in them were salvaged.

After the first attack no effort was made to keep the electric railroad line on the island in operation. It had been hit in so many places and was so exposed that it was fruitless to attempt its repair. Almost daily the main telephone cables were cut by bombs. Crews worked at night to repair them, but the next day the lines would be cut again. The maintenance of communications was a never-ending task, and there was never time to bury the cables deep enough to place them out of reach of the bombs.

The armament of the island suffered comparatively slight damage. The coastal batteries with their magazines and power plants had been bombproofed before the war and escaped almost unscathed. The more exposed antiaircraft units suffered more from the bombings than the seacoast batteries, but such damage as was caused was repaired quickly, usually within twelve hours. There were some casualties among the gun crews, but they were not serious enough to interfere with operations. The largest number of casualties came to those who failed to take shelter or were careless. There is no record of the total casualties for the period from 29 December to 7 January, but at least 36 men were killed and another 140 wounded during the first, second, and last days of the attack alone.

The air attacks against Corregidor ended on 6 January, the day the Bataan campaign opened. They had proved costly to the Japanese and had produced no decisive military results. But even if they had and if Homma had wished to continue to bomb the island after 6 January, he would have been unable to do so. By that time the 5th Air Group was preparing to move to Thailand, and Homma was left with only a small air force which he could ill spare for attacks against Corregidor. Except for sporadic raids by three or four planes and occasional dive bombing and strafing, the first aerial bombardment was over.

The Artillery Bombardment

Events thus far had not worked out as the Japanese had planned. The occupation of Manila had not given them the use of its fine harbor or the large military stores they had expected to find there. MacArthur had refused battle on the plains of Manila, and drawn his forces back into the Bataan peninsula intact. The occupation of Corregidor, which was next on the Japanese timetable, now had to be deferred for the lengthy and expensive campaign on Bataan. If the first air attacks against the island fortress had been intended as the prelude for a landing, they had been wasted.

To have attempted the investment of the Gibraltar of the East while the Bataan peninsula was in American hands would have been disastrous and foolhardy. The heights of the Mariveles Mountains dominated the small island only two miles offshore and were vital to its control. Even before the war the Japanese had recognized the intimate relationship between Bataan and Corregidor and in their prewar estimates had noted the flank protection Bataan offered to the island. “Mt. Mariveles in southern Bataan forms the left wall of the bay entrance,” one Japanese estimate concluded, “and because it is covered with dense forests, use of siege guns and heavy equipment to attack this fortress is impossible.”

The southern shore of Manila Bay offered only partial protection to the islands lying at the bay entrance. Here the ground was less mountainous and overgrown than on Bataan, and in the vicinity of Ternate, opposite the tip of Bataan, there were few obstacles to military movement. Into this area could be brought heavy equipment and siege guns. Once emplaced, these guns could bring the southernmost of the islands, Forts Frank and Drum, under assault It was from here that the next attack against the harbor defenses came.

Toward the end of January reports began to reach Corregidor of the movement of Japanese artillery into Cavite Province. By the 25th, according to observers on the mainland, the Japanese had emplaced their guns in defiladed positions near Ternate, only about six air miles from Fort Drum on El Fraile Island and eight miles from the neighboring Fort Frank on Carabao Island.

The reports were correct. A Japanese artillery unit called the Kondo Detachment was indeed moving into position along the southern shore of Manila Bay. Formed by 14th Army on 24 January, this unit was under the command of Major Toshinori Kondo and consisted initially of four 105-mm. guns and two 150-mm. cannons. Kondo’s orders were “to secretly deploy” near Ternate and “prepare for fire missions” against Corregidor, El Fraile, and Carabao Islands and against shipping in Manila Bay. By the first week of February, despite interdiction fire from Fort Frank, Kondo had completed his preparations and was awaiting further orders.

He did not have long to wait. On 5 February, his orders arrived and next morning at 0800 the Kondo Detachment opened fire against the fortified islands. Fort Drum was the principal target that day and the Japanese guns hit it almost one hundred times during the three-hour attack. By accident or design, the choice of the early morning hours for the attack placed the sun behind the Japanese and made observation by the Americans difficult They replied as best they could with their 14- and 6-inch guns, and Fort Frank assisted with its 12-inch mortars, but scored no hits. Thus began an artillery duel that was to continue intermittently for almost two months. Until the middle of February the daily attacks followed much the same pattern.

Major Kondo’s 105’s and 150’s usually opened fire in the morning, to be answered by counterbattery fire from the large guns of the harbor defenses. Later the Japanese fired at odd intervals during the day. Forts Frank and Drum, closest to Ternate, received the heaviest weight of shells and the greatest damage but their guns were never put out of commission and their effectiveness never seriously impaired. Damage to Corregidor was limited to occasional hits on buildings and vehicles.

During the course of the bombardment the Japanese hit upon a scheme to strike a vital blow at Fort Frank without firing a single shot. Learning from the natives that the fort received its supply of fresh water from a dam near Calumpan on the Cavite shore, they dispatched a demolition squad to locate and destroy the pipeline. On 16 February, the Japanese found the line and pulled up the section just below the dam. Fort Frank, fortunately, had its own distillation plant and Colonel Boudreau, who had assumed command of the fort after the evacuation of Fort Wint in December, directed that it be placed in operation at once.

But its use required valuable fuel and Boudreau was understandably reluctant to expend the gasoline he needed for his guns to distill sea water. On the 19th, therefore, he made an effort to repair the pipeline and sent a group of fifteen volunteers to the mainland for that purpose. Before the men could restore the line they were attacked by a Japanese patrol of about thirty men. In the fight that followed, the Americans and Filipinos, with the support of 75-mm. guns from Fort Frank, destroyed the entire patrol, suffering only one casualty. The fifteen men then returned to Fort Frank safely but without having accomplished their mission. That night the Japanese retaliated by burning the barrio of Calumpan. It was not until 9 March that Colonel Boudreau was able to repair the broken water pipe.

The intensity of the Japanese attacks increased after the middle of February, when Major Kondo received two additional 150-mm. howitzers. With these reinforcements came instructions from Homma “to demoralize the enemy.” The daily bombardments thereafter became more severe and reached their height on 20 February. Starting at 0930 that morning the guns of the reinforced Kondo Detachment fired steadily at one-minute intervals until late afternoon.

The only serious damage was to the power plant on Corregidor and to several observation posts at Fort Hughes. After that date the Japanese fire diminished until, by the beginning of March, it presented no real threat to the harbor defenses. “In general,” wrote the commander of the Seaward Defenses, “the Japs are resorting to nuisance firing daily and usually from a single gun.”

The slackening of enemy fire at the end of February did not mean that the attack was over. On the basis of intelligence reports, General Moore concluded that the Japanese were merely “marking time waiting for reinforcements.” This view was confirmed when native informants reported that the Japanese were selecting new gun positions in the Pico de Loro hills southwest of Ternate and improving the trails leading into the interior. In an effort to hinder this move, General Moore ordered his seacoast batteries to place interdiction fire on roads and bridges in the vicinity of Ternate, but without observable effect. The Japanese continued to make their preparation for a fresh attack without serious interference from the coastal batteries in the bay.

The Japanese force which assembled in the Pica de Lora hills during the first two weeks of March was considerably stronger than the Kondo Detachment. To that unit had been added the 1st Heavy Artillery Regiment, the 2nd Independent Heavy Artillery Battery, both equipped with 240-mm. howitzers, and the 3rd Tractor Unit with prime movers for the heavy guns. The Kondo Detachment had been dissolved and a new organization, the Hayakawa Detachment, formed. Colonel Masayoshi Hayakawa, commander of the 1st Heavy Artillery, led the reorganized force, and, according to the usual Japanese practice, gave it his name.

By 15 March all preparations for the stepped-up artillery bombardment of the harbor defenses had been completed. The attack opened at 0730 of the 15th with a volley from the 240-mm. howitzers and continued throughout the day. Although all four islands came under fire, Forts Frank and Drum bore the brunt of the bombardment. Approximately 500 shells fell on Fort Frank alone; another 100 on Fort Drum. Two of Frank’s batteries, one of 155-mm. guns and the other of 3-inch antiaircraft guns, were almost entirely destroyed, and two other batteries were put out of commission temporarily. Fort Drum

escaped more lightly. Its only damage came when a shell penetrated the armor of the 6-inch battery on the south side and burst inside the casemate, filling the concrete battleship with flames, smoke, and fumes. Fortunately, there were no casualties. Despite every effort during the day to neutralize the enemy fire, the bombardment continued until afternoon. “It hurt me like blazes,” wrote Colonel Bunker on Corregidor, “to see my friends under fire and be so powerless to help them.”

The attack continued with unabated vigor the next day and with varying intensity for five days thereafter. As on the 15th, all four forts came under fire, but the weight of the attack was again directed against the two southernmost islands. The heaviest bombardments came on the 16th and 21st. On both days the concrete battleship fairly shook under the impact of the large shells. Every time one of them hit the casemate of the 6-inch guns a flash of fire was observed, and during the height of the attack there were fire alarms as often as every five minutes. Fortunately there was no general conflagration and no serious damage.

Fort Frank was not so fortunate. On the 16th a 240-mm. shell penetrated eighteen inches of concrete around one of its 12-inch batteries, passed under a six-foot concrete wall and exploded below the powder room. The floor of the battery was shattered and sixty cans of mortar powder overturned, but, miraculously, none exploded. It was on the morning of the 21st that Fort Frank suffered its “greatest loss” of the war when a 240-mm. shell penetrated the 18-inch concrete roof of one of its tunnels and struck in the midst of a line of men waiting for yellow fever shots. Twenty-eight of the men were killed and another forty-six wounded.

The damage wrought by the artillery attacks between 15 and 21 March was considerably greater than any inflicted by the 105’s and 150’s of the Kondo Detachment. Fort Frank, the larger target and the one closest to the enemy, was the most vulnerable of the forts and “got a fearful working over.”

All of its surface guns-four 3-inch antiaircraft and four 155-mm. GPF guns were visible to the enemy and were badly damaged. The depressed 12-inch mortar battery and two 14-inch disappearing guns were also hit, but were quickly repaired and put back in action. Fort Drum, the concrete battleship, came under as severe a bombardment as Frank, but was better able to withstand the battering. Every square foot of the interior surface of the casemates was deeply dented and torn by fragmentation, and between eight and fifteen feet of its reinforced concrete deck was whittled away. But though its two antiaircraft guns were ruined beyond repair, the principal target of the Japanese, the 14-inch turret guns, were never put out of action.

So heavy were the attacks against Frank and Drum that the commanders of both forts, fearing a hostile landing, had doubled their beach defenses immediately. This precaution was a wise one, for the Japanese did actually plan to capture both Forts Frank and Drum, and had even designated the unit which was to make the assalt General Homma canceled this plan, however, in order to strengthen the force he was assembling late in March for the final attack against Bataan. The landing craft which had been collected for the attack, about forty-five bancas, were later destroyed by 75-mm. gunfire from Fort Frank.

Throughout the long-range artillery duel the effectiveness of American counterbattery fire was limited by the difficulty of locating the Japanese guns. There was no flash during daylight, and both Kondo and Hayakawa were careful to take every precaution to avoid giving away their position. They camouflaged their guns skillfully, moved them when necessary, and even sent up false smoke rings when their batteries were in action. The American and Filipino artillerymen tried to fix the enemy’s position by the use of sound waves, but this method proved too delicate and complicated.

Another method, admittedly less accurate but easier to use, was to compute the enemy’s position by the line of falling duds. The results could rarely be checked, but the batteries of all four forts fired daily, hopeful that they might knock out some of the Japanese guns with a lucky hit.

For a time firing data was received from a small group of volunteers on the mainland led by Captain Richard G. Ivey of the 60th Coast Artillery (AA). Ivey had established an observation post on high ground along the south coast of the bay and, until he was driven out on 15 February, served as a spotter, sending his information by walkie-talkie radio. Even this observed fire proved of doubtful effectiveness. During one bombardment, when Ivey’s reports appeared inconsistent, the fire control center asked him how he knew there was a Japanese gun in the position. “He replied,” wrote Colonel Bunker, “that he couldn’t see it, but judged by the sound that it was there.” When fire was shifted to another target, the observer’s instructions, which failed to distinguish between deflection and range, were just as confusing and the fire was discontinued.

Rarely was General Moore able to secure the services of the few remaining aircraft to fly reconnaissance. When he did the results were most gratifying. One such occasion came on 9 February, when Captain Jesus A. Villamor, in an obsolete Philippine Army training plane equipped with a camera, set out to take photographs of the Ternate area.

Protecting his slow and unarmed bi-plane were six P-40’s. Villamor completed his mission, but on the way back the formation was attacked by six enemy fighters. While Villamor Came in with his precious photographs, the P-40’s engaged the enemy in a spectacular fight over Bataan. In the space of a few minutes the American pilots brought down four of the enemy fighters and fatally damaged the remaining two. Only one P-40 was left. Meanwhile the photographs taken by Villamor were printed and rushed to Corregidor where they were collated with reports from observers on the ground. The counterbattery fire that followed proved remarkably accurate and several direct hits were scored.

The difficulties of counterbattery fire were further increased when the Japanese moved their guns to the Pico de Loro hills where they could be reached only by high trajectory fire. Few of the coastal guns in the harbor defenses, which had been designed for use against warships, had sufficient elevation to clear the high ground before the enemy positions. Their difficulty is illustrated by the experience of the men of Battery Hearn on 21 March, who, “in a desperate effort to silence the Japs,” opened fire with their 12-inch guns. “We wound up,” Colonel Bunker wrote, “with our guns elevated against the elevation stops-and that wasn’t any too much.”

The only weapon in the armament of the harbor defenses with the high trajectory required to deliver effective counterbattery fire under these circumstances was the 12-inch mortar. There were twenty-two of these pieces on the four islands, but their usefulness against land targets was limited by the lack of sound ranging equipment and the shortage of ammunition with instantaneous fuzes. There was an ample supply of armor-piercing, fixed, delay fuze ammunition with a small bursting charge. This type was designed for use by coast artillery against warships but was of little use in the situation the Seaward Defenses then faced.

These shells buried themselves deep in the earth before exploding and caused little damage to men and installations near by. The ideal ammunition against the targets presented by the Japanese guns on the Cavite shore was the personnel type with instantaneous point detonating fuze. There were about 1,000 such shells, of 12-inch caliber and weighing 670 pounds, but even this small amount could not be used freely, for it would be desperately needed when Bataan fell and the enemy placed his heavy guns on the slopes of the Mariveles Mountains.

A small quantity of additional instantaneous fuze ammunition was obtained as a result of experiments made by Colonel Bunker. He modified the fuze of the 1,070-pound shells used in the 12-inch guns by removing the .05-second delay pellet, thus detonating the shell more quickly. When he test-fired two such shells he got “beautiful results, up to my wildest hopes.” The effect, he noted, was equal to that of a personnel shell, “both in dirt thrown up and in noise made.” But though the modified projectile exploded on impact, it had only a small bursting charge and a limited effect. Thus, despite every effort to secure effective counterbattery fire, the Americans were never able to prevent the Japanese from firing almost at will.

The artillery dud which had begun early in February came to an end on 22 March. Though the Americans reported artillery fire from the Cavite shore until early in April, it could not have come from the Hayakawa Detachment. That force had been disbanded on the 22nd and its elements ordered to rejoin their parent units for the final attack against Bataan, then about to open. Whatever guns remained behind were of smaller caliber and were intended only to annoy the defenders.

Life Under Siege

Since the first air attacks at the end of December the garrisons of the four fortified islands had worked steadily to repair the damages and improve their positions. On Corregidor a tunnel, begun in 1921 but discontinued because of treaty agreements, was rapidly pushed to completion to serve as a command post for the Seaward Defenses.

The island’s defenses were further strengthened by the addition of an 8-inch gun with a range of 24,000 yards and a 360-degree traverse. This gun was brought over from Bataan and mounted on a prepared concrete base near Malinta. Though it was tested and ready for use by 4 March, no crew was available and the gun never fired a shot at the enemy. At Fort Hughes, one 155-mm. gun facing the sea was dismounted, moved through the tunnel, and emplaced on the opposite side of the island, pointing toward Bataan.

Vital installations were strengthened in various ways. Around the large well at the west end of Malinta Tunnel the engineers placed a circular parapet of sandbags, and over the gasoline storage area on Morrison Hill they placed two feet of heavily reinforced concrete, which they then camouflaged.

Similar protection was given the Harbor Defenses telephone exchange at Topside. Near the entrance to Malinta Tunnel and in the port area at Bottomside, the engineers constructed tank obstacles consisting of square concrete posts reinforced with steel rails. About the same time, they placed roofs over the 75-mm. guns supporting the bcach defense troops to give them protection against dive bombers. Shortcomings in the design and location of various installations had become apparent by this time and these were corrected when the intensity of the enemy fire declined.

Early plans had not taken into consideration the possibility of artillery fire from the Cavite shore and some of the tunnel entrances now faced the oncoming shells. After one attack Colonel Bunker checked his firing data and concluded that the main entrance to the Seaward Defenses command post “now points exactly along the Jap trajectory.” Where possible, other openings were constructed, but in most cases protection was provided by baffle walls.

With the technical advice of the engineers practically all the batteries began to build their own tunnels. Some dug tunnels where there was no apparent reason for one. “We have to be at our gun practically all the time,” observed one battery commander, whose men were hard at work on a tunnel, “so we may not be able to spend too much time, if any at all, in a tunnel.” Even the troops on beach defense caught the fever and, with whatever materials they could beg or borrow, dug tunnels and constructed overhead protection. “It is safe to venture a guess,” wrote the engineer cautiously, “that if all the tunnels constructed on Corregidor after hostilities commenced were connected end to end the resultant summation would not be less than two miles.”

Life on the four fortified islands in Manila Bay settled into a dreary routine. When the men were not building fortifications or going about their daily chores, they had little to do. Complaints were frequent and often dealt with the subject of food. The ration had been cut in half on 5 January, at the same time it had been cut on Bataan. The more enterprising of the men found ways of their own to increase the amount and vary the monotony of the ration, but the opportunities were fewer than on Bataan. Sunken or damaged barges washed close to shore offered a profitable field for exploitation during the early days of the campaign. One unit filled its trucks with a cargo of dried fruits salvaged from one such barge and stored it away for future use. “Now,” wrote Colonel Bunker, “if they’ll only drink a lot of water, they’ll be fixed fine.”

Some even managed to procure liquor in this way. One of the barges sent out from Manila just before the Japanese occupation had been loaded with whiskey from the Army and Navy Club. It was sunk in shallow water and many of the men spent their off duty hours diving in the oil-coated waters in the hope of bringing up a bottle. Before the military police took over to relieve the lucky divers of their catch as they reached the shore, a large number of soldiers had laid in a stock of the precious commodity. President Quezon’s yacht is also said to have supplied at least one unit with a store of fine wine. When it was being unloaded one dark night, it is reported that an officer directed the dock hands to load two trucks simultaneously. When the job was finished, one of the trucks silently disappeared into the night with its valuable cargo, never to be seen again.

Life everywhere on the islands went underground and the symbol of the new molelike existence was Malinta Tunnel. “Everyone who doesn’t need to be elsewhere,” observed Captain Ames, “was in a tunnel-chiefly Malinta.” During the bombings it was always jammed with Americans and Filipinos who huddled back against the boxes of food and ammunition stacked along the sides to a height of six feet.

Crowded into the tunnel were the highest headquarters in the Philippines, the lawful government of the Commonwealth, the 1,000-bed hospital, vast quantities of supplies, power plants, machinery, and other vital installations. One lateral alone was taken over by USAFFE. Here General MacArthur had a desk, before which were lined up his staff officers’ desks. To the rear were the double-decker beds where the staff slept. Malinta also housed those dignitaries who had been evacuated from Manila. The civilians followed the routine of the military garrison, but an exception was made for the women, who were assigned special facilities in an area known as the “ladies’ lateral.”

For the men outside, a trip through the tunnel was an interesting experience and never failed to rouse wonder. Milling about were Philippine and American government officials, officers of all services and all ranks, nurses in white starched uniforms, war correspondents, laborers, repair and construction crews, barbers, convalescents, and frightened soldiers in search of safety. “It is a revelation to walk through these tunnels,” wrote Captain Ames to his wife. “At one time you are rubbing elbows with the daughter of some P.I. [Philippine] official, dodging a lady war correspondent, talking to a naval officer, being jostled by a plumber, … and having your shoes mopped by some Filipino janitor.”

Outside the tunnel the men encountered unusual and sometimes strange sights. President Quezon, ill with tuberculosis and confined to a wheel chair, spent as much time as he could outside the dust-laden tunnel, as did the U.S. High Commissioner Francis B. Sayre. On 30 December a small group witnessed Quezon’s second inauguration in an impressive ceremony at the mouth of the tunnel and listened to speeches by the President, the High Commissioner, and General MacArthur. Some saw, too, larger sums of money and more gold than they had ever imagined in their youthful dreams of pirate treasure chests. But values change in war and they watched without visible emotion the unloading of the gold, silver, and securities of the Philippine treasury on the Corregidor docks and their removal to a strong room deep in the tunnel.

Life on the islands had its seamier side. Not all men were brave and each garrison had its share of “tunnel rats,” the taunt reserved for those who never left the safety of Malalinta Tunnel. Such men were said to have “tunnelitis,” a disease characterized by a furtive manner and the sallow complexion associated with those who live underground. For these men, those outside the tunnel had only contempt, tinged perhaps with envy.

We say of them,” wrote one of those on the outside, ” that they will lose tunnel-credit if they are seen outside the tunnel. And we josh them about the DTS medal (Distinguished Tunnel Service) . . . if they gather plenty of tunnel credits. As opposed to shell-shocked, we say of confirmed ‘tunneleers’ that they are shelter-shocked.”: Such unfair judgments were perhaps inevitable where some men were exposed to danger and others, by reason of their assignment, enjoyed the safety-and discomfort of Malinta Tunnel. Nerves wore thin during the enforced intimacy of the prolonged siege, and there were few opportunities for recreation. During their idle moments men discussed the most fantastic rumors, deplored the lack of support from the United States, and commented smugly about the invariably misinformed “brass hats in Malinta Tunnel.” And always the men exercised the immemorial right of the soldier to “gripe.” The days passed thus with monotonous and dreary regularity, filled with work, idle conversation, and speculation about the future.

The Second Aerial Bombardment

Early in January, it will be recalled, Imperial General Headquarters had transferred the bulk of the 5th Air Group out of the Philippines, leaving General Homma with only a small air force whose major mission was to support ground operations on Bataan. A month later, after 14th Army had been badly beaten in its efforts to gain a quick victory on the Orion-Bagac line, Homma had received large reinforcements, including Army and Navy air units. From Malaya had come two heavy bombardment regiments, the 60th and 62nd, with a total of sixty twin-engine bombers. This single accretion alone tripled Homma’s air strength. In addition, the Navy had sent two squadrons of Bettys (land-based, twin-engine bombers), one squadron of Zekes (fighters), and one squadron of carrier-based bombers to the Philippines, thus making available for the offensive of late March and early April a considerably augmented air force.

Homma’s plan for the final assault against the defenders of Bataan had provided for a heavy artillery and aerial preparation, starting on 24 March and continuing until victory was achieved. To the air forces he had assigned a threefold mission: to support the advance of ground units, bomb forward and rear installations, and cut the line of supply between Bataan and Corregidor. All aircraft were given targets on Bataan; but the 60th and 62nd Heavy Bombardment Regiments and the Navy were directed to bomb Corregidor as well. Careful plans were made for the period from 24 to 28 March and an agreement was concluded between the Army and Navy which made possible a unified plan of air action and the joint bombardment of targets by the aircraft of both services. After the 28th the bulk of the heavy bombers were to concentrate on Bataan, but, “in order to demoralize the enemy and to boost the fighting spirit of our army,” a small number of planes would continue to bomb Corregidor every few hours around the clock.

[This account of Japanese air plans and operations is based upon 5th Gp Opns, pp. 59-76; 14th Army Opns, I, 129-36; Comments of Former Japanese Officers Regarding The Fall of the Philippines, p. 74, OCMH.]

The aerial attack opened on schedule simultaneously with the artillery preparation on Bataan, at dawn of the 24th, when the first of the Army’s six bomber squadrons rose from Clark Field and headed toward Corregidor. At the same time two navy squadrons (twenty-four Bettys) stood by to take off from their base at Clark near Manila to join in the attack. At 0924 the air-raid alarm, the seventy-seventh of the campaign, sounded on Corregidor. One minute later, the first enemy flight of nine Army bombers came over the island to drop their 550 and 1,100-bombs. They were followed by the remaining Army squadrons which, in turn, gave way to the Navy’s planes. The attack continued during the day and that night, when three more planes made a nuisance raid against the island. Altogether, forty-five of the sixty twin-engine bombers of the 60th and 62nd Heavy Bombardment Regiments and the two squadrons of naval land-based bombers participated in the first day’s attack to drop a total of seventy-one tons of bombs.

The next day the Japanese sent only three Army squadrons, twenty-seven planes, against Corregidor; the Navy, a similar number. This pattern continued until the 29th, the Navy planes alternating with the Army bombers. In addition small groups of planes came in over Corregidor every two or three hours “to carry out the psychological warfare and destroy the strong points, without failure.” The routine bombings continued steadily until 1 April, with at least one Army squadron attacking during the day and another at night. The Navy planes, which had no missions on Bataan, continued their bombardment of the island fortress in undiminished strength.

F or the men on Corregidor it seemed as though they were living “in the center of a bull’s-eye.” During the last week of March there were about sixty air-raid alarms lasting for a total of seventy-four hours. Bombings begun in the morning were usually resumed in the afternoon and again at night. Since the Japanese planes were now based on Clark Field or near Manila, they were able to remain over the target for longer periods than they had during the first bombardment in December. A graphic picture of the intensity of the bombardment can be gained from General Moore’s summary of the first day’s action.

24 March:

0707-Batteries Woodruff [Ft. Hughes, 14-inch guns], Marshall [Ft. Drum, 14-inch guns], and Koehler [Ft. Frank, 12-inch mortars] opened fire on Cavite targets.

0924-Air Raid Alarm No. 77 sounded.

0925-Nine heavy bombers, a new type in the area, bombed Middleside and Morrison Hill.

0945-Twenty-seven heavy bombers came in over tail of Corregidor and bombed Middleside, closely followed by 17 heavies bombing Topside.

0950-Twenty-five planes followed by 9 more made another attack. Meanwhile, artillery shells from enemy batteries in Cavite were bursting on Corregidor. Several fires were started, communication cable and water mains cut, and an ammunition dump of 75-mm. shells on Morrison Hill was set off. These shells were exploding for hours. Battery Wheeler [12-inch guns] had a direct bomb hit on the racer of No.1 gun putting it out of action temporarily.

111O-All clear sounded.

1435-Air Raid Alarm No. 78. Nine heavy bombers approached Corregidor from the southeast. Bombs dropped on Kindley Field.

1438-Seven more planes from southeast with more bombs. Shelling from mainland also.

1529-All Clear.

1552-Air Raid Alarm No. 79. Nine heavy bombers hit Kindley Field again.

1620-All Clear.

1640-Air.Raid Alarm No. 80. Mariveles and Cabcaben areas [Bataan] hit by 9 heavies.

1703-All Clear.

2053–Air Raid Alarm No. 81.

2115-First night air raid. Two medium bombers dropped incendiary bombs in Cheney Ravine, Corregidor. Later returned and bombed Bottomside. No damage reported.

2234-All Clear.

The effect of so heavy a bombardment over the period of seven days might well have been disastrous had not the men profited from the earlier air attacks and built underground shelters. They had also learned how effectively sand could cushion the blow from a bomb and had made liberal use of sandbags. “It used to be hard to get the men to fill sandbags,” wrote one officer. “Now it is hard to keep them from laying hands on all the sandbags available and filling them when those to whom they are allotted aren’t looking.” The small number of casualties is ample evidence of the thoroughness with which the Corregidor garrison had dug in since the first attack on 29 December.

Installations of all kinds and critical supplies had also been placed under bombproof protection, and these suffered little damage during the bombardment. The few remaining surface installations, however, and supplies in open storage did not fare so well. On Bottomside, the theater, post exchange, and bakery were leveled to the ground and the Navy’s radio station damaged. Wainwright’s house, inherited from MacArthur, was destroyed on the first day of the attack. “I picked up the light walking stick which MacArthur had left for me,” wrote Wainwright, “and walked down to Malinta Tunnel to live there the rest of my time on Corregidor.” Several ammunition dumps were hit, exploding the shells in storage, and a quantity of TNT blown up. But losses, on the whole, were small and were quickly repaired by crews which cleared the roads and cleaned out the debris left by exploding bombs.

The Japanese, too, seemed to have profited by their earlier experience and had “learned,” Captain Ames observed, “to dodge AA fire.” They came in at higher altitudes than before, between 22,000 and 28,000 feet, in formations of nine planes or less. During daylight they made their bombing runs out of the sun, changing course and altitude immediately after the moment of release. Earlier the antiaircraft gun batteries had been able to get in about ten salvos before the Japanese flew out of range, usually bringing down the lead plane of the formation. When the enemy changed his tactics, the antiaircraft guns could get in fewer salvos and could no longer count on the lead plane maintaining the same course.

Under ideal conditions antiaircraft guns form a ring around the defended area, or a line in front of it, from where they can strike enemy aircraft before they reach the objective. On Corregidor it was not possible, for obvious reasons, “to follow the book.” The antiaircraft guns could not engage the enemy until he was almost over the island. Moreover, by being located on the target, they became “part of what is being bombed,” with the result that their efficiency and freedom of fire was limited most at the moment of greatest need. “Naturally our job is to fire on the bombers,” wrote Captain Ames, ” … and if possible prevent the bombing. Fire we do, but prevent the bombing we cannot.” In a letter which never reached his wife he graphically explained the difficulty which beset all the antiaircraft men.

The bombers come over; we see them drop their bombs-all the while we are tracking them with our instruments–our guns point upward more and more steeply; the bombs continue downward on their way towards us. Then our indicators show that the bombers are “in range”. We open fire. In about 15 seconds our guns are pointing as nearly straight up as they can, and hit the mechanical stop. We cease firing. The bombs whistle; we duck for a few seconds while the bombs burst, and pop up again to engage the next flight. When fighters come in one after another we stay up while the bombs hit all around us ….Some of the bombers come in higher than we can shoot. In such cases we vainly wait for our indicators to show “in range“, and take cover (duck behind our splinter-proofs) just as the bombs begin to whistle.

The most serious limitations on the effectiveness of the 3-inch guns arose from the shortage of mechanically fuzed ammunition, which could reach to a height of 30,000 feet. There was an adequate supply of ammunition with the powder train fuze, effective to a height of about 24,000 feet, but only enough of the longer range type for one of the ten antiaircraft batteries. On 3 February a submarine had brought in 2,750 more rounds of mechanically fuzed ammunition, and it became possible to supply an additional battery. Thus, when the enemy planes came in at an altitude of more than 24,000 feet, only two batteries could reach them. The remaining batteries of the antiaircraft command, equipped with powder train fuzes, could only watch idly while the Japanese leisurely dropped their bombs. Nonetheless, the contribution of these batteries, though negative, was a valuable one.

By forcing the enemy to remain at extremely high altitude, they decreased his accuracy and diminished the effectiveness of the bombardment. From the outset it had been necessary to conserve even the powder train fuzed shells, 30 percent of which were duds. This had been accomplished by limiting each gun to six rounds for any single target on any given course. The opening weeks of the war proved the most expensive in terms of rounds fired to planes destroyed, 500 rounds being required for each plane. This inaccurate fire was due to inexperience, the irregular functioning of powder train fuzes, and variation in the muzzle velocity. Between 8 December and 11 March the 3-inch gun batteries in the harbor defenses expended over 6,000 rounds for a total of 52 aircraft knocked down, or about 120 rounds per plane. With increased experience of both fire control crews and gunners and improved fire discipline, this average was steadily bettered until, by the beginning of April, the expenditure rate went under 100 rounds per plane, an excellent score even under the most favorable conditions.

In February an effort was made to use the 12-inch mortars for antiaircraft fire in the hope that a salvo from these pieces, bursting in the midst of the enemy formation, would discourage mass bombing. The 670-pound shells were first fitted with the powder train fuze but the shell would not explode. Next, the 155-mm. shrapnel and the mechanical antiaircraft fuze were tried, but they failed also to detonate the charge. “If it can be made to work,” thought Colonel Bunker, “it will sure jolt the Japs.” But the problem was never solved, and at the end of the campaign Ordnance still did not know whether the 12-inch shell would not explode because of the low rotational velocity or the size of booster charge in the fuze.

With the second aerial bombardment of Corregidor the Japanese for the first time resorted to night bombing. During this period they made twenty-three such attacks, delivered by small groups of bombers from an altitude of 24,000 to 27,000 feet. In almost every case the searchlight batteries illuminated the planes before they reached the bomb release line. Many of the pilots seemed to be confused by the lights and turned away to approach from another direction; others jettisoned their bombs or abandoned the attack altogether. Those that got through were apparently too nervous and too anxious to get back to bomb with any accuracy. On the whole, the night attacks proved ineffective and after 6 April were discontinued.

By the beginning of April, the aerial bombardment was virtually over. Little additional damage had been received and comparatively few casualties had been suffered by the men who had had two months to prepare. All eyes were now turned to Bataan, upon which the Japanese had concentrated their entire air and artillery strength in preparation for the final assault For the next ten days, while the fight for Bataan ran its grim course to a bloody and tragic end, the men on Corregidor and its sister fortresses were granted a brief respite. Their turn, they knew, would come soon.

SOURCE: The Fall Of The Philippines by Louis Morton (United States Army Center of Military History)

World War Two: Fall of Philippines; Southern Islands (Part 5-28A)

World War Two: Fall of Philippines; Bataan (4-26); Surrender

A Study in how religious intolerance demonized witchcraft

The following shows how religion in it’s intolerance and jealousy  of losing its control over the population by a spiritual means, demonized the ones who had a working understanding of the natural world, outlawed the practitioners, tortured and murdered them by presenting the horrendous acts as the utterly ignorant notion of saving their souls. And capitalized upon by the literature of and during the 14th-20th centuries. If you compare “Magic’ to “Miracle” there is no difference, both are beyond the realm of understanding. What makes one more sacred than the other? [Editorial NOTE], Now I present:

“First, because Witchcraft is a rife and common sinne in these our daies, and very many are intangled with it, beeing either practitioners thereof in their owne persons, or at the least, yielding to seeke for helpe and counsell of such as practise it.” “A Discovrse of the Damned Art of Witchcraft”, PERKINS, 1610.

“And just as God has his human servants, his church on earth, so also the Devil has his–men and women sworn to his service and true to his bidding. To win such followers he can appear to men in any form he pleases, can deceive them, enter into compact with them, initiate them into his worship, make them his allies for the ruin of their fellows.
Now it is these human allies and servants of Satan, thus postulated into existence by the brain of a monkish logician, whom history knows as witches.” “The Literature of Witchcraft”, BURR.

Witchcraft in its generic sense is as old as human history. It has written its name in the oldest of human records. In all ages and among all peoples it has taken firm hold on the fears, convictions and consciences of men. Anchored in credulity and superstition, in the dread and love of mystery, in the hard and fast theologic doctrines and teachings of diabolism, and under the ban of the law from its beginning, it has borne a baleful fruitage in the lives of the learned and the unlearned, the wise and the simple.

King and prophet, prelate and priest, jurist and lawmaker, prince and peasant, scholars and men of affairs have felt and dreaded its subtle power, and sought relief in code and commandment, bull and anathema, decree and statute–entailing even the penalty of death–and all in vain until in the march of the races to a higher civilization, the centuries enthroned faith in the place of fear, wisdom in the place of ignorance, and sanity in the seat of delusion.

In its earlier historic conception witchcraft and its demonstrations centered in the claim of power to produce certain effects, “things beyond the course of nature,” from supernatural causes, and under this general term all its occult manifestations were classified with magic and sorcery, until the time came when the Devil was identified and acknowledged both in church and state as the originator and sponsor of the mystery, sin and crime–the sole father of the Satanic compacts with men and women, and the law both canonical and civil took cognizance of his malevolent activities.

In the Acropolis mound at Susa in ancient Elam, in the winter of 1901-2, there was brought to light by the French expedition in charge of the eminent savant, M. de Morgan, one of the most remarkable memorials of early civilization ever recovered from the buried cities of the Orient.

It is a monolith–a stele of black diorite–bearing in bas-relief a likeness of Hammurabi (the Amrephel of the Old Testament; Genesis xiv, 1), and the sixth king of the first Babylonian dynasty, who reigned about 2250 B.C.; and there is also carved upon it, in archaic script in black letter cuneiform–used long after the cursive writing was invented–the longest Babylonian record discovered to this day,–the oldest body of laws in existence and the basis of historical jurisprudence.

It is a remarkable code, quickly made available through translation and Trans-literation by the Assyrian scholars, and justly named, from its royal compiler, Hammurabi’s code. He was an imperialist in purpose and action, and in the last of his reign of fifty-five years he annexed or assimilated the suzerainty of Elam, or Southern Persia, with Assyria to the north, and also Syria and Palestine, to the Mediterranean Sea.

This record in stone originally contained nineteen columns of inscriptions of four thousand three hundred and fourteen lines, arranged in two hundred and eighty sections, covering about two hundred separate decisions or edicts. There is substantial evidence that many of the laws were of greater antiquity than the code itself, which is a thousand years older than the Mosaic code, and there are many striking resemblances and parallels between its provisions, and the law of the covenant, and the Deuteronomy laws of the Hebrews.

The code was based on personal responsibility. It protects the sanctity of an oath before God, provides among many other things for written evidence in legal matters, and is wonderfully comprehensive and rich in rules for the conduct of commercial, civic, financial, social, economic, and domestic affairs.

These sections are notably illustrative: “If a man, in a case (pending judgment), utters threats against the witnesses (or), does not establish the testimony that he has given, if that case be a case involving life, that man shall be put to death.

“If a judge pronounces a judgment, renders a decision, delivers a verdict duly signed and sealed and afterwards alters his judgment, they shall call that judge to account for the alteration of the judgment which he had pronounced, and he shall pay twelvefold the penalty which was in the said judgment, and, in the assembly, they shall expel him from his seat of judgment, and he shall not return, and with the judges in a case he shall not take his seat.

“If a man practices brigandage and is captured, that man shall be put to death.

“If a woman hates her husband, and says: ‘thou shalt not have me,’ they shall inquire into her antecedents for her defects; and if she has been a careful mistress and is without reproach and her husband has been going about and greatly belittling her, that woman has no blame. She shall receive her presents and shall go to her father’s house.

“If she has not been a careful mistress, has gadded about, has neglected her house and has belittled her husband, they shall throw that woman into the water.

“If a physician operates on a man for a severe wound with a bronze lancet and causes the man’s death, or opens an abscess (in the eye) of a man with a bronze lancet and destroys the man’s eye, they shall cut off his fingers.

“If a builder builds a house for a man and does not make its construction firm and the house, which he has built, collapses and causes the death of the owner of the house, that builder shall be put to death.”

It is, however, with only one of King Hammurabi’s wise laws that this inquiry has to do, and it is this: “If a man has placed an enchantment upon a man, and has not justified himself, he upon whom the enchantment is placed to the Holy River (Euphrates) shall go; into the Holy River he shall plunge. If the Holy River holds (drowns) him he who enchanted him shall take his house. If on the contrary, the man is safe and thus is innocent, the wizard loses his life, and his house.”

Or, as another translation has it: “If a man ban a man and cast a spell on him–if he cannot justify it he who has banned shall be killed.”

“If a man has cast a spell on a man and has not justified it, he on whom the spell has been thrown shall go to the River God, and plunge into the river. If the River God takes him he who has banned him shall be saved. If the River God show him to be innocent, and he be saved, he who banned him shall be killed, and he who plunged into the river shall take the house of him who banned him.”

There can be no more convincing evidence of the presence and power of the great witchcraft superstition among the primitive races than this earliest law; and it is to be especially noted that it prescribes one of the very tests of guilt–the proof by water–which was used in another form centuries later, on the continent, in England and New England, at Wurzburg and Bonn, at Rouen, in Suffolk, Essex and Devon, and at Salem and Hartford and Fairfield, when “the Devil starteth himself up in the pulpit, like a meikle black man, and calling the row (roll) everyone answered, Here!”


“To deny the possibility, nay actual evidence of witchcraft and sorcery, is at once to flatly contradict the revealed word of God in various passages both of the Old and New Testaments.” “Blackstone’s Commentaries” (Vol. 4, ch. 4, p. 60).

“It was simply the natural result of Puritanical teaching acting on the mind, predisposing men to see Satanic influence in life, and consequently eliciting the phenomena of witchcraft.” LECKY’s “Rationalism in Europe” (Vol. I, p. 123).

Witchcraft’s reign in many lands and among many peoples is also attested in its remarkable nomenclature. Consider its range in ancient, medieval and modern thought as shown in some of its definitions: Magic, sorcery, soothsaying, necromancy, astrology, wizardry, mysticism, occultism, and conjuring, of the early and middle ages; compacts with Satan, consorting with evil spirits, and familiarity with the Devil, of later times; all at last ripening into an epidemic demonopathy with its countless victims of fanaticism and error, malevolence and terror, of persecution and ruthless sacrifices.

It is still most potent in its evil, grotesque, and barbaric forms, in Fetichism, Voodooism, Bundooism, Obeahism, and Kahunaism, in the devil and animal ghost worship of the black races, completely exemplified in the arts of the Fetich wizard on the Congo; in the “Uchawi” of the Wasequhha mentioned by Stanley; in the marriage customs of the Soudan devil worshipers; in the practices of the Obeah men and women in the Caribbees–notably their power in matters of love and business, religion and war–in Jamaica; in the incantations of the kahuna in Hawaii; and in the devices of the voodoo or conjure doctor in the southern states; in the fiendish rites and ceremonies of the red men,–the Hoch-e-ayum of the Plains Indians, the medicine dances of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes, the fire dance of the Navajos, the snake dance of the Moquis, the sun dance of the Sioux, in the myths and tales of the Cherokees; and it rings in many tribal chants and songs of the East and West.

It lives as well, and thrives luxuriantly, ripe for the full vintage, in the minds of many people to whom this or that trivial incident or accident of life is an omen of good or evil fortune with a mysterious parentage. Its roots strike deep in that strange element in human nature which dreads whatsoever is weird and uncanny in common experiences, and sees strange portents and dire chimeras in all that is unexplainable to the senses. It is made most virile in the desire for knowledge of the invisible and intangible, that must ever elude the keenest inquiry, a phase of thought always to be reckoned with when imagination runs riot, and potent in its effect, though evanescent as a vision the brain sometimes retains of a dream, and as senseless in the cold light of reason as Monna Sidonia’s invocation at the Witches’ Sabbath: (“Romance of Leonardo da Vinci”, p. 97, MEREJKOWSKI.)

“Emen Hetan, Emen Hetan, Palu, Baalberi, Astaroth help us Agora, Agora, Patrisa, Come and help us.”

“Garr-r: Garr-r, up: Don’t knock Your head: We fly: We fly:”

And who may count himself altogether free from the subtle power of the old mystery with its fantastic imageries, when the spirit of unrest is abroad? Who is not moved by it in the awesome stillness of night on the plains, or in the silence of the mountains or of the somber forest aisles; in wild winter nights when old tales are told; in fireside visions as tender memories come and go? And who, when listening to the echoes of the chambers of the restless sea when deep calleth unto deep, does not hear amid them some weird and haunting refrain like Leland’s sea song?

“I saw three witches as the wind blew cold
In a red light to the lee;
Bold they were and overbold
As they sailed over the sea;
Calling for One Two Three;
Calling for One Two Three;
And I think I can hear
It a ringing in my ear,
A-calling for the One, Two, Three.”

Above all, in its literature does witchcraft exhibit the conclusive proof of its age, its hydra-headed forms, and its influence in the intellectual and spiritual development of the races of men.

What of this literature? Count in it all the works that treat of the subject in its many phases, and its correlatives, and it is limitless, a literature of all times and all lands.
Christian and pagan gave it place in their religions, dogmas, and articles of faith and discipline, and in their codes of law; and for four hundred years, from the appeal of Pope John XXII, in 1320, to extirpate the Devil-worshipers, to the repeal of the statute of James I in 1715, the delusion gave point and force to treatises, sermons, romances, and folk-lore, and invited, nay, compelled, recognition at the hands of the scientist and legist, the historian, the poet and the dramatist, the theologian and philosopher.

But the monographic literature of witchcraft, as it is here considered, is limited, in the opinion of a scholar versed in its lore, to fifteen hundred titles. There is a mass of unpublished materials in libraries and archives at home and abroad, and of information as to witchcraft and the witch trials, accessible in court records, depositions, and current accounts in public and private collections, all awaiting the coming of some master hand to transform them into an exhaustive history of the most grievous of human superstitions.

To this day, there has been no thorough investigation or complete analysis of the history of the witch persecutions. The true story has been distorted by partisanship and ignorance, and left to exploitation by the romancer, the empiric, and the sciolist.
“Of the origin and nature of the delusion we know perhaps enough; but of the causes and paths of its spread, of the extent of its ravages, of its exact bearing upon the intellectual and religious freedom of its times, of the soul-stirring details of the costly struggle by which it was overborne we are lamentably ill informed.” (“The Literature of Witchcraft”, p. 66, BURR.)

It must serve in this brief narrative to merely note, within the centuries which marked the climax of the mania, some of the most authoritative and influential works in giving strength to its evil purpose and the modes of accusation, trial, and punishment.
Modern scholarship holds that witchcraft, with the Devil as the arch enemy of mankind for its cornerstone, was first exploited by the Dominicans of the Inquisition. They blazed the tortuous way for the scholastic theology which in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries gave new recognition to Satan and his satellites as the sworn enemies of God and his church, and the Holy Inquisition with its massive enginery, open and secret, turned its attention to the exposure and extirpation of the heretics and sinners who were enlisted in the Devil’s service.

Take for adequate illustration these standard authorities in the early periods of the widespread and virulent epidemic: Those of the Inquisitor General, Eymeric, in 1359, entitled “Tractatus contra daemonum”; the Formicarius or Ant Hill of the German Dominican Nider, 1337; the “De calcatione daemonum”, 1452; the “Flagellum haereticorum fascinariorum” of the French Inquisitor Jaquier in 1458; and the “Fortalitium fidei” of the Spanish Franciscan Alonso de Spina, in 1459; the famous and infamous manual of arguments and rules of procedure for the detection and punishment of witches, compiled by the German Inquisitors Kraemer and Sprenger (Institor) in 1489, buttressed on the bull of Pope Innocent VIII; (this was the celebrated “Witch Hammer”, bearing on its title page the significant legend, ““Not to believe in witchcraft is the greatest of heresies””); the Canon Episcopi; the bulls of Popes John XXII, 1330, Innocent VIII, 1484, Alexander VI, 1494, Leo X, 1521, and Adrian VI, 1522; the Decretals of the canon law; the exorcisms of the Roman and Greek churches, all hinged on scriptural precedents; the Roman law, the Twelve Tables, and the Justinian Code, the last three imposing upon the crimes of conjuring, exorcising, magical arts, offering sacrifices to the injury of one’s neighbors, sorcery, and witchcraft, the penalties of death by torture, fire, or crucifixion.

Add to these classics some of the later authorities: the “Daemonologie” of the royal inquisitor James I of England and Scotland, 1597; Mores’ “Antidote to Atheism”; Fuller’s “Holy and Profane State”; Granvil’s “Sadducismus Triumphatus”, 1681; “Tryal of Witches at the Assizes for the County of Suffolk before Sir Matthew Hale, March, 1664” (London, 1682); Baxter’s “Certainty of the World of Spirits”, 1691; Cotton Mather’s “A Discourse on Witchcraft”, 1689, his “Late Memorable Providences Relating to Witchcrafts and Possessions”, 1684, and his “Wonders of the Invisible World”, 1692; and enough references have been made to this literature of delusion, to the precedents that seared the consciences of courts and juries in their sentences of men, women, and children to death by the rack, the wheel, the stake, and the gallows.

Where in history are the horrors of the curse more graphically told than in the words of Canon Linden, an eye witness of the demonic deeds at Trier (Treves) in 1589?
“And so, from court to court throughout the towns and villages of all the diocese, scurried special accusers, inquisitors, notaries, jurors, judges, constables, dragging to trial and torture human beings of both sexes and burning them in great numbers. Scarcely any of those who were accused escaped punishment. Nor were there spared even the leading men in the city of Trier. For the Judge, with two Burgomasters, several Councilors and Associate Judges, canons of sundry collegiate churches, parish-priests, rural deans, were swept away in this ruin. So far, at length, did the madness of the furious populace and of the courts go in this thirst for blood and booty that there was scarcely anybody who was not smirched by some suspicion of this crime.

“Meanwhile notaries, copyists, and innkeepers grew rich. The executioner rode a blooded horse, like a noble of the court, and went clad in gold and silver; his wife vied with noble dames in the richness of her array. The children of those convicted and punished were sent into exile; their goods were confiscated; plowman and vintner failed.” (“The Witch Persecutions”, pp. 13-14, BURR.)

Fanaticism did not rule and ruin without hindrance and remonstrance. Men of great learning and exalted position struck mighty blows at the root of the evil. They could not turn the tide but they stemmed it, and their attacks upon the whole theory of Satanic power and the methods of persecution were potent in the reaction to humanity and a reign of reason.

Always to be remembered among these men of power are Johann Wier, Friedrich Spee, and notably Reginald Scot, who in his “Discovery of Witchcraft”, in 1584, undertook to prove that “the contracts and compacts of witches with devils and all infernal spirits and familiars, are but erroneous novelties and erroneous conceptions.”
“After all it is setting a high value on our conjectures to roast a man alive on account of them.” (MONTAIGNE.)

Who may measure in romance and the drama the presence, the cogent and undeniable power of those same abiding elements of mysticism and mystery, which underlie all human experience, and repeated in myriad forms find their classic expression in the queries of the “Weird Sisters,” ““those elemental avengers without sex or kin””?
“When shall we three meet again,
In thunder, lightning or in rain?
When the hurly burly’s done,
When the battle’s lost and won.”

Are not the mummeries of the witches about the cauldron in Macbeth, and Talbot’s threat pour la Pucelle, “Blood will I draw on thee, thou art a witch,” uttered so long ago, echoed in the wailing cry of La Meffraye in the forests of Machecoul, in the maledictions of Grio, and of the Saga of the Burning Fields?

Their vitality is also clearly shown in their constant use and exemplification by the romance and novel writers who appeal with certainty and success to the popular taste in the tales of spectral terrors. Witness: Farjeon’s “The Turn of the Screw”; Bierce’s “The Damned Thing”; Bulwer’s “A Strange Story”; Cranford’s “Witch of Prague”; Howells’ “The Shadow of a Dream”; Winthrop’s “Cecil Dreeme”; Grusot’s “Night Side of Nature”; Crockett’s Black Douglas; and “The Red Axe”, Francis’ “Lychgate Hall”; Caine’s “The Shadow of a Crime”; and countless other stories, traditions, tales, and legends, written and unwritten, that invite and receive a gracious hospitality on every hand.


“A belief in witchcraft had always existed; it was entertained by Coke, Bacon, Hale and even Blackstone. It was a misdemeanor at English common law and made a felony without benefit of clergy by 33 Henry VIII, c. 8, and 5 Eliz., c. 16, and the more severe statute of I Jas. 1, ch. 12.” “Connecticut–Origin of her Courts and Laws” (N.E. States, Vol I, p. 487-488), HAMERSLEY.

“Selden took up a somewhat peculiar and characteristic position. He maintained that the law condemning women to death for witchcraft was perfectly just, but that it was quite unnecessary to ascertain whether witchcraft was a possibility. A woman might not be able to destroy the life of her neighbor by her incantations; but if she intended to do so, it was right that she should be hung.” “Rationalism in Europe” (Vol. 1, p. 123) LECKY.

The fundamental authority for legislation, for the decrees of courts and councils as to witchcraft, from the days of the Witch of Endor to those of Mercy Disborough of Fairfield, and Giles Corey of Salem Farms, was the code of the Hebrews and its recognition in the Gospel dispensations. Thereon rest most of the historic precedents, legislative, ecclesiastical, and judicial.
“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Exodus xxii, 18.

What law embalmed in ancientry and honored as of divine origin has been more fruitful of sacrifice and suffering? Through the Scriptures, gathering potency as it goes, runs the same grim decree, with widening definitions.
“And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits and after wizards … I will even set my face against that soul and will cut him off from among his people.” Deuteronomy xviii, 10-11.

“There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.” Deuteronomy xviii, 10-11.

“Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards out of the land.” Samuel i, 3.

“Now Saul the king of the Hebrews, had cast out of the country the fortune tellers, and the necromancers, and all such as exercised the like arts, excepting the prophets…. Yet did he bid his servants to inquire out for him some woman that was a necromancer, and called up the souls of the dead, that so he might know whether his affairs would succeed to his mind; for this sort of necromantic women that bring up the souls of the dead, do by them foretell future events.” Josephus, Book 6, ch. 14.

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.” Samuel i, 15-23.
“And I will cut off witchcraft out of the land.” Micah v. 12.
“Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together and burned them.” Acts xix, 19.
“But there was a certain man called Simon which before time in the same city used sorcery and bewitched the people of Samaria.” Acts viii, 9.
“If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered, and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”[C] John xv, 6.

[Footnote C: In the opinion of the eminent Italian jurist Bartolo, witches were burned alive in early times on this authority.]

These citations make clear the scriptural recognition of witchcraft as a heinous sin and crime. It is, however, necessary to draw a broad line of demarcation between the ancient forms and manifestations which have been brought into view for an illustrative purpose, and that delusion or mania which centered in the theologic belief and teaching that Satan was the arch enemy of mankind, and clothed with such power over the souls of men as to make compacts with them, and to hold supremacy over them in the warfare between good and evil.
The church from its earliest history looked upon witchcraft as a deadly sin, and disbelief in it as a heresy, and set its machinery in motion for its extirpation. Its authority was the word of God and the civil law, and it claimed jurisdiction through the ecclesiastical courts, the secular courts, however, acting as the executive of their decrees and sentences.
Such was the cardinal principle which governed in the merciless attempts to suppress the epidemic in spreading from the continent to England and Scotland, and at last to the Puritan colonies in America, where the last chapter of its history was written.

There can be no better, no more comprehensive modern definition of the crime once a heresy, or of the popular conception of it, than the one set forth in the New England indictments, to wit: “interteining familiarity with Satan the enemy of mankind, and by his help doing works above the course of nature.”
In few words Henry Charles Lea, in his “History of the Inquisition in the Middle Ages”, analyzes the development of the Satanic doctrine from a superstition into its acceptance as a dogma of Christian belief.

“As Satan’s principal object in his warfare with God was to seduce human souls from their divine allegiance, he was ever ready with whatever temptation seemed most likely to effect his purpose. Some were to be won by physical indulgence; others by conferring on them powers enabling them apparently to forecast the future, to discover hidden things, to gratify enmity, and to acquire wealth, whether through forbidden arts or by the services of a familiar demon subject to their orders. As the neophyte in receiving baptism renounced the devil, his pomps and his angels, it was necessary for the Christian who desired the aid of Satan to renounce God. Moreover, as Satan when he tempted Christ offered him the kingdoms of the earth in return for adoration–‘If thou therefore wilt worship me all shall be thine’ (Luke iv, 7)–there naturally arose the idea that to obtain this aid it was necessary to render allegiance to the prince of hell. Thence came the idea, so fruitful in the development of sorcery, of compacts with Satan by which sorcerers became his slaves, binding themselves to do all the evil they could to follow their example. Thus the sorcerer or witch was an enemy of all the human race as well as of God, the most efficient agent of hell in its sempiternal conflict with heaven. His destruction, by any method, was therefore the plainest duty of man.

“This was the perfected theory of sorcery and witchcraft by which the gentle superstitions inherited and adopted from all sides were fitted into the Christian dispensation and formed part of its accepted creed.” (“History of Inquisition in the Middle Ages”, 3, 385, LEA.)

Once the widespread superstition became adapted to the forms of religious faith and discipline, and “the prince of the power of the air” was clothed with new energies, the Devil was taken broader account of by Christianity itself; the sorcery of the ancients was embodied in the Christian conception of witchcraft; and the church undertook to deal with it as a heresy; the door was opened wide to the sweep of the epidemic in some of the continental lands.

In Bamburg and Wurzburg, Geneva and Como, Toulouse and Lorraine, and in many other places in Italy, Germany, and France, thousands were sacrificed in the names of religion, justice, and law, with bigotry for their advocate, ignorance for their judge, and fanaticism for their executioner. The storm of demonism raged through three centuries, and was stayed only by the mighty barriers of protest, of inquiry, of remonstrance, and the forces that crystallize and mold public opinion, which guides the destinies of men in their march to a higher civilization.

The flames burning so long and so fiercely on the continent at first spread slowly in England and Scotland. Sorcery in some of its guises had obtained therein ever since the Conquest, and victims had been burned under the king’s writ after sentence in the ecclesiastical courts; but witchcraft as a compact with Satan was not made a felony until 1541, by a statute of Henry VIII. Cranmer, in his “Articles of Visitation” in 1549, enjoined the clergy to inquire as to any craft invented by the Devil; and Bishop Jewell, preaching before the queen in 1558, said: “It may please your Grace to understand that witches and sorcerers within these last few years are marvelously increased within your Grace’s realm, Your Grace’s subjects pine away even unto the death, their colour fadeth, their flesh rotteth, their speech is benumbed, their senses are bereft.”

The act of 1541 was amended in Queen Elizabeth’s reign, in 1562, but at the accession of James I–himself a fanatic and bigot in religious matters, and the author of the famous “Daemonologie”–a new law was enacted with exact definition of the crime, which remained in force more than a hundred years. Its chief provision was this: “If any person or persons use, practice or exercise any invocation or conjuration of any evil and wicked spirit, or shall consult, covenant with, entertain, employ, feed or reward any evil and wicked spirit to or for any intent or purpose, or take up any dead man, woman, or child out of his, her or their grave, or any other place where the dead body resteth or the skin, bone, or any part of any dead person, to be employed or used in any manner of witchcraft, sorcery, charm, or enchantment, or shall use, practise, or exercise any witchcraft, enchantment, charm, or sorcery, whereby any person shall be killed, destroyed, wasted, consumed, pined or lamed in his or her body or any part thereof: every such offender is a felon without benefit of clergy.”
Under this law, and the methods of its administration, witchcraft so called increased; persecutions multiplied, especially under the Commonwealth, and notably in the eastern counties of England, whence so many of all estates, all sorts and conditions of men, had fled over seas to set up the standard of independence in the Puritan colonies.

Many executions occurred in Lancashire, in Suffolk, Essex, and Huntingdonshire, where the infamous scoundrel “Witch-finder-General” Matthew Hopkins, under the sanction of the courts, was “pricking,” “waking,” “watching,” and “testing” persons suspected or accused of witchcraft, with fiendish ingenuity of indignity and torture. Says James Howell in his “Familiar Letters”, in 1646:
“We have multitudes of witches among us; for in Essex and Suffolk there were above two hundred indicted within these two years, and above the half of them executed.”

“Within the compass of two years (1645-7), near upon three hundred witches were arraigned, and the major part of them executed in Essex and Suffolk only. Scotland swarms with them more and more, and persons of good quality are executed daily.”

Scotland set its seal on witchcraft as a crime by an act of its parliament so early as 1563, amended in 1649. The ministers were the inquisitors and persecutors. They heard the confessions, and inflicted the tortures, and their cruelties were commensurate with the hard and fast theology that froze the blood of mercy in their veins.

The trials were often held by special commissions issued by the privy council, on the petition of a presbytery or general assembly. It was here that those terrible instruments of torture, the caschielawis, the lang irnis, the boot and the pilliewinkis, were used to wring confessions from the wretched victims. It is all a strange and gruesome story of horrors told in detail in the state trial records, and elsewhere, from the execution of Janet Douglas–Lady Glammis–to that of the poor old woman at Dornoch who warmed herself at the fire set for her burning. So firmly seated in the Scotch mind was the belief in witchcraft as a sin and crime, that when the laws against it were repealed in 1736, Scotchmen in the highest stations of church and state remonstrated against the repeal as contrary to the law of God; and William Forbes, in his “Institutes of the Law of Scotland,” calls witchcraft “that black art whereby strange and wonderful things are wrought by a power derived from the devil.”

This glance at what transpired on the continent and in England and Scotland is of value, in the light it throws on the beliefs and convictions of both Pilgrim and Puritan–Englishmen all–in their new domain, their implicit reliance on established precedents, their credulity in witchcraft matters, and their absolute trust in scriptural and secular authority for their judicial procedure, and the execution of the grim sentences of the courts, until the revolting work of the accuser and the searcher, and the delusion of the ministers and magistrates aflame with mistaken zeal vanished in the sober afterthought, the reaction of the public mind and conscience, which at last crushed the machinations of the Devil and his votaries in high places.

SOURCE: The Witchcraft Delusion In Colonial Connecticut 1647-1697: By John M. Taylor (Printed: 1908)

Witchcraft Delusion In Colonial Connecticut 1647-1697 (Part 2); Using the Law

World News Headlines: 01-08-2019


Attackers knock Bremen AfD leader Frank Magnitz unconscious in street; Police have launched an investigation after the Bremen state chairman of the far-right Alternative for Germany was attacked by three masked men. Frank Magnitz was knocked unconscious with a piece of wood. Police are looking for three men who attacked and injured Frank Magnitz, party leader of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the city state of Bremen. A police report said the incident happened on Monday afternoon, near Bremen’s Goetheplatz. Magnitz, a member of Germany’s lower house of parliament, was attacked by three masked men, AfD party officials said in a statement. Magnitz had left a New Year reception hosted by local newspaper the Weser-Kurier shortly before. He was knocked unconscious with a piece of wood and kicked in the head as he lay on the ground, the party said. A construction worker was said to have intervened and stopped the attack. The 66-year-old Magnitz was reported to be in hospital, having sustained “severe” injuries.

Guatemala pulls out of UN-backed anti-corruption commission; The decision comes after more than a year of tension between the government and the UN-sponsored anti-corruption group. The independent body is investigating top officials and people close to President Jimmy Morales. Guatemala will end a UN-sponsored anti-corruption commission, which has been investigating high-ranking members of the country’s government and President Jimmy Morales’ campaign financing. For more than a decade, the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has had the power to conduct independent investigations in cooperation with the country’s prosecutors. Foreign Minister Sandra Jovel announced Guatemala would abruptly pull out of the CICIG eight months earlier than expected after meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday. “Therefore we reported to the secretary-general that within 24 hours the agreement [establishing the CICIG] will be terminated by the Guatemalan government,” she said. Jovel accused the CICIG of overreaching its authority and interfering in Guatemala’s sovereignty.

Taiwan arrests BASF staff for selling secrets to China; Taiwan police have arrested at least six people for passing trade secrets to a Chinese company. Beijing has come under increased criticism for failing to stop intellectual property theft. Taiwanese authorities on Monday announced they had arrested six current and former employees of German chemicals giant BASF for passing trade secrets to a Chinese company. The Taiwan Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said engineers were involved in a plot “to leak crucial technology and manufacturing processes … to make illegal profits.” The engineers had received at least $1.3 million (€1.1 million) out of nearly $6 million offered by China-based Jiangyin Jianghua Microelectronics Materials Co., said CIB director Lu Sung Hao.The engineers, including at least one senior manager, are suspected of selling the Jiangsu-based company electronic manufacturing processes to build a chemicals plant in mainland China. BASF said that only one of the engineers arrested in Taiwan was still an employee and that their contract had been suspended for now. “We have taken immediate steps to support the investigation led by local law enforcement officials and protect the relevant information,” said BASF.

Germany investigates disappeared citizens in Egypt; Two German nationals have disappeared in Egypt, one after encountering authorities at Cairo airport. The German government said it had been investigating the “separate cases” for days now. The German Foreign Ministry on Monday said two German men with dual citizenship have disappeared in Egypt. “There are two separate cases of German citizens who have been reported missing,” said a ministry spokesman. “We have been dealing with them for a few days now and we are taking both cases very seriously.” One of the men, an 18-year-old from the central city of Giessen, is believed to have disappeared before he was scheduled to take a domestic flight from Luxor to Cairo, according to his father. “It has been three weeks and there is no trace,” the man’s father told German news agency dpa. “Nobody knows if he is still alive.” The other man, a 23-year-old from Göttingen, was detained at Cairo airport while attempting to enter the country. His current location is unclear, but dpa reported that he may be held in “the headquarters of the intelligence agency,” citing contacts on the ground.

Brazil: Bolsonaro smear prompts environment agency chief resignation; Suely Araujo accused far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of making “baseless accusations” about the agency’s budget. Bolsonaro wrote in a tweet that the environmental agency “financially violated” Brazilians. The head of Brazil’s environment agency has quit following the latest attack against the agency by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Suely Araujo resigned from IBAMA after Bolsonaro republished a tweet from his environmental minister criticizing the agency’s decision to spend more than 28 million reais ($7.7 million, €6.7 million) on rental patrol trucks. “We’ve had a system created mainly to financially violate Brazilians without the slightest care,” Bolsonaro wrote in the tweet.

France plans tougher laws to counter yellow vest protests; France has said it plans to ban participation in unauthorized demonstrations in an effort to counter the ongoing yellow vest movement. The government is scrambling to put an end to the increasingly violent protests. France plans to introduce tough legislation to ban unauthorized demonstrations and sanction rioters in response to violent yellow vest protests, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced.
Eight weeks into demonstrations that have led to riots and clashes with police in Paris and other cities, the French government is struggling to deal with the leaderless movement that has become increasingly radicalized.


Ghosn denies allegations; Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn has denied an aggravated breach of trust charge against him in his first court appearance since he was arrested almost two months ago.

Japan FM hints at countering S.Korea asset seizure; Japan’s foreign minister says the government is considering necessary measures in case a Japanese firm is impacted by a wartime labor lawsuit in South Korea. Taro Kono was speaking to reporters during a visit to India. A group of South Korean plaintiffs who won the suit against Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal applied to the court last week to seize some of the company’s assets in lieu of compensation.Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the move “extremely regrettable” when he appeared in an NHK program on Sunday. He said he has instructed relevant ministries to study specific counter-measures in accordance with international law. Kono said the Foreign Ministry is closely coordinating with other government offices to prevent the Japanese company from being treated unfairly. He urged the South Korean side to quickly handle the matter.

Harajuku attacker had 100 liters of kerosene; A man arrested in Tokyo after plowing his car into crowds in the early hours of New Year’s Day bought nearly 100 liters of kerosene before the attack. Kazuhiro Kusakabe, 21, from Neyagawa in Osaka Prefecture, rammed his rental car into pedestrians on Takeshita Street in the Harajuku district. Nine people were injured, including a 19-year-old university student who is in a critical condition. Tokyo Metropolitan Police arrested Kusakabe on suspicion of attempted murder. Officers also discovered a high-pressure water sprayer with an ignition tool attached to the nozzle inside the car. The suspect told police that he planned to set fire to nearby Meiji Shrine after dispersing kerosene with the high-pressure sprayer. The historic shrine would have been packed with New Year visitors at the time. However, he said he drove into Takeshita Street instead after failing to carry out his initial plan. The police later found the suspect had rented the car in Osaka on December 30th and bought nearly 100 liters of kerosene. Tokyo police suspect he planned an indiscriminate attack by spraying crowds with kerosene before setting fire to them using the modified device as a flame projector.

N.Korean leader visiting China; Media reports say North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is visiting China. China’s state-run news agency, Xinhua, says Kim is in China from Monday to Thursday at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
North Korea’s ruling party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, said in Tuesday’s edition that Kim left Pyongyang on Monday afternoon on a special train. It says Kim is accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol Ju. A front page photo shows the couple being seen off by officials. NHK confirmed a heavy police presence at a train station in China’s northeastern border city of Dandong in Liaoning Province on Monday evening. Security was also stepped up at a bridge between the two countries. This is Kim’s fourth visit to China — Pyongyang’s key backer. The previous trips were made last year. The North Korean leader marks his birthday on Tuesday. He is expected to hold talks with Xi on the denuclearization — an issue that has made little headway between North Korea and the United States.

Fire breaks out at Cambodia casino building; A fire has broken out at a building that houses a casino in Cambodia, reportedly leaving several people injured. The country’s state-run media said the blaze engulfed the 18-story building in the city of Poipet, near the border with Thailand, on Monday night. The injured are reported to be receiving treatment at a hospital. A woman who works in the neighborhood told NHK that a majority of visitors to the casino were from China. She said that many tried to flee the building after the fire broke out, with some climbing to the rooftop asking for help. She added the building was recently completed. Poipet boasts a number of casinos for foreigners and is a popular destination for Chinese tourists.