today's (yet again, quick) episode of WWII exotica (I'm moving to S. America, preparing a dinner for 35 people, a brunch for 40 people, cleaning house and finishing projects for 2 major clients, so I hope you're appreciating this) concerns Fort Drum.
Sited on El Fraile island in the middle of the entrance to Manila Harbor, Ft. Drum was a concrete blockhouse built on top of an earlier Spanish fort. The idea was to build a "concrete battleship" (this was before people realized that air >> ships) to hold off enemy vessels attempting to enter the harbor.
Built from 1909-1919, it mounted several mortars and two turrets of 14" naval guns. as well as miscellaneous 6" and 11" rifles, AA guns and machine guns, along with two heavy searchlights. The garrison consisted of around 200 men. War Plan Orange (reference: the Rainbow Plans; Samuel Eliot Morison has some great books on the topic if you're interested) specified that it was to hold off any enemy fleet from Manila; this it did well enough to cover Bataan's flank in early 1942.
Initial Japanese attacks started hitting it via artillery from Cavite in early February 1942; air attacks in March and April were largely ineffective, despite Ft. Drum's weak AA, due to blinding lights from Corregidor and Bataan. When Corregidor surrendered on May 7 1942, up to 5 meters of its concrete deck had been whittled away by Japanese bombardment. Fort Drum was surrendered along with the Corregidor garrison.
The fort was subsequently occupied by the Japanese; Neal Stevenson's book Cryptonomicon has a fun, albeit fictional account of what they were up to there. On a travel site I found the following account of the Marines' assault on Ft. Drum in 1945:
To liberate Fort Drum, which was impregnable to gunfire, the Americans devised special tactics. On Friday, April 13, a Landing Ship Medium (LSM) pulled up alongside Fort Drum and discharged two platoons of soldiers by means of a specially built ramp on top of the LSM. One platoon consisted of crack snipers to cover every opening where Japanese soldiers may appear. The other platoon comprised engineers assigned to plant demolition charges. When the charges were in place, a Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM) that had also sidled alongside the fort poured 3,000 gallons of oil into one of the vents while explosives were dumped into another vent. The fuses were lit, and the LCM and LSM moved to a safe distance. The charges were detonated, resulting in a series of explosions that hurled Fort Drum's one-ton, one-meter diameter manhole cover 50 meters straight up into the air. It was not until April 18 that the Americans could enter the fort. They discovered 65 charred bodies. [ATTACH]43861[/ATTACH]
Ft. Drum, along with the island of Corregidor, is a national monument (Filipino or US, I'm not sure which.)
More info at
Most pictures here are from the latter site, which has tons more. More information about the US army in the Philippines 1941-1942:
I didn't make it!
wow cool nice little thingy! why feed so many mouths for?
Nice one Fuzzy
*Wants more weird stuff of that kind* I would love to hear more about superoverfortrified areas,buildings in WW2!
'[21PzStauffenberg']*Wants more weird stuff of that kind* I would love to hear more about superoverfortrified areas,buildings in WW2!
I intend to do German Flak towers, the Maginot line, Atlantic Wall, the National Redoubt (both the German and the Swiss one) and a number of other fortifications, all in due time. :-)