The Colossal Gun of the Island: Battery Hearn – Beautiful Sunday
My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108
Welcome to the fifth installation of our adventure in the historical island of Corregidor in the Philippines. An island filled with the beauty of nature, historical artifacts of war and mystery. Last time we stopped over at Battery Way which is one of the mortar installations that defended the island. This time let me take you to see the biggest gun on the island and listen to the echoes of its roar.
Visit the earlier parts of our adventure
The Colossal Gun of the Island: Battery Hearn
Our journey continues on but this time I was on my own. Everyone was tired and I left them at the fork between the road to Mile Long Barracks and the Road to Battery Way. Battery Hearn will take about 7 minutes walk from Battery Way. As I mentioned before these are just estimated time frame in reaching the destination and is completely different when it comes to the actual walking.
Alone I continued on with the exploration wanting to see the biggest gun that defended the island. Along the way there are other ruins that still stands. The ordinance repair shop which I think was used to repair weapons of all sorts. As we are pressed for time I wasn’t able to examine the repair shop closer.
As I reached another crossroad, I saw this marker “In Memory of Pvt. Lloyd G McCarter. There were no other information who Pvt. Lloyd G McCarter was. I had to find out who this soldier was and found out that he received a Medal of Honor during the retaking of Corregidor Island. As the story goes he and his regiment parachuted an assault on February 16,1945. Under extreme enemy fire he crossed 30 yards of open ground. He disabled an enemy machine gun at close range with hand grenades and he killed 6 enemy snipers.
One evening a large enemy force attempted to bypass his company. He positioned himself in an open area and fired on the enemy to draw fire to himself. The enemy opened fire to his location all night but was repelled by Lloyd. Everyone in his company was injured but Lloyd encouraged everyone of them and continued to expose himself to the enemy to pinpoint their location. He crawled multiple times back to American line to gather more ammo for his assault. He kept firing his submachine gun until it was no longer operational. He needed a weapon so he secured himself an automatic rifle and continued on with his aggressive assault on the enemy.
With his intense attack he inflicted massive casualties on the enemies and again his weapon became too hot to use. He threw away his weapon and acquired an M-1 rifle to continue the fight. At the break of dawn the enemy attacked ferociously but he stood in the midst of the attack to locate the enemy position . Although he fought like an indestructible fighting machine he got seriously wounded not until he killed more than 30 of the enemies. Seriously injured he refused to retreat until he he could accurately pinpoint the objectives for attack. He faced danger head on with extraordinary bravery and his contribution led to the recapture of the island.
There are 12 Battery installations across the island in which we were able to visit only two of them. If we had more time to spend and a means of transportation we would be able to visit each site. It would be amazing to see them all as each installation has rich history and amazing stories of courage, bravery and sacrifice.
Construction of the gun started in 1918 and was finished in 1921. The total cost of Battery Hearn along with Battery Smith was $148,105. Originally the two guns was named Battery Smith 1 and 2. In 1937 Battery 2 was renamed to Hearn in honor of Brigdier General Clint C. Hearn. He was the commander of the Harbor Defenses in Manila along with Subic Bay during 1917.
When Corregidor surrendered, the crew disabled the gun to prevent the Japanese from using it. It was not disabled completely and the Japanese used American POWs to bring it back to service. The photo below shows the original barrel of the gun. To have it back fully operational they also took parts from Battery Smith.
There were two shells used with this gun one is the 1,000 lb armor piercing shell and the 670 lb high explosive shell. Both required a 270 lb bagged charge to launch. It’s range can reach up to 30,000 yards, 17 miles or 7.4 km. At the firing elevation between 15 and 35 degrees, the gun could cover a full 360 degree field. The gun can fire one round every 55 seconds and the crew was composed of an officer and 33 men. This was operated by Battery A 59th Coast Artillery division commanded by Captain Samuel McF McReynolds.
The cartridges are loaded underneath but now it is fully submerged in water.
In January 1945 the Americans were on a siege to reclaim the island. A B-24 bomber dropped a large bomb beside Battery Hearn which permanently disabled the gun. Traces of the assault are still visible on the gun itself. Multiple marks on the barrel from the large bomb serves as a reminder of the triumphant re taking of the island.
One of the weakness of this installation is the circular shape of the concrete which makes it like a bulls eye with the gun in the center. This allowed the Americans to make a direct hit on this area disabling it during the re capture.
This bunker contained the strategy room, power room and communications. It also included a room that stored the shells and powder.
It was an amazing experience seeing the colossal Battery Hearn up close. The stories of the brave soldiers and relics will stay with you forever once to visit and learn more about Corregidor. I try my best to open a window from our country and share our experience the best way I can.
Thank you for joining me and I hope to see you again. On our next episode I will take you on a trip to visit the mysterious Haunted Hospital of Corregidor. Until then stay safe everyone and enjoy the rest of the weekend.
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All photos are original and taken with
Lumix GX85 12-32 mm kit lens