This week we rolled back the clock with journalist and author Kevin Maurer as we talk about his most recent book Rock Force: The American Paratroopers Who Took Back Corregidor and Exacted MacArthur’s Revenge on Japan.
Corregidor, as known as “The Rock” or the “Gibraltar of the East” was the scene of one of the worst defeats in American military history. Corregidor was the largest of four fortified islands protecting the mouth of Manila Bay. It had been fortified prior to World War I with powerful coastal artillery. It was relatively small, just 3.5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide at its head, and only two miles from Bataan. Its widest elevated area, known as Topside, held most of the fort’s 56 coastal artillery pieces and installations. A labyrinth of tunnels connected the gun emplacements that housed 1,000 troops and a hospital.
After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and invaded the Philippines, Corregidor came under siege from December 29, 1941, through April 1942. After the fall of Bataan, the Japanese landed troops on Corregidor. The bloody fighting continued until May when General Jonathan Wainwright, who commanded the American and Filipino forces after General MacArthur’s evacuation, surrendered.
By late 1944, the war had turned and MacArthur was leading a monumental, but unnecessary, campaign to retake the Philippines. Thus, retaking “The Rock” was of huge symbolical importance to the Americans.
Rock Force has been called a “genuine, compelling and utterly riveting” account of the harrowing fight for Corregidor in a way that “captures the language and trappings of World War II.” It’s truly a must-read for any history buff.
Kevin Maurer is a very experienced author. He spent time embedded with Special Forces operators in Afghanistan and with the 82nd Airborne. He also co-wrote the book No Easy Day with Navy SEAL Mark Owen that recounts the raid that took out Osama bin Laden. So, he knows how to tell a military story.
Don’t miss our full review of Maurer’s book Rock Force on SOFREP.