Fort Drum (El Fraile Island)
Fort Drum (El Fraile Island), also known as the “concrete battleship,” is a heavily fortified island fortress situated at the mouth of Manila Bay in the Philippines, due south of Corregidor Island.
Originally a barren rock island, it was leveled by U.S. Army engineers between 1910 and 1914 and then built up with thick layers of steel-reinforced concrete into a massive structure roughly resembling a concrete ship. The fort was topped with a pair of armored steel gun turrets, each mounting two 14 inch guns. Searchlights, anti-aircraft batteries, and a fire direction tower were also mounted on its upper surface. The 25- to 36-foot thick fortress walls protected extensive ammunition magazines, machine spaces, and living quarters for the 200-man garrison.
After the outbreak of war in the Pacific on December 7, 1941 Fort Drum withstood heavy Japanese air and land bombardment as it supported U.S. and Filipino defenders on Bataan and Corregidor. Fort Drum surrendered to Japanese forces following the fall of Corregidor Island on May 6, 1942 and was subsequently occupied by Japanese forces. In 1945 as part of the offensive to recapture Manila, Ft Drum was assaulted by US forces. After a heavy aerial bombardment, US troops gained access to the deck of the fort on 13 April, and were able to confine the garrison below. Rather than attempting to break in, the troops and engineers pumped gasoline into the fort through air vents on the top deck, and ignited it, annihilating the garrison inside. With the fort neutralized, Japanese resistance in the Manila Bay area was ended. The ruins of Fort Drum, including its disabled turrets and 14 inch guns, remain at the mouth of Manila Bay.