Citation
Security and defense of the Panama Canal, 1903-2000

Material Information

Title:
Security and defense of the Panama Canal, 1903-2000
Cover title:
Panama Canal security & defense, 1903-2000
Creator:
Morris, Charles ( author )
Donor:
Panama Canal Museum
Language:
English
Physical Description:
xiii, 158 pages : illustrations, maps ; 28 cm

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
National security -- United States ( lcsh )
Diplomatic relations ( fast )
National security ( fast )
Security systems ( fast )
Strategic aspects of individual places ( fast )
Security measures -- Panama Canal (Panama) ( lcsh )
Foreign relations -- United States -- Panama ( lcsh )
Foreign relations -- Panama -- United States ( lcsh )
Strategic aspects -- Canal Zone ( lcsh )
Canal Zone ( fast )
Panama ( fast )
Panama -- Panama Canal ( fast )
United States ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 153-158).
General Note:
Date of publication inferred from contents.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Charles Morris.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact Digital Services (UFDC@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
029849587 ( ALEPH )
38149492 ( OCLC )
Classification:
HE538.S43 M67 1994 ( lcc )

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Full Text
~1






Donated to the
Panama Canal Museum
by
Chris Skeie o - l- o57

















SECURITY AND DEFENSE

OF THE
* PANAMA CANAL

1.903 - 2000




G i of he Panama canai Museum





















































ii







SECURITY AND DEFENSE

OF THE

PANAMA ,CANAL

1903- 2000



by

CHARLES MORRIS


PANAMA CANAL COMMISSION
PRINTING OFFICE
Balboa Heights, Republic of Panama


iii











CONTENTS


INTRODUCTION CHAPTERS I. FIRST CANAL DEFENDERS

- Panamanian Independence Movement
-tCanal Construction Period

11. ORIGINAL CANAL DEFENSES

- Concept of Defense
Coastal Anillery Fortifications
Mobile Force Organization
Armament Improvement

III. WORLD WAR I AND THE PANAMA CANAL IV. LOCK GUARD

- Ba:kground and Development
-Military Lock Guard
- Security Measures
- Reor anzation V. UTILITY GUARD

- Functions
- Saddle Dams - Organization

VI. TRANSIT GUARD

- Mission
- Procedures
-Reassig~nment of Responsibility


iv







VII. HARBOR DEFENSE VIII. MOBILE FORCE IX. DEFENSE CONSTRUCTION X. SPECIAL ITEM PROJECTS

Protection of Canal Installations
Emergency Dams

XI. CANAL ANTIAIRCRAFT DEFENSES Searchlights
Radar
Antiaircraft Guns
Automatic Weapons
Smoke Generators
- Barrage Balloons
- Killer Curtain
- Passive Defense
- Antiaircraft Defense Construction
- Construction of Battery 717 XII. LIFE IN THE BATTERIES

- Special Services
- Insular Troops
- Medical
- Unit Censorship

XIII. REGIONAL BASES XIV. CARIBBEAN DEFENSE ORGANIZATION XV. INTELLIGENCE

XVI. CIVILIAN CONTROL XVII. JAPAN'S PANAMA CANAL BOMBER XVIII. SABOTAGE






XIX. KOREAN CONFLICT XX. CANAL DEFENSE COMMAND STRUCTURE, 1917.1986 XXI. TREATIES AND CANAL DEFENSE XXII. DEVELOPMENT OF CANAL PROTECTIVE FORCE XXIII. THE PANAMA CRISIS XXIV. CONCLUSION


vi









Illustrtions


Photographs


1. American Blue Jackets guard the Railroad
2. Camp Elliot
3. Colonel Goethals reviewing marines
4. Marines scaling wall
5. Panama Canal map
6. Assembly of 16-inch rifle
7. Coast artilleryman napping on 16-inch rifle
8. Twelve-inch mortars
9. Batteries named for Civil War Commanders 10. Entrance to Battery Burnside 11. Battery Burnside 12. Battery Burnside in action 13. Battery Morgan 14. Review of Coast Artillery troops 15. Searchlight drill 16. Construction of batteries 17. Fire Control Station 18. Battery Tidball 19. Fire Control Station 20. Range finder 21. Mobile force convoy 22. Field maneuvers 23. Panama Mount 24. Urloading 14-inch railroad gun 25. Railroad gun an Culebra Island 26. Airplane carrier in locks 27. Opening of Panama Canal 28. Army sentry guards docks 29. Navy radio stations 30. Construction of Coco Solo Naval Station 31. France Field overflight 32. Pacific fleet transits canal 33. Testing locks chainfendering 34. Sentry patrols Garun Dam Spillway 35. Carrier in locks 36. Carlo Saddle Dam 37. Madden Saddle Dam No.7 38. Madden Saddle Dam No.8


Follows page 1.
p


Follows page 5. Follows page 6.
p p1


Follows page 7.


Follows page 8.

Follows page 10. Follows page 10.




Follows page 16. Follows. page 18. Follows page 20. Follows page 23.
Folw pg 3


Ni i


Page







39.
40. 41. 42.
43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51.
52. 53.
54. 55. 56.
57. 58. 59.
60.
61. 62. 63.
64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83.


Transit guard operation Transit guard operation Mobile Force mission Mobile Force cavalry and field artillery Albrook Field construction P.47's parked on Albrook Field Heavy bombers at Albrook Field Original locks emergency dams SIP-7 emergency dam SIP-7 emergency dam SIP-7 main jack SIP-7 main jack at cross under SIP-7 cross under tunnel SIP-7 electrical motors SIP-7 runnel entrance SIP-30, camouflaged control house SIP-9 Spillway Protection SIP-5 Bombproofing SIP-5 Bombproofing plates SIP-7 observation room Trucks mounting searchlights Sound locaters Searchlight position Antiaircraft gun Mobile antiaircraft battery Antiaircraft gun battery Camouflaged antiaircraft gun position Antiaircraft machine guns atop swing bridge Locks automatic gun position USS South Dakota in locks Barrage Balloon in lake The coming attack on the Panama Canal PBY at Coco Solo Torpedoed tanker Censorship validation slip Ko-gata submarine Glen airplane 1-400 submarine I-400 hangar door Seiran launching cradle Collapsible crane and launching ramp S.eiran aircraft at factory Seiran
NIKE missiles guardingr Canal Atomic submarine in locks Viii


Follows page 55.
a
Follows page 57.
a
Follows page 58.

Follows page 61.
sag
Follows page 66. Follows page 10. Follows page 88.


Follows page 99. Follows page 109.
a
Follows page 110.





Follows page 128.


Follows page 28.
a
Follows page 39. Follows page 47.


Follows page 53.
a a a






ADO candidates Anti-g overnment demonstration Arrival o; reinforcements School bus incident


Follows page 141. Follows page 142.


Maps


Isthnian Canal Commission Defense considerations 1939-1941 Base Situation Map Initial air patrols, 1942 Air patrols, 1943-1944 Caribbean Defense Command Continental Defense Organization


Follows page 2. Follows page 41. Follows page 86. Follows page 87.
F
Follows page 93. Follows page 94.


Tables


1. Defense installations constructed
2. Special Item Projects


Pages 46-47.
page 53.


ix


84. 85.
86. 87.


I.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.





PREFACE


The author has been directly and intimately involved with the security and defense of the Panama Canal over the Lat sixteen year, in both his civilian and military ocupations. As Chief of the Canal Protection Divison, Panama Canal Commission, from 1978 to 1992, he was director of security for the Canal during the critical, Treaty implementtion and Panama Crisis periods. Since 1992 as Deputy Dinetor Generl Services Bureau, Panama Canal Commison he has had oversight over Canal Security and has also been the Commimon representatve to the Police Subcommittee. He is also a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve with a mobiiza ion assignment since 1980, to the U.S. Southern Command, Quarry Heights, Panama. As a senior reservist, he participated in many regional and Canal defense plans and exercises, including a key staff position during Operation Just Cause/Promote Liberty. This combination of responsibilities resulted in my appointing him as Special Assistant to the Administrator for Military Liaison in 1989. Charlie is considered an authority on Canal security and defense and has lectured at different civilian, government and military forums on the subject.



In 1989, as part of the celebration of the Diamond Anniversary of the Panama Canal, he was invited to write an article on Canal security by Security Management magazine, published by the American Society for industrial Security. This article, titled '75 Years of Security History: The Panama Canal', appeared in the September 1989 issue of Security Management*(Vol. 33, No. 9). The investigation and research for the aforementioned article sparked his interest in developing the subject further, resulting in the following history, which was written over the last five years.

LTG D.P. McAuliffe, USA (Ret.)
Administrator, Panama Canal
Commission, 1979-1989






ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


Ma.ny uniLs and spwiaJists in the Panama Canal Commission assisted the author in this project. The Technical Resources Center provided invaluable assistance in rsarching historical material. The Graphics Bwach supported the project with photographic nquiremenu and manuscript layout and composidon. The Commission Prindi Offic wa responsible for the printing of the mauscript and xperi technical advice along the way.



On an individual basis, many apple were involved and deserve r9 nition for the key roles they played in the production of this book. From the Panama Canal these include: Mrs. Nan Chong, Technical Resources Center; Mrs. Ewor Gale, Graphics Branch; Mr. Timothy Corriat, Prirntn Office; Mrs. Janet Len-Rios, Office of Public Affairs; and Mrs. Dolores De Mena, Historian, U.S. Army South. Typing support was provided by Ms. Lucia Chan, Ms. Ma.ri.. Evns, Ms. Judith IndiraRios C., Mrs. Molly Engelke Williford, Mr. Rodolfo A. Smith H., and severJ others over the years.



Charles Mo,'ris



Balboa, Republic of Pxnama
1994


xi










PRODUCTION


The purpose of this book is to trace the development of the security and defense of the Panama Canal from its construction until the year 2000. Due to the time span involved, only an overview of the highlights is possible of this highly complex, emotional and controversial subject. Vulnerability and defense of the Canal have been the subject of much concern, dialogue, literature and politics over the years covering two world wars, the cold war, the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, the era of international terrorism, and the 1977 Treaty implementation period. Information presented herein may help clarify long held misconceptions concerning Canal ;'ulnerabilities and defense. Because the mobility of the United States Fleet between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans was a cornerstone of continental defense plans, the Army, considered its mission of guarding the Panama Canal as secondary only to continental defense.

The sources of information for this work include military historical reports, books, magazine articles, government memorandum and reports, treaty documents, interviews and personal experience. Detailed information is provided on the period before and during World War II because it was the time when the Canal was most threatened and most heavily defended. This period was also very well documented.

Extensive usage has been made of footnotes in order to provide detailed explanatory information without overburdening the text. Where possible, tables, maps, charts and photographs supplement the text in order to provide additional information. Photographs are necessarily limited because of the restriction on photographing the Canal and defense xii







installations before, during and after World War II.

Many chapters present information which parallels that from other chapters which may appear repetitive to the reader. This was considered necessary in order to develop the different topics having a common denominator.

The total cost of the defenses of the Panama Canal in preparation for World War II including Caribbean bases were approximately one billion 360 million dollars which inflated to 1992 construction cost dollars (multiplier of 15) would be over 20 billion dollars. In order for the reader to appreciate the magnitude and scope of some of the construction projects to prepare the Canal for war, cost data has thus been provided.

This history has as its intended audience military and civilian historians but may be of general interest to military' personnel who served in Panama, and canal workers directly involved with defense preparations or the security of the canal and the Canal Zone over the years.

Furthermore, it may provide information and rationale useful to canal authorities and United States and Republic of Panama government officials and politicians responsible for policy making on security and defense aspects of the Panama Canal after its turnover in the year 2000.


xiii






Chapter I


FIRST CANAL DEFENDERS

Panamanian Independence Movement

The first United States military forces permanently stationed in Panama were the Marines. They were ordered to the Isthmus at the start of the 1903 revolution to protect the Panama Railroad and were critical to the success of the Panamanian independence movement.
The Marine battalion sent down from New York by way of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was brought to Colon aboard the transport USS Dixie, which reached Colon Harbor about 8:00 p.m. on November 5, 1903.1 The USS Dixie was met by the cruiser USS Nashville, that had arrived three days earlier, which signaled "situation on shore very serious, be prepared to land battalion at once.: As soon as the Dixie had anchored, Commander Hubbard of the Nashville came on board and shouted "fifty men from Nashville have been guarding the railway station for some days. They are in imminent danger of being attacked by about a thousand Colombian troops. You should lose no time in getting ashore."3
Two companies of Marines were immediately embarked in a heavy downpour. The Marines took refuge from the rain in the railway


station, and with everything quiet, the Nashville's detachment of tired sailors boarded ship. General Tovar, the Commander of the Colombian troops had journeyed to Panama where he was immediately arrested by the rebels. Meanwhile, the Colombian troops faced the Marines over barricades in Colon, without a shot being fired. After General Tovar was released and permitted to return to his ship, he reembarked his troops and .sailed for Colombia aboard the Royal Mail Steamer ORINOCO which departed for Cartagena. The orders given the Marines by the Navy Department were that "in the interests of peace, make every effort to prevent government troops at Colon from proceeding to Panama. The transit of the Isthmus must be kept open and order maintained."'
The morning after the Marines landed, a public meeting was scheduled in the Colon town hall at which time a "transcendental announcement" was to be made. Major Lejeune was invited and was courteously escorted through the great crowd to the upstairs hall where he was seated next to the American Consul. The meeting was presided over by a panamanian patriot (Sr. Porfirio Melendez), who very dramatically read a paper declaring that the State of Colon "was and should be a free and independent state, and that it forthwith united itself with the State of Panama to form the


I







Republic of Panama."5 At the close of the proclamation he shouted loudly, "Viva la. Republica de Panama," which was enthusiastically chorused by the crowd outside.
A few hours after the independence of Colon was proclaimed, the Marines returned to their ship, as "Colon had resumed its normal condition of lassitude. The same old police force was continuing the performance of its functions, and the railway trains were runing freely and without any threats of interruption. In fact, it would be impossible to imagine a more peaceable, orderly and bloodless revolution."5 Neither was there any fear of an early invasion by Colombia due to the announcement by the United States that it would not permit any troops to land in the vicinity of the railway. Nevertheless, as insurance the United States sent down the USS Mayflower, and several other naval vessels under the flag of Rear Admiral Coghlan, which arrived in Panama within a few days.
After several weeks aboard the DIXIE, the Marines were sent ashore to establish permanent camps. Several of the old French Canal Company's houses were made habitable after which one detachment was transferred to Empire to prepare the townsite for occupation. Written orders were issued on December 12, 1903 detaching the Battalion from the DIXIE for independent duty on the


Isthmus of Panama. One week later, an additional Marine battalion which arrived at Colon on board the PRAIRIE encamped at Bas Obispo,

Canal Construction Period

In January 1904, two additional Marine battalions arrived under the command of Brigadier General Elliott. The force was divided between Bas Obispo and Empire, with Brigade Headquarters at Haute Obispo. General Elliot, who was a very
* strenuous commander, kept his brigade busy scouting, mapping the country and studying the defenses of the Canal and Panama City. Although there were many rumors of prospective attacks and invasions, nothing noteworthy of a military nature occurred.
Colombia seemed to have begrudgingly accepted the fact that a treaty between the United States and the Republic of Panama for the building of the Canal had been ratified. In May 1904, the advance party of the Canal builders arrived.6 These and numerous other Canal officials were friends of the Marines and frequent visitors to Empire.7 In the Autumn there was some excitement when the Marines were ordered to send a company to Panama City and, on order, be prepared to send one to Colon. Upon arriving in Panama City, the company was sent to Ancon Hospital to be quartered in






one of the newly constructed buildings. The situation requiring their presence involved a plot to seize the President and install an opponent in office.8 After an uneventful week in Ancon, the company returned to Empire.
Camp Empire was later renamed Camp Elliott with peak brigade strength reaching 1400 men. Though mobilized several times due to threatened disorders in Panama, they saw no combat action there. However, several expeditions were sent to points in Central America, where the forces were decisively engaged and suffered casualties.
With the arrival on the Isthmus of Arm) forces to man the coast artillery and for the mobile force, no further need for the Marines was anticipated. Therefore, on January 21, 1914, the one remaining battalion of the United States Marine Corps stationed at Camp Elliott sailed from Colon to Vera Cruz, Mexico for the campaign against Pancho Villa. The facilities at Camp Elliott were turned over to the Isthmian Canal Commission. With the departure of this battalion, the United States Marine Corps terminated continuous service on the Isthmus since 1903.









'The Battalion consisted of two officers and four compan.ies of 100 men each, together with a small Headquarters Detachment commanded by Major John A. Lejeune (later to become a Major General after whom Camp Lejeune in North Carolina was named).

'The Government of Colombia had failed to ratify the treaty providing for the construction of the Panama Canal by the United States. The people of the Isthmus were anxious for an agreement so that work could begin with prosperity replacing the poverty following the debacle of the FrenchCn Company. Secret plans were made in Panama to establish Panamanian independence, with the support of Colombian General Huena, commander of the Panama Battalion. At the critical time, however, a transport arrived at Colon from Colombia with a regiment of troops and two of Colombia's leading generals on board. They asked for railway ransporuion to Panama, but Colonel Shaler, the superintendent of the railroad, stated that he was unable to furnish it for the troops as all of his passenger and freight cars were on the Pacific side to meet two arriving steamers. He did loan the generals his private car and a special locomotive to take them to Panama. They accepted, and upon arival there directed General Huena to form the Panama Battalion for inspeaion, intending to take command of the troops and put him in confinement as well as the other leaders of the secession movement. They, i turn were arrested by Huerta and the independence of the State of Panama was promptly proclaimed with Amador Guerrero as the first President. At this point the DIXIE arrived in Colon.
'The Marines played a critical role in the complex events by which the United States acquired and built the Panama Canal. The Marines landed in Panama in 1873 and 1885 to protect American interests based on the ground of the right of the United States under the treaty of 1846, with New Granada to "maintain free and uninterrupted transit" across the Isthmus. They intervened again in late 1901 and 1902, to guard the trains and keep the peace during the skirrrushes between Colombian troops and Panamanian Liberals.
'Troops could not have been landed elsewhere, because of the almost impassable swamps and jungle.

sJohn A. Lejeune. Major General, United States Marine Corps, The Reminiscences of a Marine (Philadelphia, Dorrance and Company'. 1930) p. 157.
'Including AdmiraJ Walker, the Chairman of the Isthmian Canal Commission, Governor-General Davis, Colonel Gorgas. Mr. Wallace, the first Chief Engineer, and Colonel LaGarde, the first Director of Ancon Hospital.

IEmpire became the showplace of the Canal Zone with Colonel Gorgas sending or accompanying there distinguished visitors to lei them see firsthand it was possible for Americans to keep their health, strength and energy when domiciled on the Isthmus.

'General Huena planned to seize the President during a review of his troops. However, the President of Panama who was forewarned did not attend the review and General Huerta was relieved of his command and his battalion disbanded on the spot by the Minister of War.


4





















































American Blue Jackets entrenched in back of cotton bales, Colon. November 19 03.









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Chapter II

ORIGINAL CANAL DEFENSES

Concept of Defense

"The Panama Canal was built when the battleship was the major strategic weapon and when being a great power necessarily implied being a naval power."I
On October 10, 1909, with the construction of the Panama Canal already wel underway, the Secretary of War appointed a Joint Army-Navy Fortification Board to draw up plans for the defense of the Canal.2 Following a field inspection in 1910, their final plan contemplated a twopart defense consisting of strong, heavily armed positions at the entrances to the Canal on both oceans.3 In addition, fieldworks would be constructed in the vicinity of Canal locks and other vital installations and a mobile force of a minimum of 7,000 troops to provide for close-in defense against invaders who might succeed in making a beach landing.
The outermost points flanking the entrances to the Canal would be armed with guns that would outrange, or at least equal the range of, any known naval weapon of the time. From these positions, the coast defense guns could engage a hostile naval force well to the seaward of Canal installations before it could


come within effective range of port facilities or Canal locks.
The Canal would also have the protection of the U.S. and British Navies in the Atlantic while the Pacific would be defended by the Pacific Fleet with the additional safety factor of the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.
In addition to the terminal coast artillery fortifications, a mobile force of sufficient strength and equipped with light artillery would engage any attacking force approaching the fortifications or enemy forces landing in areas remote to the Canal .4
On April 22, 1910, the Joint Board recommended to the Secretary of War the construction of fortifications armed with ten 14-inch guns, twelve 6-inch guns, and twentyeight 12-inch mortars. All construction was to be completed within three and a half years. Estimated cost including submarine mine installations was S14.1 million, with congressional approval given on January 9, 1911. The final figure was $12.4 million following refinement of the estimate by the Army.

Coast Artillery Fortifications
The coast defense plan provided for the building of fortifications on Fort de Lesseps, Fort Randolph and Fort Sherman on the Atlantic side of


5






the Isthmus and Fort Grant (known as the Fortified Islands including what is now Fort Amador), on the Pacific side.5 The most powerful and effective ordnance then known was installed in the fortifications. In the Atlantic forts were mounted four 14inch rifles, six 6-inch rifles, and sixteen 12-inch mortars. Artillery to defend the Pacific entrance to the Canal included six 14-inch rifles, six 6-inch rifles, and one 16-inch rifle (one of the heaviest caliber weapons in the world), along with twelve 12inch mortars.6
Massive concrete emplacements were required to mount the heavy artillery pieces of the Canal defenses. In general, all batteries were similar in construction. They contained space for the gun and mount behind a thick concrete and eathern parapet as well as hardened bunkers with magazines for ammunition storage, range plotting ,fire control and communications rooms. In addition, each battery operated observation points some of which were located at a distance from the battery sites.
As additional protection for the Canal, submarine mine fields were plotted with mines stored in readiness for placement in case of attack. On the Atlantic side, fifteen groups of 19 controlled buoyant submarine mines were to be planted just outside the Limon Bay breakwater entrance. Two mine laying vessels were available for this purpose.


For the Pacific, a similar field was planned with sixteen groups of 19 mines to be emplaced beyond the channel entrance generally to the south and west of Flamenco Island. Two mine layers were assigned and certain vessels of the Isthmian Canal Commission were available .to outfit for mine laying if necessary.
. To facilitate night firing, 60-inch searchlights were installed as an integral part of the coast defenses. While some were mounted in permanent positions, others were maneuvered into position on railway push cars. Since the range of the lights was not over 8,000 yards, consideration was later given to supplying the 6-inch rifles (and later the 155mm guns), with star shells.
A total of ten searchlights were installed in conjunction with Atlantic side defenses and fourteen were installed for the Pacific side.
With work on the batteries well advanced, troops to man the weapons began to arrive in the Canal Zone. The first unit, the 81st Company, Coast Artillery, arrived on the Isthmus on December 22, 1913, and encamped at what is now Fort Amador. Six more companies followed in 1914, two in 1915, and five in 1916. Between 1916 and 1917, four more coast artillery companies were organized with a final allocation of nine companies stationed on each side of the Isthmus.


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Mobile Force Organization


As already discussed, the first permanent U.S. military force stationed in the Canal Zone was the battalion of Marines which landed on November 5, 1903. About two years before the departure of the Marines in January 1914, the first U.S. Army troops arrived to constitute the nucleus of the Mobile Force. On October 4, 1911, the 10th Infantry arrived on the Isthmus and established Camp Otis in the vicinity of Empire. More than three years passed, however, before any other major Army units arrived in the Canal Zone. On November 25, 1914, the 5th Infantry landed in the Canal Zone and encamped at Empire. They were followed by the 29th Infantry which arrived on March 15, 1915 and proceeded to the town of Culebra, on the west bank of the Canal, where it was garrisoned in two old French Canal Company buildings. This area was named Camp Gaillard.7 The 1st squadron, 12th Calvary, arrived at about the same time as the 29th Infantry and was first stationed at Corozal, but later moved to Camp Gaillard. Signal and Engineer units also arrived in 1915. In March 1916, the 2d Battalion, 4th Field Artillery, arrived to complete the Mobile Force.
A consolidation of command was effected on January 6, 1915 when


Brigadier General C. R. Edwards assumed command of all Army units on the Isthmus. With headquarters in Ancon, the command was designated as Headquarters, United States Troops, Panama Canal Zone, a part of the Eastern War Department headquartered at Governor's Island, New York.

Armament Improvement

. Shortly after World War I, surplus 75mm guns (Models 1897 and 1917) and 155mm GPF guns (Model 1918) were assigned to the Canal Zone for beach defense use. Strategically located, the guns were to provide close-in harbor defense by delivery of enfilade fire on landing craft to protect the major harbor defense fortifications. The weapons were emplaced in the vicinity of the harbor defense batteries and other key sites and were manned by Coast Artillery troops.
To make the 155mm guns more effective, experiments were conducted to develop a permanent mount which would permit rapid adjustment of fire. By replacing the trail spades with small flanged wheels which ran on a permanently installed track encircling the gun, it was possible to swing the weapon in a 3600 transverse. This was baptized the "Panama Mount."'8
In the early 1920s, four longrange 12-inch rifles on barbette carriages were added to the Atlantic






























































































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defenses at Fort Sherman. In the 1928 to 1929 period, four 16-inch rifles were installed at Bruja Point, now Fort Kobbe (Batteries HAAN and MURRAY). These canons were of later design than the 16-inch rifle of Battery NEWTON on Perico Island and had a range of 45,000 yards (compared to the 22,600 yard range of NEWTON). The barbette mounts permitted a 3600 transverse covering all approaches to the canal entrance for twenty five miles. In 1928, two 14-inch guns, mounted on railway carriages, arrived on the Isthmus. Firing points were constructed at Fort Randolph on the Atlantic side and on Culebra Island at Fort Grant on the Pacific, so that the guns could be moved to meet a threat on either side of the Isthmus. The maximum range of these guns was 48,000 yards, double that of the 14-inch rifles. Both guns were put in service as Battery No. 8 on the railway spur at Culebra Island. The railroad embankment ran from Culebra Island along the causeway, behind the barracks on Fort Amador, through the 15th Naval District housing area and along the canal (by the present location of the Panama Canal College in La Boca) to the Balboa dock area, where it connected with the Panama Railroad system.
During the decade from 1929 to 1939, shortages of funds and personnel resulted in many of the big coast artillery guns being placed in


caretaker status, with maintenance responsibility assigned to the ordnance corps. In the years immediately preceding the United States entry into World War II, all guns were rehabilitated, tested and placed in service. In consideration of improved naval armor, plans had been made to augment the defenses with four 16inch rifles, two at Fort Randolph and two on Taboga Island, as well as eight 16-inch mortars on Taboga. Some 16-inch rifle tubes were shipped to the Isthmus before the project was abandoned .'
At Pearl Harbor, the Japanese devastatingly demonstrated the effectiveness of a carrier-launched aerial attack, mounted from hundreds of miles beyond the range of the largest coast defense gun. The usefulness of these installations had been overtaken by the, changing threat, and the latter years of the war saw the manning levels and readiness categories of most guns drastically reduced, with many being placed in caretaker status even before the end of the World War II.


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u.br . and ...n.p.ntFor Arador

























































June 11, 1930. The Panama Canal U.S. airplane carrier in Miratlores Locks. Bow view. -c--I5O









'Lieutenant Colonel Jack Child, U.S. Army, Milita.r, Asnects of the Panama Canal (U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings. January. 1980), p. 47.

'The board was comprised of the following members: Brigadier General (BG) Ma rshall. Chief of Engineers: BG Crozier, Chief of Ordinance. BG Murray, Chief of Artillery; BG Bliss, and BG Wotherspoon, VS Arm% General Staff; Major Haan, Coast Artillery; Capt. Stanton, US Nay; and CMDR Rodgers, Naval War College.

'The topography of the terminal sections of the Panama Canal were suited 'admirably to making the Cana impregnable against a sea attack.* The entrance to the Bay of Limon on the Atlantic and the islands off the Pacific coast were key terrain overlooking the Carl approaches.

'This eventuality was largely discounted because of the perceived difficulty of movement in the jungle. The jungle
*barrier" would permit time for the Mobile Force to move to contact the enemy before it could threaten Canal installations. It was later discovered that this was a fallacy.

'A causeway was constructed with material removed from the Canal linking the mainland.with the islands of Naos, Culebra, Perico and Flaminco.
T'he 14 inch rifles mounted on disappearing cariages had a maximum range of 24.000 yards (13.64 miles) and were designed to fire upon hostile capital ships. The 6 inch rifles on barbette carriages had a range of 15,000 yards while those on disappearing carriages had a range of 14,500 yards (8.24 miles). They would engage lighter craft such as cruisers and torpedo boats. The 12 inch mortars, range 17,900 yards (10.17 miles), would drop their projectiles on the decks of ships which got past the 14 inch rifles. The entrance channels would be mined and controlled from rmne casemates on shore. If an enemv attacked at night. 60 inch diameter search lights uere provided to illuminate the target.

"In honor of Col. David Du Bose Gaillard, US Army' Corps of Engineers, who was in change of the excavation of Culebra Cut. (later renamed Gaillard Cut).

'Despite its demonstrated usefulness, however, it was not until just before World War II that all the 155mm gtns were so equipped.

"By the end of World War I it was apparent that the defenses of the Panama Canal were out-gunned by developments in naval ordnance. What was not apparent was that the development of the aerial bomber would make them totally obsolete. One of the problems was the disappearing carriage which was designed to crouch behind its parapet, rise to fire, and drop backdown behind the barrier covered and concealed from hostile fire. The geometry of the disappearing carriage was not adapted to the high angles of fire necessary for long rances and the disappearing feature was only of value when naval guns had flat trajectories. When naval guns became capable of relatively high angles of fire, there was the possibility of dropping a high explosive shell inside the concrete emplacement penetrating the roof of the magazines located underneath the guns..This happened on Corregidor (located in Manila harbor, with fortifications exactly the same as those at the Panama Canal), when shelled by the Japanese from Bataan. Considered impregnable, Corregidor, proved vulnerable to concentrated bombardrnt. Japanese gunners blasted the tiny island around the clock (16,000 shells in one day), and finally 600 invaders got ashore the night of May 4, 1942, and took the island two days later.










Chapter 111

WORLD WAR I AND THE PANAMA CANAL

The opening of the Panama Canal on August 15, 1914 coincided by chance with the outbreak of the First World War in Europe on August 4, 1914. From that date, therefore, attention was necessarily focused upon the status of the Canal in time of war.' A proclamation relating to the neutrality of the Panama Canal Zone was accordingly issued by President Wilson on November 13, 1914. The proclamation permitted the warships of belligerents to use the Panama Canal under the provisions of the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty which limited the total number of belligerent warships permitted in the Canal at a given time, prescribed their order of departure, and prohibited the furnishing of supplies and services at the Canal.2 The neutrality proclamation also forbade the landing, takeoff and overflight of the Canal Zone by belligerent planes and restricted the use of radio by belligerent vessels and their auxiliaries to Canal business.3 The advent of World War I accelerated the need for a comprehensive security plan for this key link in the United States' grand strategy for a two ocean navy .4
Accordingly in January 191:5, military forces in the Canal Zone


were redesignated as the "United States Army in the Canal Zone," with an Army General Officer in overall command, under the Eastern Department of the War Department.5
The proclamation of war with Germany issued by President Wilson on April 6, 1917 technically divested the Canal of its "neutral" status and involved it in a "state of war."6 Due to the remoteness of the conflict and other conditions, however, the full strategic value of the Canal was not demonstrated in the First World War since there was no need for the fleets of the United States or her allies to use the Canal. Similarly, there was no danger from an enemy attack and the only threat to the Canal was surreptitious damage to its channel and structures by enemy agents. This danger however, was greatest at the outbreak of the war when the United States was neutral. On April 10, 1917, President Wilson invoked the provision in Section 13 of the Panama Canal Act placing the Commanding General of United States Troops" inthe Canal Zone over the operation of the Panama Canal and the Government of the Canal Zone.7 On July 1, 1917, the Canal Zone was designated as a geographical command separate from the Eastern Department and reorganized as *the Panama Canal Department. The purpose of this reorganization was to have a self- sufficient military organization, capable of command


10



























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S.S. ANC~~ON,~ etcabro
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Augut 5,1914







action, if cut off from contact with the Eastern Department in New York.
For better protection of the Canal, the terminal ports were closed from sunset to sunrise and all navigational lights extinguished. "Defensive Sea Areas" were established off the entrances to the Canal, protected by marine minefields, and submarine nets8. Vessels were permitted entry only after inspection by the sea patrols.9 Infantry troops also were used to guard the locks and other Canal vital facilities, apprehend and guard enemy aliens and guard ships in transit.'0 A submarine base at Coco Solo was temporarily organized in April 1917, just a few days after the United States entered the war. During the war there were a few naval planes on patrol duty at the Canal, but one of the most important functions of the United States Navy on the Isthmus was the operation of the various highpowered radio stations."
American authorities received reports in May 1917, that the Germans were endeavoring to purchase Dutch ships in various Oriental ports to load with cement and sink them in the Canal. Following these reports, all suspicious vessels arriving at the Canal were thoroughly inspected before transit and armed guards placed aboard all private vessels. Any enemy aliens on board such vessels were disembarked upon arrival at the Canal terminal and


transported under guard across the Isthmus over the railroad, reboarding the vessel after its transit.
Another wartime measure applied by the United States was enforcement of the Trading with the Enemy Act. This Act gave the President the power to establish mail and cable message censorship, to control exports, to take custody of enemy alien property, and to impose port supply service restrictions in order to control trading with the enemy.
Numerous German nationals who were located in the Canal Zone when the United States declared war upon Germany in 1917 were immediately arrested and interned. Similar action was also taken by the Government of Panama with respect to Germans of "suspicious character and behavior" in the Republic. Both groups were interned on Taboga Island and lodged in the United States Government-owned hotel there, under the guard of United States Forces. One year after their internment on Taboga Island, and immediately after passage of an Act of Congress legalizing the apprehension, restraint and removal of enemy aliens, they were relocated to Ellis Island, New York.
At the beginning of the war in Europe, four steamers of the Hamburg-American Line took refuge in Canal waters at Cristobal. They remained there with their German


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officers and crew aboard some of whom were members of the German Naval Reserve. Due to the possibility of them using the vessels to committ a hostile act against the locks, they were lodged ashore under surveillance. By direction of the Secretary of War, these four vessels were put in operating condition at the Canal dry-dock shops and placed in the service of the United States when it entered the war.
With the armistice ending the First World War signed on November 11, 1918, the Canal returned to normal.. Authority and jurisdiction over the operation and administration of the Canal and Canal Zone reverted from the Commanding General to the Governor on January 25, 1919. During the war period, the Canal was operated and maintained without mishap or delay to vessels using its facilities.2 There were no hostile acts committed against the Canal or any of its installations. Throughout the conflict, Canal and Railroad employees maintained a highly patriotic attitude and did their best to support the war policies of the administration.


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Anticipating occasions when a state of war might exist between the maritime powers, it was agreed upon by the United States and Great Britain in the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty that certain rules should be adopted by the United States as a basis of the "neutralization" of the Canal. In the Convention of 1903, with Panama it was stated that the Canal and its entrances "shall be neutral in perpetuity", and the U.S. had the exclusive right of regulating the Canal at all times, subject to treaty provisions, with no limitation placed on its right to fortify, defend and use the Canal in connection with its own defense. Norman ,J. Padelford. The Panama Canal in Peace and War (New York: The Mac Millan Company, 1942), p.123.

2Both the Hague Convention on the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers in Naval War and the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty were referenced in drawing up the proclamation. The proclamation also limited the time a belligerent vessel could remain in Canal waters to 24-hours; the total number of belligerent ships (six, with a limit of three for each belligerent and its allies); and conditioned the provision of refueling supply and repair, and prohited the use of the Isthmus as a base for acts of war.

3One of the first American priorities during the neutrality period was to get unconditional jurisdiction over radio in Panama. On August 29, 1914, President Porras complied via a decree giving Washington "absolute and permanent control" over every type of wireless communication in the Republic. In December, Goethels held up the clearance of two steamer through the Canal. One was detected transmitting radio messages in code to warships. The Canal Zone police boarded the ship and dismantled the wireless. Almor R. Wright, PANAMA: Tension's child 1502-1989 (New York, Vantage Press, 1990) p.191.

'Following the seven month closing of the Canal due to a massive slide in the Cut (from September 1915 to April 1916) and the possibility of a war with Japan and Germany, i.e., on two coasts, the need to build a two-ocean navy became obvious to Congress which approved a construction program for the building of ten battleships and six battle-cruisers by 1919.

5This newly created Headquarters was first located in the old Isthmian Canal Commission Administration building on Fourth of July Avenue (which later became the District Courthouse Building). In November 1916, the Headquarters moved to its present location at Quarry Heights military reservation.

6Under the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty the U.S., when engaged in war, has the "right and power to protect the Canal from all damage and injury at the hands of the enemy, to exclude enemy ships from using the Canal during the war and to defend itself in the waters adjacent to the Canal.".

"Brigadier General Edwards' first order was to continue with all existing regulations and operations.

'Canal Industrial forces constructed submarine nets at the eastern and western entrances to Colon harbor, at the entrance to Balboa harbor, and at the mouth of the Chagres River. In addition, they constructed for the Army a searchlight barge 110 feet long and three searchlight towers upon which to mount disappearing searchlights.

9On May 23, 1917, President Wilson tightened up Canal regulations prohibiting enemy vessels from using the Panama Canal without the consent of Canal authorities.

The operating tunnels of the locks and spillways, the electrical generating stations at Gatun and Miraflores, the radio stations, dry docks and shops, bridges, piers, dynamite magazines, water reservoirs and, in general, essential Canal properties liable to damage, were guarded by the Canal Zone Police and details of Army enlisted men. "The Canal and the War", The Panama Canal Record, Balboa Heights, C.Z., February 12, 1919. Volume XII, No. 26.

'"When the Canal opened, the Navy's presence consisted merely of five old C-class submarines. In April 1917, the Navy occupied Coco Solo and a new unit, the Naval Forces, Canal Zone was established with the five subs and three torpedo boats. The only other Navy vessels earmarked for duty on the Isthmus were an old sub-tender and three destroyers which were subsequently assigned to convoy duty in the Atlantic. The Navy Department accepted


'A3






the need for scouting planes for aerial reconnaissance and called for a naval air station in the Zone adjoining the submarine base at Coco Solo. In December 1911, President Taft assigned the Navy sole responsibility for radio on the Isthmus to maintain contact with Washington and the Pacific and Atlantic fleet;. Prior to 1917, there were three high powered, Naval radio stations on the Isthmus at Colon, Balboa and Darien. By 1939, only the Balboa station remained along with newer stations at Summit, France Field, Toro Point and Gatun in the Canal Zone, and Cape Mala and David in the Republic of Panama.

1'Fa~r from being closed to wartime traffic, from its opening on August 15 1914 to March 30, 1917, during the period of U.S. neutrality, 2,216 foreign and 1,033 US vessels transited the Canal (despite the Ca being closed for seven months from September, 1915 to April, 1916 due to a massive slide in the Cut). Between April L, 1917 and June 30, 1920, during the period the U.S. was in the war and immediately thereafter, 4,453 foreign and 2,682 US vessels transited the Canal.


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Chapter IV


organization of the guard which would be determined by the military.


LOCKS GUARD


Background

As discussed in Chapter II, the Canal's original defenses were designed to interdict an enemy fleet approaching the Canal entrances and troops landing on nearby beaches. There was little need for security in and around the locks, which were not even fenced until 1927. With the exception of the World War I period, until 1934, "guarding" the locks had been a function of the Canal Zone Police not to prevent sabotage, but as part of their duty to provide law and order in the Canal Zone.' The first actual use of the military to guard the locks was during the maneuvers of 1934, when Company "I" of the 14th Infantry was assigned the mission of defending the Garun Locks from "attack and sabotage by enemy forces." The results .dramatically proved that the existing locks safeguards were inadequate prompting Governor Schley, on April 6, 1934, to request the Panama Canal Department Commander to establish "military guards at each set of locks, spillways and adjacent powerhouses, for the purpose of guarding against any sabotage which would prevent the prompt and rapid transit of the United States Fleet." The Governor's request did not specify the size or


Military Lock Guard


On July 28, 1934, the Commanding General issued a directive establishing the military Lock Guard to be provided by one company of the 33d Infantry on the Pacific Side and one company from the 14th Infantry on the Atlantic. Installations to be guarded were the Miraflores Locks and diesel-electric plant, the Pedro Miguel Locks, and the Gatun Locks, Dam and Hydro electric Plant. Instructions were general, but it is important to note that the military guards were to serve together with the guards of the Canal Zone Police. Duties of the two groups of guards differed, with the police guards responsible for checking all civilians entering the locks and the military guards responsible for controlling the access of military personnel. Additionally, the military guards would report suspicious acts committed by anyone and challenge all persons entering the area between the hours of 2300 and 0600 when the Canal Zone Police Guards were off duty since the locks were not in operation.3
The military guards were quartered in tents on both sides of the Isthmus which was unsatisfactory, especially during the rainy season. Strength of the companies vapred, but


is






on July 8, 1935 companies were authorized 100 enlisted men to man the 14-day guard detail. Instructions became more specific as time went on with many changes over the years until 1939. Permanent barracks were eventually built at the locks and cyclone fencing erected around the enclosures by The Panama Canal as directed by the Governor.

Securiry Measures

However, the problems of divided authority and responsibility between the military and Canal authorities continued .' Early in 1939, General Lear, Commanding General, Pacific Sector, made a study of locks security and reported the following inadequacies to the Commanding General, Panama Canal Department. First, the defenses were inadequate to delay a raiding party long enough to permit sweeping the defense lines (fences) with automatic fire before entry might be gained. Second, the local guard was deficient in number and organization. Third, automatic weapons were inadequate and protection for personnel lacking. Fourth, there was a divided responsibility for defense measures. This report sparked a continuing review of the entire defense and sabotage problem with much correspondence passing between the Office of the Governor and Headquarters, Panama Canal


Department. The principal differences of opinion between Canal authorities and the Army regarded the potential threat of raids on the Canal from Panamanian territory, adequate barracks for guard, and the quartering of officers' Panama Canal authorities had different theories concerning the potential for sabotage. They did not consider that an individual could accomplish "vital sabotage" and were more concerned with the threat from a transiting vessel.*6 There were five means by which vessels could damage the Canal:
1) ram the locks gates, 2) sifk in the locks, 3) drop timed submarine bombs overboard, 4) drop explosives overboard, or 5) sink in the main channel. Canal authorities felt that the first two would not necessarily put the Canal out of operation, but three was a distinct possibility and four and five where a "certainty." Raids from Panamanian territory were considered a strong possibility by the military and were third on the War Department's list of probability. Such an attack, however, had to be "strong enough to overpower the guards and hold off any reserves while a number of experts fastened explosives to vulnerable spots on the gates.' The military tacitly admitted there was small danger of damage by an individual saboteur, but reiterated their concern for anti-sabotage defense against raids from Panamanian territory and the need for


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defensive works to protect lock guards against small arms fire. The conflict ended on September 5, 1939 when, under Executive Order 8232, the Commanding General, Panama Canal Department, was given exclusive authority over the operation of the Panama Canal as a wartime measure.
General Stone, in a letter to Governor Ridley dated September 19, 1939, expressed that "in view of this situation, i.e., the military in charge of the Canal, it would now appear that the best way of handling the lock guard situation during this temporary period is the appointment of a special board to continue to study the matter and submit recommendations to meet changing conditions."
As suggested earlier, by the Governor, a Joint Board consisting of an officer from The Panama Canal Department, the Atlantic and Pacific Sectors, and the Panama Canal was appointed on September 21, 1939. The Board would meet as needed to consider everything related to the organization and operation of the locks guard during the period of construction when additional security measures were needed.1 After careful consideration of committee reports, the Board approved increased strength levels and security improvements for all vital installations. For the Pacific Sector, Miraflores would have 131 enlisted men (including the locks, spillway, emergency diesel generating


station and water filtration plant) and Pedro Miguel Locks would have 83. New construction at Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks would consist of barracks, eight guard towers, barriers on approaching roads, reinforced barriers at the fence and road barrier post shelters. Searchlights and floodlights would also be installed at each set of locks. For the Atlantic Sector, Gatun Locks would have 54 men, with 23 at Gatun Dam, Spillway and Hydro electric Plant. Recommendations for new construction included six guard towers, two sentry boxes, two shelters (one each for the 75mm gun and the searchlight crew), two gate barriers and additional barracks.
Governor Ridley approved the recommendations of the Board on October 9, 1939 and the work proceeded on the construction of additions to guard barracks, guard towers and barricades.
While improvements were being carried out, there were no further changes tothe guard until February 16, 1940, when the sector organization within the Panama Canal Department was discontinued and the forces were grouped into four commands. The Atlantic and Pacific Sectors were abolished and the Panama Mobile Force was given command of the Lock and Security Guard of the entire Canal Zone. This was the first time in the history of the Canal that the close-in protection of


2.7







the locks and vital installations of the Canal had been consolidated. It
-permitted the Panama Mobile Force Commander to standardize the guard and reduced coordination to three department heads--the Panama Canal Department Commander, the Governor of the Panama Canal, and the Mobile Force Commander.
With the assumption of command by General Prosser on February 11, 1941 as Commanding General of the Mobile Force, a period of testing and tightening up of security began. He recommended that the fences around each of the three lock enclosures be "doubled and reinforced."9 To test their vulnerability, on February 17, 1941 the Panama Mobile Force was ordered to "attack" the locks as a field training exercise. The plan called for the 5th Infantry located at Pacora to attack the Pedro Miguel and Miraflores Locks and for the 14th Infantry at Fort Davis to do the same at Gatun Locks.
The Canal Zone Police were accordingly notified of the attacks but the military guards were not. All live ammunition was withdrawn as a safety measure. They were planned to be spontaneous and the defenses evaluated based on the response by the guards. It was reported to the �Chief of Staff, Panama Canal Department, that the war maneuvers against the locks were executed and that the attacking forces had been


"annihilated." However, the exercise pointed out the need for defending the high ground surrounding the locks or the use of tanks as a substitute for hill defenses.
Because of the increased vulnerability of the locks due to ongoing construction, which the military felt largely nullified the existing security plan, further protective measures were necessary. These included improved defenses for the critical locks control towers (houses) and tunnels. Accordingly, plans were made to: place a strong military guard in the control houses and at tunnel entrances to control access; erect machine gun positions protected by wire and sandbags; install steel doors on the stairs to the control houses; and patrol the tunnels. In addition, a military guard was to be posted near the entrances to the locks enclosures to check all military personnel and traffic entering the area and to assist the Canal Zone Police guard on duty.
Through. its increased responsibility, the Army Forces Command was able to observe weaknesses in security operations of the Navy and The Panama Canal. It felt that high standards had to be enforced by all parties involved if the Canal was to be satisfactorily protected. A weak link anywhere in the chain might prove disastrous. As a result, the Commanding General, Panama Canal Department, instructed


18



































































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the Governor to tighten up security in the pier areas and aboard ships, especially persons boarding ships transiting the Canal with packages. The Panama Railroad stevedore gang was to scrutinize all cargo being loaded and to inform Canal Zone Customs of anything suspicious. The General's instructions were considered valid and were acted upon by the Governor on June 10, 1941.10

Reorganization

In November 1941 it was learned that the 33d Infantry was to be transferred to another location in the Caribbean. This necessitated replanning the whole scheme of guard coverage for the Canal. Up to that time the security guard was a regimental responsibility, with each of the three regiments responsible for a one month tour. One regiment was assigned to the Transit Guard on a monthly :rotational basis.
The Lock Guard and the Utility Guard were divided among the others." One regiment carried the whole load on a rotating basis which freed two complete regiments for training during two out of every three months. However, pre-war conditions required that extreme precautions against sabotage be taken in defense of the Canal. One regiment alone could not handle the increased demands. Not only were more installations being guarded, but


it was felt necessary to augment the patrolling of the areas adjacent to the locks because of the threat of raiding parties from Panama or small parachute squads rendezvousing there prior to an attack. The strength now required was three battalions for the Lock Guard and the Utility Guard with one battalion rotated for the Transit Guard. This covered the security guard and provided an adequate reserve with two days on duty and one day off. A soldier worked eight hours followed by four in reserve.
The departure of the 33d
Infantry required a reassignment of responsibilities and on November 30, 1941 the 5th Infantry relieved the 33d of all duties except that of the Transit Guard. The 2nd Field Artillery Battalion took over the Transit Guard on December 12, 1941. War had already broken out with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The departure of the 33d left only enough troops for close-in defense of the locks. Fortunately, during the six months prior to the outbreak of war, defensive positions had been prepared on key terrain in and around the locks and road blocks constructed on all approaches to the locks enclosures, with most of the strength of the Mobile Force concentrated therein.
There was no delay in placing the Transit Guard, the Lock Guard and the Utility Guard on a wartime


19






footing and the only change necessary was to increase the personnel on duty at all times from 65 % to 85 %.
In late December the 150th Infantry arrived to replace the 33d. After a brief period of training, they took over the Lock Guard and the Utility Guard the first week of January, 1942.
Responsibility for the Lock Guard and the Utility Guard was reassigned to the newly created "Security Command" -on April 15, 1942. The Panama Mobile Force's sole responsibility was the land defense of the Canal up to the Locks enclosures.12
To carry out its mission, the 150th employed the following personnel in the Lock Guard as of June 18, 1942: Miraflores Locks (including the swing bridge, filtration plant, spillway and diesel-electric plant) five officers and 219 enlisted men, Pedro Miguel Locks (including operation of smoke generators), five officers and 165 enlisted men; Gatun Locks (including operation of smoke generators and Transit Explosive Guard), seven officers and 209 enlisted men.
The consolidation of authority and responsibility for canal security resulted in improvements in close-in defense of the locks, tighter access controls, exercises to test security and improvements in communications, command and control.'3
On June 1, 1943, the Panama


Security Command was disestablished and the Panama Mobile Force reassumed its responsibility for the Security Guard and other functions of the Security Command. The 150th Infantry continued to man the Security Guard which remained virtually unchanged until April, 1945. All Canal security missions were successfully carried out including the defensive measures in Panama with no recorded hostile action against the Panama Canal during the War.


20