Philippines Campaign (1941–1942): Wikis


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Battle of the Philippines
Part of the Pacific Theatre of World War II
Ww2 131.jpg
Allied prisoners of war use improvised litters to carry comrades who are sick, exhausted and/or wounded. This event, shortly before the end of the battle, would become known as the Bataan Death March.
Date December 8, 1941 – May 8, 1942
Location Philippines
Result Japanese victory;
Japanese occupation of the Philippines
Philippines Commonwealth of the Philippines
 United States
Japan Empire of Japan
United States Douglas MacArthur
United States Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV #
Philippines Manuel L. Quezon
Philippines Paulino T. Santos
Philippines Basilio J. Valdes
Philippines Vicente Lim
Philippines Alfredo M. Santos
Philippines Mateo Capinpin
Japan Masaharu Homma
About 151,000[1] 129,435[2]
Casualties and losses
25,000 killed
21,000 wounded
100,000 captured[3]
9,000 killed
500 missing
13,200 wounded
10,000 disease stricken

The Philippines Campaign (1941-1942) or the Battle of the Philippines was the invasion of the Philippines by Japan in 1941–1942 and the defense of the islands by Filipino and United States forces.

The Japanese high command, believing this had won the campaign, made a strategic decision to advance by a month their timetable of operations in Borneo and Indonesia, withdrawing their best division and the bulk of their airpower in early January 1942.[4] This, coupled with the decision of the defenders to withdraw into a defensive holding position in the Bataan Peninsula, enabled the Americans and Filipinos to successfully hold out for four more months.




Japanese plans


The Japanese planned to occupy the Philippines as part of their plan for a "Greater East Asia War" in which their Southern Expeditionary Army Group seized sources of raw materials in Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies while the Combined Fleet neutralized the United States Pacific Fleet.

The Southern Expeditionary Army was created on November 6, 1934, commanded by Gen. Count Hisaichi Terauchi, who had previously been Minister of War. It was ordered to prepare for war in the event that negotiations with the United States did not succeed in peacefully meeting Japanese objectives. Under Terauchi's command were four corps-equivalent armies, comprising ten divisions and three combined arms brigades, including the 14th Army. Operations against the Philippines and Malaya were to be conducted simultaneously when Imperial General Headquarters ordered.

The invasion of the Philippines had three objectives:

  • To prevent the use of the Philippines as an advance base of operations by American forces,
  • To acquire staging areas and supply bases to enhance operations against the Netherlands East Indies, and
  • To secure the lines of communication between occupied areas in the south and the Japanese Home Islands.

Invasion forces

Terauchi assigned the Philippines invasion to the 14th Army, under command of Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma. Air support of ground operations would be provided by the 5th Air Group, under Lt. Gen. Hideyoshi Obata, which was transferred to Formosa from Manchuria. The amphibious invasion would be conducted by the Philippines Force under Vice Admiral Ibo Takahashi, using the Imperial Japanese Navy Third Fleet, supported by the land-based aircraft of 11th Air Fleet of Vice Admiral Nishizo Tsukahara.

The 14th Army had two first-line infantry divisions, the 16th and 48th, to invade and conquer Luzon, and the 65th Brigade as a garrison force. The Formosa-based 48th Division, although without combat experience, was considered one the Japanese Army's best units, was specially trained in amphibious operations, and was given the assignment of the main landing in Lingayen Gulf. The 16th Division, assigned to land at Lamon Bay, was picked as one of the best divisions still available in Japan itself and staged from the Ryukyus and Palau. The 14th Army also had the 4th and 7th Tank Regiments, five field artillery battalions, five anti-aircraft artillery battalions, four antitank companies, and a mortar battalion. An unusually strong group of combat engineer and bridging units was included in the 14th Army's support forces.

For the invasion, the Third Fleet was augmented by two destroyer squadrons and a cruiser division of the Second Fleet, and the aircraft carrier Ryujo from the 1st Air Fleet. The Philippines Force consisted of an aircraft carrier, five heavy cruisers, five light cruisers, 29 destroyers, three seaplane tenders, 17 minecraft, and four torpedo boats.

Combined army and navy air strength to support the landings was 604 aircraft. The 11th Air Fleet consisted of the 21st and 23rd Air Flotillas, a combined strength of 146 bombers, 123 fighters, 24 seaplanes, and 15 reconnaissance planes. The Ryujo provided an additional 16 fighters and 18 torpedo planes, and the surface ships had 68 seaplanes for search and observation, totalling 412 naval aircraft. The army's 5th Air Group consisted of two fighter regiments, two light bomber regiments, and a heavy bomber regiment, totalling 192 aircraft: 81 bombers, 72 fighters, and 39 observation planes.



From mid-1941, following increased tension between Japan and several other powers, including the United States, Britain and the Netherlands, many countries in South East Asia and the Pacific began to prepare for the possibility of war. By December 1941, the combined defense forces in the Philippines were organized into the US Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), which eventually included the Philippine Army's 1st Regular Division, 2nd (Constabulary) Division, and 10 mobilized reserve divisions,[5] and the United States Army's Philippine Department. General Douglas MacArthur was recalled from retirement by the U.S. War Department and named commander of USAFFE on July 26, 1941.[6] MacArthur had retired in 1937 after two years as Military Advisor to the Philippine Commonwealth,[7] and accepted control of the Philippine Army, tasked by the Government of the Philippines with reforming an army made up primarily of reservists lacking equipment, training and organization.

On July 31, 1941 the Philippine Department had 22,532 troops assigned, approximately half of whom were Filipino.[8] MacArthur recommended the reassignment of the department commander, Maj. Gen. George Grunert, in October 1941 and took command himself.[9] The main component of the Department was the U.S. Army Philippine Division, a 10,500-man formation that consisted mostly of Philippine Scouts (PS) combat units.[10] The Philippine Department had been reinforced between August and November 1941 by 8,500 troops of the U.S. Army Air Forces, and by three Army National Guard units, including its only armor, two battalions of M3 light tanks.[11] These units, the 200th Coastal Artillery Regiment, 192nd Tank Battalion, and 194th Tank Battalion, drew troops from New Mexico, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, and California.[12][13][14] After reinforcement, the Department's strength as of 30 November 1941 was 31,095, including 11,988 Philippine Scouts.[15]

MacArthur organized USAFFE into four tactical commands.[16] The North Luzon Force, activated December 3, 1941 under Maj. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright, defended the most likely sites for amphibious attacks and the central plains of Luzon. Wainwright's forces included the PA 11th, 21st and 31st Infantry Divisions, the U.S. 26th Cavalry Regiment (a PS unit), a battalion of the 45th Infantry (PS), and the 1st Provisional Artillery Group of two batteries of 144 mm guns and one 2.95inch (75 mm) mountain gun. The Philippine 71st Infantry Division served as a reserve and could be committed only on the authority of MacArthur.[17]

The South Luzon Force, activated December 13, 1941 under Brig. Gen. George M. Parker Jr., controlled a zone east and south of Manila. Parker had the PA 41st and 51st Infantry Divisions and the 2nd Provisional Artillery Group of two batteries of the US 86th Field Artillery Regiment (PS).

The VisayanMindanao Force under Brig. Gen. William F. Sharp comprised the PA 61st, 81st, and 101st Infantry Divisions, reinforced after the start of the war by the newly-inducted 73rd and 93rd Infantry Regiments. The 61st Division was located on Panay, the 81st on Cebu and Negros, and the 101st on Mindanao. In January a fourth division, the 102nd, was created on Mindanao from the field artillery regiments of the 61st and 81st Divisions acting as infantry (they had no artillery pieces), and the 103rd Infantry of the 101st Division. The 2nd Infantry of the Philippine Army's 1st Regular Division and the 2nd Battalion of the U.S. 43rd Infantry (Philippine Scouts) were also made a part of the Mindanao Force.

USAFFE's Reserve Force, under MacArthur's direct control, was composed of the Philippine Division, the 91st Division (PA), and headquarters units from the PA and Philippine Department, positioned just north of Manila. The 192nd and 194th Tank Battalions formed the separate Provisional Tank Group, also under MacArthur's direct command, at Clark Field/Fort Stotsenburg.

Four U.S. coastal artillery regiments guarded the entrance to Manila Bay, including Corregidor Island. Across a narrow 3 kilometre (2 mi) strait of water from Bataan on Corregidor was Ft. Mills, defended by batteries of the 59th and 60th Coast Artillery Regiments (the latter an anti-aircraft unit), and the 91st and 92nd Coast Artillery Regiments (Philippine Scouts) of the Harbor Defenses of Manila and Subic Bays. The 59th CA acted as a supervisory unit for the batteries of all units positioned on Forts Hughes, Drum, Frank, and Wint.[18]

The USAFFE's aviation arm was the Far East Air Force (FEAF) of the U.S. Army Air Forces, commanded by Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton. Activated as the Philippine Department Air Force on September 20, 1941,[19] it was the largest USAAF combat air organization outside the United States. Its primary combat power in December 1941 consisted of 91 serviceable P-40 Warhawk fighters and 35 B-17 Flying Fortress bombers, with further modern aircraft en route. Tactically the FEAF was part of the Reserve Force, so that it fell under MacArthur's direct command.

As of 30 November 1941 the strength of US Army Troops in the Philippines, including Philippine units, was 31,095 consisting of 2,504 officers and 28,591 enlisted (16,643 Americans and 11,957 Philippine Scouts).[20]


MacArthur's mobilization plans called for induction of the ten reserve divisions between September 1 and December 15, 1941. The timetable was met on 1 September with the induction of one regiment per division, but slowed as a lack of facilities and equipment hampered training. The second regiments of the divisions were not called up until November 1, and the third regiments were not organized until after hostilities began. Training was also seriously inhibited by language difficulties between the American cadres and the Filipino troops, and by the many differing dialects (estimated at 70) of the numerous ethnic groups comprising the army. By the outbreak of war, only two-thirds of the Army had been mobilized, but additions to the force continued with the induction of the Constabulary and a portion of the regular army, until a force of approximately 120,000 men was reached.

The most crucial equipment shortfalls were in rifles and divisional light artillery. MacArthur requested 84,500 M1 Garand rifles to replace the World War I Enfields equipping the PA, of which there were adequate numbers, but the War Department denied the request because of production difficulties. The divisions had only 20% of their artillery requirements, and while plans had been approved to significantly reduce this gap, the arrangements came too late to be implemented before war isolated the Philippines.[21]

By contrast the Philippine Division was adequately manned, equipped, and trained. MacArthur received immediate approval to modernize it by reorganizing it as a mobile "triangular" division. Increasing the authorized size of the Philippine Scouts was not politically viable (because of resentments within the lesser-paid Philippine Army), so MacArthur's plan also provided for freeing up Philippine Scouts to round out other units. The transfer of the American 34th Infantry from the 8th Infantry Division in the United States to the Philippine Division, accompanied by two field artillery battalions to create a pair of complete regimental combat teams, was actually underway when war broke out. The deployment ended with the troops still in the United States, where they were sent to defend Hawaii instead.

Other defense forces

The United States Asiatic Fleet and 16th Naval District, based at Manila, provided the naval defenses for the Philippines. Commanded by Admiral Thomas C. Hart, the surface combatants of the Asiatic Fleet were a heavy cruiser, one light cruiser, and 13 World War I-era destroyers.[22] Its primary striking power was in the 23 modern submarines assigned to the Asiatic Fleet. Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) Two consisted of 12 Salmon class submarines and SUBRON Five of 11 Porpoise and Sargo class submarines. In September 1941 naval patrol forces in the Philippines were augmented by the arrival of the six PT boats of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three. Likewise the China Yangtze Patrol gunboats also became part of the Philippine naval defenses: USS Asheville (PG-21) (Sunk south of Java 3 March 1942); USS Mindano (PR-8) (lost 2 May 1942); USS Luzon (PG-47) (scuttled 6 May 1942 but salvaged by the Japanese); USS Oahu (PR-6) (sunk 5 May 1942); USS Quail (AM-15) (scuttled 5 May 1942). In December 1941 Naval forces were augmented by the schooner USS Lanikai (1914).

The U.S. 4th Marine Regiment, stationed in Shanghai, China, since the late 1920s, had anticipated a withdrawal from China during the summer of 1941. As personnel were routinely transferred back to the United States or separated from the service, they were not replaced in China. Instead, the regimental commander, Col. Samuel L. Howard, arranged unofficially for all replacements to be placed in the 1st Special Defense Battalion, based at Cavite. When the 4th Marines arrived in the Philippines on November 30, 1941, it incorporated the Marines at Cavite and Olongapo Naval Stations into its understrength ranks.[23] An initial plan to divide the 4th into two regiments, mixing each with a battalion of Philippine Constabulary, was discarded after Howard showed reluctance, and the 4th was stationed on Corregidor to augment the defenses there, with details detached to Bataan to protect USAFFE headquarters.

Far East Air Force controversy

After news reached the Philippines that an attack on Pearl Harbor was in progress at around 03:00 a.m. local time on December 8, 1941,[24] FEAF interceptors had already conducted an air search for incoming aircraft reported shortly after midnight, but these had been Japanese scout planes reporting weather conditions.[25]

At 05:00 a.m. FEAF commander Gen. Brereton reported to USAFFE headquarters where he attempted to see MacArthur without success. He recommended to MacArthur's chief of staff, Brig. Gen. Richard Sutherland, that FEAF launch bombing missions against Formosa in accordance with Rainbow 5 war plan directives that Japanese territory from which an attack was likely to come be attacked. Authorization was withheld, but shortly afterward, in response to a telegram from General George C. Marshall instructing MacArthur to implement Rainbow 5, Brereton was ordered to have a strike in readiness for later approval.[26 ]

Through a series of disputed discussions and decisions, authorization for the first raid was not approved until 11:00 a.m. local time for an attack just before sunset, with a followup raid at dawn the next day. In the meantime Japanese plans to bomb FEAF's main bases was delayed by fog at its Formosa bases, so that only a small scale mission attacked targets in the northern tip of Luzon. At 08:00 a.m. Brereton received a telephone call from General Henry H. Arnold warning him not to allow his aircraft to be attacked while still on the ground. FEAF launched fighter patrols and all of its bombers on Luzon between 08:00 and 09:00 a.m. as a precautionary move. However several confusing and false reports of air attacks culminated in an all-clear being announced at 11:00, at which time the bombers were ordered to land and prepare for the afternoon raid on Formosa. The squadron of defending P-40 fighters patrolling the area also landed at Clark Field to refuel.

At 11:20 a.m., the radar post at Iba Field detected the incoming raid while it was still 130 miles out. It alerted FEAF headquarters and the command post at Clark Field, a warning which apparently reached only the pursuit group commander, with no further action taken to safeguard the air forces.[26 ]

When the Japanese pilots of the 11th Air Fleet attacked Clark Field at 12:30 p.m., they caught two squadrons of B-17s dispersed on the ground and its squadron of P-40 interceptors just preparing to taxi. The first wave of twenty-seven Japanese twin-engine bombers achieved complete tactical surprise, striking the P-40s as they taxied. A second bomber attack was supported by Zero fighters strafing the field that destroyed 12 of the 17 American heavy bombers present and seriously damaged three others.[27] Only three P-40s managed to take off. A simultaneous attack on the auxiliary field at Iba to the northwest was also successful: all but two of the 3rd Pursuit Squadron's P-40s, short on fuel, were destroyed in combat or from lack of gasoline when the attack caught them in their landing pattern. The Far East Air Force lost fully half its planes in the first attack, and was all but destroyed over the next few days.

No formal investigation took place regarding this failure as occurred in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor. After the war Brereton and Sutherland in effect blamed each other for FEAF being surprised on the ground, and MacArthur released a statement claiming that he had no knowledge of any recommendation to attack Formosa with B-17s.


Initial landings

Invasion of the Philippines, 1941.jpg

The 14th Army began its invasion with a landing on Batan Island (not to be confused with Bataan Peninsula), 120 miles (190 km) off the north coast of Luzon, on December 8, 1941, by selected naval infantry units. Landings on Camiguin Island and at Vigan, Aparri, and Gonzaga in northern Luzon followed two days later.

Two B-17s attacked the Japanese ships offloading at Gonzaga. Other B-17s with fighter escort attacked the landings at Vigan. In this last coordinated action of the Far East Air Force, U.S. planes damaged two Japanese transports, the cruiser Naka, and the destroyer Murasame, and sank one minesweeper.[28]

Early on the morning of December 12, the Japanese landed 2,500 men of the 16th Division at Legazpi on southern Luzon, 150 miles (240 km) from the nearest American and Philippine forces. The attack on Mindanao followed on December 19 using elements of the 16th Army temporarily attached to the invasion force to permit the 14th Army to use all its troops on Luzon.

Meanwhile, Admiral Thomas C. Hart withdrew most of his U.S. Asiatic Fleet from Philippine waters following Japanese air strikes that inflicted heavy damage on U.S. naval facilities at Cavite on December 8. Only submarines were left to contest Japanese naval superiority, and the commanders of these, conditioned by pre-war doctrine that held the fleet submarine to be a scouting vessel more vulnerable to air and anti-submarine attack than it actually was, proved unequal to the task.

Main attack

The main attack began early on the morning of December 22 as 43,110 men of the 48th Division and one regiment of the 16th Division, supported by artillery and approximately 90 tanks, landed at three points along the east coast of Lingayen Gulf. A few B-17s flying from Australia attacked the invasion fleet, and U.S. submarines harassed it from the adjacent waters, but with little effect.

General Wainwright's poorly trained and equipped 11th and 71st Divisions (PA) could neither repel the landings nor pin the enemy on the beaches. The remaining Japanese units of the divisions landed farther south along the gulf. The 26th Cavalry (PS), advancing to meet them, put up a strong fight at Rosario but, after taking heavy casualties and with no hope of sufficient reinforcements, was forced to withdraw. By nightfall, December 23, the Japanese had moved ten miles (16 km) into the interior of the island.

The next day 7,000 men of the 16th Division hit the beaches at three locations along the shore of Lamon Bay in southern Luzon where they found General Parker's forces dispersed, and without artillery protecting the eastern coast, unable to offer serious resistance. They immediately consolidated their positions and began the drive north toward Manila where they would link up with the forces advancing south toward the capital for the final victory.

Withdrawal into Bataan

The U.S. Philippine Division moved into the field in reaction to reports of airborne drops near Clark Field, and when this proved false, were deployed to cover the withdrawal of troops into Bataan and to resist Japanese advances in the Subic Bay area.

On December 24, MacArthur invoked the pre-war war plan WPO-3 (War Plan Orange 3), which called for use of five delaying positions in Central Luzon while forces withdrew into Bataan. This was carried out in part by the 26th Cavalry Regiment.[29] He relieved Gen. Parker of his command of South Luzon Force and had him begin preparing defensive positions on Bataan, using units as they arrived; both the military headquarters and the Philippines government were moved there. Nine days of feverish movement of supplies into Bataan, primarily by barge from Manila, began in an attempt to feed an anticipated force of 43,000 troops for 6 months. (Ultimately 80,000 troops and 26,000 refugees flooded Bataan.) Nevertheless substantial forces remained in other areas for several months.

Units of both defense forces were maneuvered to hold open the escape routes into Bataan, in particular San Fernando, the steel bridges at Calumpit over the deep Pampanga River at the north end of Manila Bay, and Plaridel north of Manila. The South Luzon Force, despite its inexperience and equivocating orders to withdraw and hold, successfully executed "leapfrogging" retrograde techniques and crossed the bridges by January 1. Japanese air commanders rejected appeals by the 48th Division to bomb the bridges to trap the retreating forces,[30] which were subsequently demolished by Philippine Scout engineers on January 1.

The Japanese realized the full extent of MacArthur's plan on December 30 and ordered the 48th Division to press forward and seal off Bataan. In a series of actions between January 2 and January 4, the 11th and 21st Divisions of the Philippine Army, the 26th Cavalry (PS) and the American M3 Stuart tanks of the Provisional Tank Group held open the road from San Fernando to Dinalupihan at the neck of the peninsula for the retreating forces of the South Luzon Force, then made good their own escape. Despite 50% losses in the 194th Tank Battalion during the retreat, the Stuarts and a supporting battery of 75mm SPM halftracks repeatedly stopped Japanese thrusts and were the final units to enter Bataan.

On December 30, the American 31st Infantry moved to the vicinity of Zigzag Pass to cover the flanks of troops withdrawing from central and southern Luzon, while other units of the Philippine Division organized positions at Bataan. The 31st Infantry then moved to a defensive position on the west side of the Olongapo-Manila road, near Layac Junction — at the neck of Bataan Peninsula — on January 5, 1942. The junction was given up on January 6, but the withdrawal to Bataan was successful.

Battle of Bataan

From January 7 to January 14, 1942, the Japanese concentrated on reconnaissance and preparations for an attack on the Main Battle Line from Abucay to Mount Natib to Mauban. At the same time, in a critical mistake, they also conducted the relief of the 48th Division, responsible for much of the success of Japanese operations, by the much less-capable 65th Brigade, intended as a garrison force. The Japanese 5th Air group was withdrawn from operations on January 5 in preparation for movement with the 48th Division to the Netherlands East Indies.[31] U.S. and Filipino forces repelled night attacks near Abucay, and elements of the U.S. Philippine Division counterattacked on January 16. This failed, and the division withdrew to the Reserve Battle Line from Casa Pilar to Bagac in the center of the peninsula on January 26.

The 14th Army renewed its attacks on January 23 with an attempted amphibious landing behind the lines by a battalion of the 16th Division, then with general attacks beginning January 27 along the battle line. The amphibious landing was disrupted by a PT boat and contained in brutally dense jungle by ad hoc units made up of U.S. Army Air Corps troops, naval personnel, and Philippine Constabulary. The pocket was then slowly forced back to the cliffs, with high casualties on both sides. Landings to reinforce the surviving pocket on January 26 and February 2 were severely disrupted by air attacks from the few remaining Air Corps P-40s, then trapped and eventually annihilated on February 13.

A penetration in the I Corps line was stopped and broken up into several pockets. General Homma on February 8 ordered the suspension of offensive operations in order to reorganize his forces. This could not be carried out immediately, because the 16th Division remained engaged trying to extricate a pocketed battalion of its 20th Infantry. With further losses, the remnants of the battalion, 378 officers and men, were extricated on February 15. On February 22 the 14th Army line withdrew a few miles to the north and USAFFE forces re-occupied the abandoned positions. The result of the "Battle of the Points" and "Battle of the Pockets" was total destruction of all three battalions of the Japanese 20th Infantry and a clear USAFFE victory.

Generals Wainwright (left) and MacArthur.

For several weeks the Japanese, deterred by heavy losses and reduced to a single brigade, conducted siege operations while waiting refitting and reinforcement. Both armies engaged in patrols and limited local attacks. Because of the worsening Allied position in the Asia-Pacific region, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to re-locate from Corregidor to Australia, as Supreme Allied Commander South West Pacific Area. (MacArthur's famous speech regarding the Philippines, in which he said "I came out of Bataan and I shall return" was made at Terowie, South Australia on March 20.) Wainwright officially assumed control of what was now termed United States Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) on March 23. During this period elements of the U.S. Philippine Division were shifted to assist in the defense of other sectors.

Beginning March 28, a new wave of Japanese air and artillery attacks hit Allied forces who were severely weakened by malnutrition, sickness and prolonged fighting. On April 3, the Japanese began to break through along Mount Samat, estimating that the offensive would require a month to end the campaign. The U.S. Philippine Division, no longer operating as a coordinated unit and exhausted by five days of nearly continuous combat, was unable to counterattack effectively against heavy Japanese assaults. On April 8, the U.S. 57th Infantry Regiment (PS) and the 31st Division PA were overrun near the Alangan River. The U.S. 45th Infantry Regiment (PS), under orders to reach Mariveles and evacuate to Corregidor, finally surrendered on April 10, 1942. Only 300 men of the U.S. 31st Infantry successfully reached Corregidor.

Battle of Corregidor

Corregidor was a U.S. Army Coast Artillery position defending the entrance to Manila Bay. It was armed by both older seacoast disappearing gun batteries of the 59th and 91st Coast Artillery Regiments (the latter was a Philippine Scouts unit), and an anti-aircraft unit, the 60th CA. The latter was posted on the higher elevations of Corregidor and was able to respond successfully to the Japanese air attacks downing many fighters and bombers. The older stationary batteries with fixed mortars, and immense cannons, for defense from attack by sea, were easily put out of commission by the Japanese bombers. The American soldiers and Filipino Scouts defended the small fortress until they had little left to wage a defense.

Early in 1942 the Japanese air command had to install oxygen in its bombers to fly higher than the range of the Corregidor anti-aircraft batteries, and after that time, heavier bombardment began.

In December 1941, the Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon, General MacArthur, other high ranking military naval and diplomatic members and families escaped the bombardment of Manila and were housed in Corregidor's Malinta Tunnel. Prior to their arrival Malinta's laterals had served as high command headquarters, hospital and storage of food and arms. In March 1942, several U.S. Navy submarines arrived on the north side of Corregidor. The Navy brought in mail, orders, and weaponry. They took away with them the highly placed American and Filipino government officers, gold and silver and other important records. Those who were unable to escape by submarine were eventually military POWs of Japan or placed in civilian concentration camps in Manila and other locations.

Corregidor was defended by 11,000 personnel, comprising the units mentioned above that were stationed on Corregidor, the U.S. 4th Marine Regiment, and U.S. Navy personnel deployed as infantry. Some were able to get to Corregidor from the Bataan Peninsula when the Japanese overwhelmed the units there. The Japanese began their final assault on Corregidor with an artillery barrage on May 1. On the night of May 5-May 6, two battalions of the Japanese 61st Infantry Regiment landed at the northeast end of the island. Despite strong resistance, the Japanese established a beachhead that was soon reinforced by tanks and artillery. The defenders were quickly pushed back toward the stronghold of Malinta Hill.

Late on May 6, Wainwright asked Homma for terms of surrender. Homma insisted that surrender include all Allied forces in the Philippines. Believing that the lives of all those on Corregidor would be endangered, Wainwright accepted. On May 8, he sent a message to Sharp, ordering him to surrender the Visayan-Mindanao Force. Sharp complied, but many individuals carried on the fight as guerrillas.


The defeat was the beginning of three and a half years of harsh treatment for the Allied survivors, including atrocities like the Bataan Death March and the misery of Japanese prison camps, and the "Hell Ships" on which American and Allied men were sent to Japan to be used as labor in mines and factories. Thousands were crowded into the holds of Japanese ships, without water, food, or sufficient ventilation. The Japanese did not mark "POW" on the decks of these vessels, and some were attacked by American aircraft and sunk. For example on the 7th of September, 1944 the Shinyo Maru was sunk by the USS Paddle with losses of 668 POWS, only 82 POWS survived.

The Allied and the Philippine Commonwealth forces began the campaign to recapture the Philippines in 1944, with landings on the island of Leyte.

On 30 January 1945 US and Philippine forces liberated POWS in the Raid at Cabanatuan


Filipino-American resistance against the Japanese in the prepared defensive positions of Bataan and Corregidor lasted only 3 months, even though they outnumbered the invading forces. The defenders of Bataan and Corregidor gave the United States time to rescue Douglas MacArthur out of Corregidor via a PT Boat and into Australia. The valor of the Filipino and American soldiers is celebrated yearly on April 9 in the Philippines, Valor Day or Araw ng Kagitingan.

USAFFE order of battle, 3 December 1941; casualty reports

United States Army

PS="Philippine Scouts"

  • Hq Philippine Dept
  • Headquarters-Harbor Defenses
  • Philippine Division
    • 12th Quartermaster Regiment (PS). ABMC lists 90 dead
    • 26th Cavalry Regiment (PS)(Philippine Scouts) ABMC lists 301 dead
    • 43rd Infantry (PS) ABMC lists 31 dead
    • 45th Infantry (PS) ABMC lists 1,039 dead
    • 47th Infantry (PS) ABMC lists 1 dead
    • 47th Motor Transport Company (PS) ABMC lists 1 dead
    • 23rd Field Artillery (PS) Btry A ABMC lists 159 dead
    • 71st Medical Battalion (PS) ABMC lists 0 dead
    • 74th Quartermaster Bakery Co (PS) ABMC lists 17 dead
    • 86th Field Artillery (PS) ABMC lists 169 total (8 Dead for Regiment + 161 dead for Battalion)
    • 88th Field Artillery ABMC lists 186 dead
  • 59th Coast Artillery (Corregidor)- ABMC lists 329 dead
  • 60th Coast Artillery (United States) (Anti-aircraft) - ; ABMC lists 390 dead (Corregidor)
  • 91st Coast Artillery (PS) - ABMC lists 202 dead (Corregidor)
  • 92nd Tractor Drawn Coast Artillery (PS) - ; ABMC lists 200 dead (Corregidor)
  • 515th Coast Artillery Regiment -. ABMC lists 207 dead
  • 200th Coast Artillery - ABMC lists 373 dead
  • 202nd Philippine Engineer Battalion. ABMC lists 9 dead
  • 808th MP Co - ABMC lists 90 dead
  • Provisional Tank Group:
    • 17th Ordinance Battalion (one Company) ABMC lists 45 dead
    • 192nd Tank Battalion - ABMC lists 189 dead[32]
    • 194th Tank Battalion - (less Company B). ABMC lists 183 dead
  • Far East Air Force commanded by Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton; also commanded by Brig General Harold Huston George {Killed in flying accident Australia April 30, 1942}
  • 5th Air Base Group
  • V Bomber Command
    • 19th Bomb Group (Heavy) (Headquarters, Clark Field) ABMC lists 3 dead; HQ Squadron 19th BG ABMC list 103 dead;
      • 14th Bomb Squadron (Del Monte Field, 5 December, 8 B-17) ABMC lists 13 dead
      • 28th Bomb Squadron (Clark Field, 8 B-17) ABMC lists 93 dead
      • 30th Bomb Squadron (Clark Field, 9 B-17) ABMC lists 110 dead
      • 93rd Bomb Squadron (Del Monte Field, 5 December, 8 B-17) ABMC lists 116 dead
    • 27th Bomb Group (Light) (without aircraft) ABMC lists 89 dead
      • 16th Bomb Squadron (Fort McKinley) ABMC lists 72 Dead
      • 17th Bomb Squadron (San Fernando Field) ABMC Lists 62 dead
      • 91st Bomb Squadron (San Marceleno Field) ABMC lists 76 dead
    • 2nd Observation Squadron (Nichols Field, 21 various aircraft) ABMC lists 71 dead
  • V Interceptor Command
    • 24th Pursuit Group (Headquarters, Clark Field) total. HQ Squadron ABMC lists 112 dead
      • 3rd Pursuit Squadron (Iba Field, 18 P-40E) ABMC lists 0 dead
      • 17th Pursuit Squadron (Nichols Field, 18 P-40E) ABMC Lists 0 dead
      • 20th Pursuit Squadron (Clark Field, 18 P-40B) ABMC Lists 96 dead
    • 35th Pursuit Group (headquarters enroute to Philippines) ABMC lists 5 dead
      • 21st Pursuit Squadron (attached 24th PG, Nichols Field, 18 P-40E rec'd 7 December) ABMC lists 89 dead
      • 34th Pursuit Squadron (attached 24th PG, Del Carmen Field, 18 P-35A rec'd 7 December) ABMC lists 0 dead
    • 6th Pursuit Squadron, Philippine Army Air Corps (Batangas Field, 12 P-26) ABMC lists 1 dead
  • 20th Air Base Group ; ABMC list 1 dead
  • Tow Target Detachment
  • 5th Communications Detachment. ABMC lists 0 dead
  • 5th Weather Detachment ABMC lists 0 Dead
  • Chemical Warfare Det,
    • 4th Chemical Company (Aviation). ABMC lists 33 dead
    • 5th Chemical Detachment (Company-Aviation) ABMC lists 2 dead
  • 803d Engineering Detachment (Battalion-Aviation). ABMC lists 232 dead
  • 809th Engineering Detachment
  • 409th Signal/Communications Detachment (Company-Aviation) ABMC lists 29 dead
  • 429th Maintenance Detachment
  • Philippine Aircraft Warning Detachment
  • 47th Material Sq
  • 48th Material Sq ABMC lists 53 dead

Philippine Army

  • Hq Philippine Army:
  • 11th Division
    • HQ 11th Division: ABMC lists 1 dead
    • HQ Com 11th Division: ABMC lists 1 dead
    • 11th Field Artillery Regt: ABMC lists 1 dead
    • 11th Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 4 dead
    • 12th Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 2 dead
    • 13th Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 1 dead
  • 21st Division
    • 21st Engr Battalion: ABMC lists 2 dead
    • 21st Field Artillery Regiment: ABMC lists 3 dead
    • 21st Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 3 dead
    • 22nd Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 3 dead
  • 31st Division
    • 31st Engr Battalion: ABMC lists 1 dead
    • 31st Field Artillery Regt: ABMC lists 2 dead
    • 31st Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 6 dead
    • 32nd Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 3 dead
  • 41st Division
    • 41st Engr Battalion: ABMC lists 1 dead
    • 41st Infantry Regiment: ABMC Lists 6 dead
    • 42nd Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 4 dead
  • 51st Division
    • 51st Field Artillery Regiment: ABMC lists 4 dead
    • 51st Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 4 dead
    • 52nd Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 4 dead
    • 53rd Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 4 dead
  • 61st Division
    • HQ 61st Division: ABMC Lists 1 dead
    • 61st Field Artillery Regiment: ABMC lists 4 dead
    • 61st Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 1 dead
    • 62nd Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 4 dead
    • 63rd Infantry Regiment: ABMC Lists 1 dead
  • 71st Division
    • 71st Field Artillery Regt: ABMC Lists 1 dead
    • 71st Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 2 dead
    • 72nd Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 6 dead
    • 73rd Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 3 dead
    • 75th Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 1 dead
    • 71st Quartermaster Co: ABMC lists 1 dead
  • 81st Division
    • 81st Division: ABMC lists 4 dead
    • 81st Engr Batt.: ABMC lists 1 dead
    • 81st Field Artillery Regt: ABMC lists 2 dead
    • 82nd Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 2 dead
    • 83rd Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 1 dead
  • 91st Division
    • HQ 91st Division: ABMC lists 1 dead
    • 91st Field Artillery Regiment: ABMC lists 5 dead
    • 91st Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 2 dead
    • 92nd Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 5 dead
    • 93rd Infantry Regiment: ABMC lists 1 dead
  • 101st Division
    • ABMC lists 1 with Division;
    • 101st Engr Battalion; ABMC Lists 1 dead;
    • 101st Field Artillery Regt; ABMC lists 1 dead;
    • 101st Inf Regt; ABMC lists 7 dead;
    • 102nd Inf Regt; ABMC lists 0 dead;
    • 103rd Inf Regt; ABMC lists 3 dead

Harbor Defense: For Strength in November 1941 see [2] Note: Harbor defenses included units listed above: Hq and HQ Battery; 59th; 60th; 91st; 92nd Coast Artillery Units

  • USAMP HArrison
  • Station Hospital
  • Chemical warfare Det.

United States Navy

Admiral Thomas C. Hart

  • United States Asiatic Fleet and
  • 16th Naval District,
  • heavy cruiser-USS Houston (CA-30) (lost 1 March 1942, 368 survived of 1,061 crew),
  • one light cruiser
  • 13 World War I-era destroyers.
  • Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) Two consisted of 12 Salmon class submarines and
  • Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) Five of 11 Porpoise and Sargo class submarines.

In December 1941 Naval forces were augmented by the schooner USS Lanikai (1914).

United States Marine Corps

  • 4th Marine Regiment (Commander Colonel Samuel L. Howard) stationed at Corregidor; consisted of 142 different organizations:
    • USMC: 72 officers; 1,368 enlisted
    • USN: 37 officers; 848 enlisted
    • USAAC/PA: 111 officers; 1,455 enlisted

4th Marines Casualties were 315 killed/15 MIA/357 WIA in the Philippine Campaign.[3] 105 Marines were captured on Bataan and 1,283 captured on Corregidor of whom 490 didn't survive. [4]


Harbor Defenses, April 15, 1942 (Maj. Gen. George F. Moore):



  1. ^ The Fall of the Philippines p. 18. The Philippine Army totalled 120,000 and the Army of the United States 31,000.
  2. ^ Reports of General MacArthur Order of Battle plate. The total includes all elements of divisions assigned to the 14th Army at some point in the campaign, and replacements. The maximum strength of Japanese ground forces was approx. 100,000. The total does not include 12000+ Army air force personnel, whose totals were drastically reduced after January 1, 1942.
  3. ^ Life Magazine gives a total of 36,583 US/Filipino troops captured 9 April 1942
  4. ^ Japanese Operations in the Southwest Pacific Area - Reports of General MacArthur Volume II, p. 104.
  5. ^ The Fall of the Philippines - U. S. Army in World War II, pp. 26-27.
  6. ^ The Fall of the Philippines, p. 18.
  7. ^ The Fall of the Philippines, p.19.
  8. ^ The Fall of the Philippines, p. 24.
  9. ^ The Fall of the Philippines, p. 23.
  10. ^ The Fall of the Philippines, p. 22.
  11. ^ The Fall of the Philippines, p.33.
  12. ^ Philippine Islands, page 5
  13. ^ Origin Of The 192nd Tank Battalion
  14. ^ Company C, 194th Tank Battalion in the Philippines, 1941-42
  15. ^ The Fall of the Philippines, p. 49, incl. notes.
  16. ^ The Fall of the Philippines, p. 68-69.
  17. ^ The Fall of the Philippines, p. 499. The two divisions used as reserves, the 71st and 91st, were not from Luzon but from the Visayas, and each had only two regiments.
  18. ^ Shelby Stanton (1984). Order of Battle: U.S. Army World War II, Presidio Press, p. 461.
  19. ^ Maurer Maurer, Air Force Combat Units of World War II, Part 8, Fifth Air Force.
  21. ^ The Fall of the Philippines, p. 35-36.
  22. ^ United States Asiatic Fleet, complete Order of Battle including patrol craft of 16th Naval District.
  23. ^ The Fall of the Philippines, p. 528-529. The Peking and Chinwangtao detachments of the 4th were stranded in China by the onset of war. The 4th Marines had only two battalions, each organized into a machine gun company and two rifle companies of only two platoons each. The amalgamation of the 1st Special Defense Battalion, Cavite, enabled the 4th to organize a third battalion, and Marines of the Marine Barracks Olangapo enabled the 1st and 2nd Battalions to field three rifle companies of three platoons each.
  24. ^ The attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on December 7 by local, Hawaiian time. This was December 7 in the Philippines, which is on the other side of the International Date Line. Clock time in the Philippines was 18 hours 30 minutes ahead of Hawaiian time (see zoneinfo database).
  25. ^ John T. Correll, "Caught on the Ground", AIR FORCE Magazine, December 2007, Vol. 90, No. 12, p.68.
  26. ^ a b Correll, "Caught on the Ground".
  27. ^ Correll, Caught on the Ground".
  28. ^ Bob Hackett and Sander Kingsepp (2007). "HIJMS NAKA: Tabular Record of Movement". Retrieved 2007-09-26.  
  29. ^ Merriam, Ray (1999), War in the Philippines, Merriam Press, p. 70–82, ISBN 1-57638-164-1,,M1, retrieved 2008-01-31  
  30. ^ The Fall of the Philippines, p. 208.
  31. ^ Japanese Operations in the Southwest Pacific Area, p.104.
  32. ^ Company A was from Janesville, Wis; Company B was from Maywood and Proviso Township, Cook County, Illinois; Company C was from Port Clinton, Ohio; Company D was from Harrodsburg, Kentucky;see [1]


  • Bartsch, William H. (2003). December 8, 1941: MacArthur's Pearl Harbor. College Station, TX, USA: Texas A&M University Press.  
  • Belote, James H.; William M. Belote (1967). Corregidor: The Saga of a Fortress. Harper & Row. ASIN B0006BOBRQ.  
  • Berhow, Mark A.; Terrance C. McGovern (2003). American Defenses of Corregidor and Manila Bay 1898–1945 (Fortress). Osprey Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-84176-427-2.  
  • Burton, John (2006). Fortnight of Infamy: The Collapse of Allied Airpower West of Pearl Harbor. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-096-X.  
  • Connaughton, Richard (2001). MacArthur and Defeat in the Philippines. New York: The Overlook Press.  
  • Drea, Edward J. (1998). In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army. Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-1708-0.  
  • Jackson, Charles; Bruce H. Norton (2003). I Am Alive!: A United States Marine's Story of Survival in a World war II Japanese POW Camp. Presidio Press. ISBN 0-345-44911-8.  
  • Mallonee, Richard C. (2003). Battle for Bataan: An Eyewitness Account. I Books. ISBN 0-7434-7450-3.  
  • Martin, Adrian R. (2008). Operation Plum: The Ill-Fated 27th Bombardment Group and the Fight for the Western Pacific. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 1-60344-019-4.  
  • Mellnik, Stephen Michael (1981). Philippine War Diary, 1939–1945. Van Nostrand Reinhold. ISBN 0-442-21258-5.  
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1958 (reissue 2001)). The Rising Sun in the Pacific 1931 - April 1942, vol. 3 of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Castle Books. ISBN 0-7858-1304-7.  
  • Morris, Eric (2000). Corregidor: The American Alamo of World War II. Cooper Square Press. ISBN 0-8154-1085-9.  
  • Rottman, Gordon L. (2005). Japanese Army in World War II: Conquest of the Pacific 1941–42. Osprey Publishing. ISBN -84176-789-1.  
  • Schultz, Duane (1981). Hero of Bataan: The story of General Johnathan M Wainwright. St Martin's Press. ISBN B000UXDJJG (ASIN).  
  • Waldron, Ben; Emily Burneson (2006). Corregidor: From Paradise to Hell!. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 1-4120-2109-X.  
  • Whitman, John W. (1990). Bataan: Our Last Ditch: The Bataan Campaign, 1942. Hippocrene Books. ISBN 0-87052-877-7.  
  • Young, Donald J. (1992). The Battle of Bataan: A History of the 90 Day Siege and Eventual Surrender of 75,000 Filipino and United States Troops to the Japanese in World War. McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-89950-757-3.  
  • Zaloga, Steven J. Japanese Tanks 1939–45. Osprey, 2007. ISBN 978-1-84603-091-8.

External links


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