The Philippines campaign, the Battle of the Philippines or the Liberation of the Philippines (Filipino: Kampanya sa Pilipinas, Labanan sa Pilipinas & Liberasyon ng Pilipinas), (Operation Musketeer I, II, and III) (Filipino: Operasyon Mosketero I, II, atIII), was the American and Filipino campaign to defeat and expel the Imperial Japanese forces occupying the Philippines during World War II. The Japanese Army overran all of the Philippines during the first half of 1942. The liberation of the Philippines commenced with amphibious landings on the eastern Philippine island of Leyte on October 20, 1944. United States and Philippine Commonwealth military forces were progressing in liberating territory and islands when the Japanese forces in the Philippines were ordered to surrender by Tokyo on August 15, 1945, after the dropping of the atomic bombs on mainland Japan and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria.
By mid-1944, American forces were only 300 nautical miles (560 km) southeast of Mindanao, the largest island in the southern Philippines – and able to bomb Japanese positions there using long-range bombers. American forces under Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz had advanced across the Central Pacific Ocean, capturing the Gilbert Islands, some of the Marshall Islands, and most of the Marianas Islands, bypassing many Japanese Army garrisons and leaving them behind, with no source of supplies and militarily impotent.
Aircraft carrier-based warplanes were already conducting air strikes and fighter sweeps against the Japanese in the Philippines, especially their military airfields. U.S. Army and Australian Army troops under the American General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific Theater of Operations, had either overrun, or else isolated and bypassed, all of the Japanese Army on New Guinea and the Admiralty Islands. Before the invasion of the Philippines, MacArthur's northernmost conquest had been at Morotai in the Dutch East Indies on September 15–16, 1944. This was MacArthur's one base that was within bomber range of the southern Philippines.
U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Army as well as Australian and New Zealand forces under the command of Admiral Nimitz and Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. had isolated the large Japanese South Pacific base at Rabaul, New Britain, by capturing a ring of islands around Rabaul, and then building air bases on them from which to bomb and blockade the Japanese forces at Rabaul into military impotence.
With victories in the Marianas campaign (on Saipan, on Guam, and on Tinian, during June and July 1944), American forces were getting close to Japan itself. From the Marianas, the very long-range B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers of the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) could bomb the Japanese home islands from well-supplied air bases – ones with direct access to supplies via cargo ships and tankers. (The earlier B-29 bombing campaign against Japan had been from the end of a very long and tortuous supply line via British India and British Burma – one that proved to be woefully inadequate. All B-29s were transferred to the Marianas during the fall of 1944.)
Although Japan was obviously losing the war, the Japanese Government, and the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy, showed no sign of capitulation, collapse or surrender.
There had been a close relationship between the people of the Philippines and the United States since 1898, with the Philippines becoming the Commonwealth of the Philippines in 1935, and promised their independence in mid-1946. Furthermore, an extensive series of air attacks by the American Fast Carrier Task Force under Admiral William F. Halsey against Japanese airfields and other bases on the Philippines had drawn little Japanese opposition, such as interceptions by Japanese Army fighter planes. Upon Admiral Halsey's recommendation, the Combined Chiefs of Staff, meeting in Canada, approved a decision to not only move up the date for the first landing in the Philippines, but also to move it north from the southernmost island of Mindanao to the central island of Leyte, Philippines. The new date set for the landing on Leyte, October 20, 1944, was two months before the previous target date to land on Mindanao.
The Filipino people were ready and waiting for the invasion. After General MacArthur had been evacuated from the Philippines in March 1942, all of its islands fell to the Japanese. The Japanese occupation was harsh, accompanied by atrocities and with large numbers of Filipinos pressed into slave labor. From mid-1942 through mid-1944, MacArthur and Nimitz supplied and encouraged the Filipino guerrilla resistance by U.S. Navy submarines and a few parachute drops, so that the guerrillas could harass the Japanese Army and take control of the rural jungle and mountainous areas – amounting to about half of the archipelago. While remaining loyal to the United States, many Filipinos hoped and believed that liberation from the Japanese would bring them freedom and their already-promised independence.
The Australian government offered General MacArthur the use of the First Corps of the Australian Army for the Liberation of the Philippines. MacArthur suggested that two Australian infantry divisions be employed, each of them attached to a different U.S. Army Corps, but this idea was not acceptable to the Australian Cabinet, which wanted to have significant operational control within a certain area of the Philippines, rather than simply being part of a U.S. Army Corps. Australia, were involved.No agreement was ever reached between the Australian Cabinet and MacArthur – who might have wanted it that way. As a result, the Australian Army played virtually no part in the Philippines. However, units from the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Australian Navy, such as the heavy cruiser HMAS
During the American re-conquest of the Philippines, the guerrillas began to strike openly against Japanese forces, carried out reconnaissance activities ahead of the advancing regular troops, and took their places in battle beside the advancing American divisions.
On October 20, 1944, the U.S. Sixth Army, supported by naval and air bombardment, landed on the favorable eastern shore of Leyte, one of the islands of the Visayas island group, northeast of Mindanao. The Japanese miscalculated the relative strength of the naval and air forces, and they attempted to destroy the landing. This brought about the massive sequence of battles called the Battle of Leyte Gulf, fought on October 23 through October 26. This decisive victory by the U.S. Navy, its Fast Carrier Task Force, its surface fleet, and its submarines effectively destroyed the remainder of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), which had already lost all of its effective aircraft carrier forces. The IJN had four of its carriers sunk (ships with depleted air squadrons – which were used only as decoys), numerous battleships and heavy cruisers, and a large number of light cruisers and destroyers. The IJN was never able to fight a major battle after this.
The U.S. Sixth Army continued its advance from the east, as the Japanese rushed reinforcements to the Ormoc Bay area on the western side of the island. While the Sixth Army was continually reinforced, the U.S. Fifth Air Force and the U.S. 3rd Fleet's Task Force 38 were able to devastate the Japanese attempts at air attacks and at landing new reinforcements and supplies, and also provide much support to the Army's ground troops during what is known as the Battle of Ormoc Bay from November 11 to December 21, 1944.
The Filipino guerrillas also performed valuable service in maintaining public order and in keeping the roads and highways free of congestion. After the American beachheads were established, the Leyte guerrilla groups were attached directly to the Sixth Army corps and divisions to assist in scouting, intelligence, and combat operations. [ failed verification ] With the initial U.S. Sixth Army landings on the beaches at Tacloban and Dulag, Colonel Ruperto Kangleon's units went into action. They dynamited key bridges to block Japanese displacement toward the target area; they harassed enemy patrols; and they sabotaged supply and ammunition depots. Information on enemy troop movements and dispositions sent from guerrilla outposts to Kangleon's Headquarters was dispatched immediately to Sixth Army.
During many torrential rains and over difficult terrain, the advance continued across Leyte and onto the major island of Samar, just north of Leyte. On December 7, 1944, the U.S. Army units made another amphibious landing at Ormoc Bay and, after a major land and air battle, the landing force cut off all Japanese ability to reinforce and resupply their troops on Leyte. Although fierce fighting continued on Leyte for months, the U.S. Army was always in control.
The U.S. 6th Army's second major target to attack was Mindoro. This large island is directly south of Luzon and Manila Bay, and MacArthur's main goal in taking it was to be able to construct airfields on it for fighter planes that could dominate the sky over the most-important island of Luzon, with its major seaport and capital city of Manila.
The Seventh Fleet's large invasion convoy from Leyte to Mindoro came under strong attack by kamikazes, but they could not delay the American invasion of Mindoro.Mindoro was only lightly occupied by the Japanese Army, and much of it was held by Filipino guerrillas, so Mindoro was quickly overrun. U.S. Army engineers set about rapidly constructing a major air base at San Fabian. Besides being close to Luzon, Mindoro has another advantage: good flying weather nearly all the time, because this is a part of the Philippines that is relatively dry – quite unlike Leyte which receives torrential rains most of the year, not only giving it poor flying weather, but making it very muddy and difficult to construct airfields.
San Fabian was also the location of another breakthrough: the first appearance during the War in the Pacific of USAAF squadrons flying the fast, long-range P-51B Mustang fighters – far superior to anything that the Imperial Japanese Army or Navy had.
Mindoro was a major victory for the 6th Army and the USAAF, and it also provided the major base for the next move of MacArthur's 6th Army: the invasion of Luzon, especially at Lingayen Gulf on its western coast.
On December 15, 1944, landings against minimal resistance were made on the southern beaches of the island of Mindoro, a key location in the planned Lingayen Gulf operations, in support of major landings scheduled on Luzon. On January 9, 1945, on the south shore of Lingayen Gulf on the western coast of Luzon, General Krueger's Sixth Army landed his first units. Almost 175,000 men followed across the twenty-mile (32 km) beachhead within a few days. With heavy air support, Army units pushed inland, taking Clark Field, 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Manila, in the last week of January.
Two more major landings followed, one to cut off the Bataan Peninsula, and another, which included a parachute drop, south of Manila. Pincers closed on the city. On February 3, 1945, elements of the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division pushed into the northern outskirts of Manila, and the 8th Cavalry Regiment (organized as infantry) passed through the northern suburbs and into the city itself.
As the advance on Manila continued from the north and the south, the Bataan Peninsula was rapidly secured. On February 16, paratroopers and amphibious units simultaneously assaulted the islet of Corregidor. Taking this stronghold was necessary because troops there could block the entrance of Manila Bay. The Americans needed to establish a major harbor base at Manila Bay to support the expected invasion of Japan, planned to begin on November 1, 1945. Resistance on Corregidor ended on February 27, and then all resistance by the Japanese Empire ceased on August 15, 1945, obviating the need for an invasion of the Japanese Home Islands.
Despite initial optimism, fighting in Manila was harsh. It took until March 3 to clear the city of all Japanese troops, and the Japanese Marines, who fought on stubbornly and refused to either surrender or to evacuate as the Japanese Army had done. Fort Drum, a fortified island in Manila Bay near Corregidor, held out until April 13, when a team of Army troops went ashore and pumped 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the fort, then set off incendiary charges. No Japanese soldiers in Fort Drum survived the blast and fire.
In all, ten U.S. divisions and five independent regiments battled on Luzon, making it the largest American campaign of the Pacific war, involving more troops than the United States had used in North Africa, Italy, or southern France.
Palawan Island, between Borneo and Mindoro, the fifth largest and western-most island of the Philippines, was invaded on February 28, with landings of the Eighth United States Army at Puerto Princesa. The Japanese put up little direct defense of Palawan, but cleaning up pockets of Japanese resistance lasted until late April, with the Japanese using their common tactic of withdrawing into the mountains and jungles, dispersed as small units. Throughout the Philippines, U.S. forces were aided by Filipino guerrillas to find and dispatch the holdouts,the last of whom, Hiroo Onoda, did not surrender until 1974, in the mountains of Lubang Island in Mindoro.
The U.S. Eighth Army then moved on to its first landing on Mindanao (April 17), the last of the major islands of the Philippines to be taken. Mindanao was followed by invasion and occupation of Panay, Cebu, Negros and several islands in the Sulu Archipelago. These islands provided bases for the U.S. Fifth and Thirteenth Air Forces to attack targets throughout the Philippines and the South China Sea.
Following additional landings on Mindanao, U.S. Eighth Army troops continued their steady advance against stubborn resistance. By the end of June, the enemy pockets were compressed into isolated pockets on Mindanao and Luzon where fighting continued until the Japanese surrender on August 15, 1945. However, some units of the Japanese Army were out of radio contact with Tokyo, and it was difficult to convince some of them that Japan had surrendered, becoming Japanese holdouts. As at many Pacific Islands, major Japanese officials, including members of the Imperial Family, visited in person to convince the soldiers that they must surrender by order of the Emperor.
|Central and Southern Philippines||2,070||6,990||9,060|
|Central and Southern Philippines||50,260||2,695||52,955|
The Battle of Leyte in the Pacific campaign of World War II was the amphibious invasion of the island of Leyte in the Philippines by American forces and Filipino guerrillas under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, who fought against the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines led by General Tomoyuki Yamashita. The operation, codenamed King Two, launched the Philippines campaign of 1944–45 for the recapture and liberation of the entire Philippine Archipelago and to end almost three years of Japanese occupation.
United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) was a military formation of the United States Army active from 1941 to 1946. The new command's headquarters was created on 26 July 1941, at No. 1, Calle Victoria, Manila, Luzon, the Philippines, with General Douglas MacArthur as commander. The Chief of Staff was Brigadier General Richard K. Sutherland and the Deputy Chief of Staff was Lieutenant Colonel Richard J. Marshall. The core of this command was drawn from the Office of the Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government.
The Asiatic-Pacific Theater was the theater of operations of U.S. forces during World War II in the Pacific War during 1941–45. From mid-1942 until the end of the war in 1945, there were two U.S. operational commands in the Pacific. The Pacific Ocean Areas (POA), divided into the Central Pacific Area, the North Pacific Area and the South Pacific Area, were commanded by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief Pacific Ocean Areas. The South West Pacific Area (SWPA) was commanded by General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Allied Commander South West Pacific Area. During 1945, the United States added the United States Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific, commanded by General Carl A. Spaatz.
Battle of the Philippines may refer to several wars, military campaigns, and major battles which have been fought in the Philippine Islands, including:
Wendell Fertig was an American civil engineer, in the American-administered Commonwealth of the Philippines, who organized and commanded an American-Filipino guerrilla force on the Japanese-occupied, southern Philippine island of Mindanao during World War II.
The Battle of Luzon, fought 9 January – 15 August 1945, was a land battle of the Pacific Theater of Operations of World War II by the Allied forces of the U.S., its colony the Philippines, and allies against forces of the Empire of Japan. The battle resulted in a U.S. and Filipino victory. The Allies had taken control of all strategically and economically important locations of Luzon by March 1945, although pockets of Japanese resistance held out in the mountains until the unconditional surrender of Japan. While not the highest in U.S. casualties, it is the highest net casualty battle U.S. forces fought in World War II, with 192,000 to 205,000 Japanese combatants dead, 8,000 American combatants killed, and over 150,000 Filipinos, overwhelmingly civilians who were murdered by Japanese forces, mainly during the Manila massacre of February, 1945.
USS Young (DD-580), a Fletcher-class destroyer, was the second ship of the United States Navy of that name. She was the first to be named for Rear Admiral Lucien Young (1852–1912).
The Battle of Mindoro was a battle in World War II between forces of the United States and Japan, in Mindoro Island in the central Philippines, from 13–16 December 1944, during the Philippines Campaign.
USS Conner (DD-582) was a Fletcher-class destroyer of the United States Navy, the second Navy ship to be named in honor of Commodore David Conner (1792–1856), who led U.S. Naval forces during the first part of the Mexican–American War.
USS Newman (DE-205/APD-59), a Buckley-class destroyer escort of the United States Navy, was named in honor of Laxton Gail Newman (1916–1941), who was killed in action during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart for his actions.
The Invasion of Palawan, was fought by U.S. liberation forces against the Japanese from 28 February - 22 April 1945, in a series of actions officially designated as Operations Victor I and II, and part of the campaign for the liberation of the Philippines during World War II, was waged to initiate the recapture of the southern islands of the Philippine archipelago, end the Japanese occupation, and secure them from remaining Japanese forces.
Events in the year 1945 in Japan.
Ruperto Cadava Kangleón was a Filipino military figure and politician. He was a native of the municipality of Macrohon in the now named province of Southern Leyte.
The South West Pacific theatre, during World War II, was a major theatre of the war between the Allies and the Axis. It included the Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, Borneo, Australia and its mandate Territory of New Guinea and the western part of the Solomon Islands. This area was defined by the Allied powers' South West Pacific Area (SWPA) command.
The Japanese occupation of the Philippines occurred between 1942 and 1945, when Imperial Japan occupied the Commonwealth of the Philippines during World War II.
Marine Fighting Squadron 218 (VMF-218) was a reserve fighter squadron of the United States Marine Corps that was originally activated during World War II. Known as the “Hellions”, they flew throughout the South Pacific but saw the majority of their fighting during the Philippines Campaign (1944–45). The squadron was credited with downing 18 enemy aircraft during the course of the war.
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the Philippines Campaign.
The Battle of Baguio occurred between 21 February and 26 April 1945, and was part of the greater Luzon campaign during the Allied liberation of the Philippines at the end of World War II. During the battle, American and Philippine forces recaptured the city of Baguio on the island of Luzon from a Japanese occupation force. One of the last tank engagements of the Philippine campaign took place during the battle. Baguio later became the scene of the final surrender of Japanese forces in the Philippines in September 1945.
During the Japanese occupation of the islands in World War II, there was an extensive Philippine resistance movement, which opposed the Japanese and their collaborators with active underground and guerrilla activity that increased over the years. Fighting the guerrillas – apart from the Japanese regular forces – were a Japanese-formed Bureau of Constabulary, the Kenpeitai, and the Makapili. Postwar studies estimate that around 260,000 persons were organized under guerrilla groups and that members of anti-Japanese underground organizations were more numerous. Such was their effectiveness that by the end of World War II, Japan controlled only twelve of the forty-eight provinces.
Panay Liberation Day, alternatively Panay Landing Day and Victory (Liberation) Day on Panay commemorates the landing on Panay during the Battle of the Visayas during World War II. It is public holiday on the islands of Guimaras, Panay, and Romblon in Western Visayas.
The radio also stated that members of the Imperial family were being sent to Japan's numerous theaters of operations as personal representatives of the Emperor to expedite and insure full compliance with the Imperial order to cease hostilities.
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