by Jack Gray
The Philippines played a critical role in American strategy during World War II. Before the war, the United States had large numbers of troops stationed on the islands. After U.S. forces were defeated from the islands, regaining the Philippines became an important goal, especially for General MacArthur, who had been forced to evacuate from his headquarters there in 1942 when the Japanese attacked. Accordingly, MacArthur adopted a strategy of island-hopping, which would allow him to steadily drive Japanese forces out of the islands they had conquered, bringing him closer and closer to Japan itself. Unfortunately, the Philippines’ proximity to Japan meant that they were among the last of the occupied islands to be retaken; fighting on the island of Mindanao continued up until the Japanese surrender in August of 1945.
The conflict in the Philippines thus had three main phases. The first was the Japanese invasion, which occurred between December of 1941 and June of 1942. In several battles the Japanese were able to defeat American and Filipino forces and quickly occupy the Philippines. From June 1942 until October 1944, the only fighting that occurred in the Philippines was between Japanese occupying forces and guerrilla resistance fighters. During this second phase there were no large or decisive battles, but rather many ambushes and raids against Japanese outposts. In October 1944, MacArthur and U.S. forces landed on Leyte, one of the southernmost islands in the Philippines. From then on until the end of the war in August 1945, there would be more large-scale fighting as American and Filipino forces recaptured important cities such as Manila and drove the Japanese out of the Philippines.
The first battles in the Philippines were raids against American airfields. The Japanese bombed Clark field, Del Carmen field, Nichols field, and Nielson field in the first few days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, destroying much of the United States’ air power in the Philippines. They simultaneously launched preliminary amphibious attacks on or near the island of Luzon with small units, intending to give themselves a foothold to support larger attacks on the main body of U.S. forces in the Philippines. Most of these landings faced no significant opposition, as they did not directly threaten important bases or cities. On December 21, 1942, the Japanese launched their main attack on the Philippines with an amphibious assault at Lingayen Gulf and a second at Lamon Bay. They quickly overpowered combined American and Filipino resistance.
This was a disaster for MacArthur, who had based his entire plan for the defense of the Philippines on being able to maintain a strong defense against amphibious landings by the Japanese. Moreover, the Japanese troops landed at Lamon Bay and Lingayen Gulf were easily able to attack Manila, where American headquarters were located. MacArthur decided to evacuate the city of Manila, relocating his headquarters and the seat of the Philippines’ government to Corregidor, an island fortress in Manila Bay. Unable to carry out his original plan of defending the coasts, MacArthur carried out War Plan Orange-3, which called for delaying the Japanese advance at predetermined points in along the Bataan peninsula until reinforcements could arrive from America. This plan had been written with the assumption that the fleet at Pearl Harbor would be able to come to the defense of the Philippines, but with the destruction of those forces, there would be no reinforcements coming.
Nonetheless, MacArthur had no other options, with Manila left indefensible and his aircraft destroyed in the first days of the war by Japanese raids. The Bataan peninsula was heavily forested and ideal for defensive warfare, and there U.S. and Filipino forces were able to hold out for several months. However, the Japanese were able to slowly overcome American resistance until at last only Corregidor remained. Realizing the futility of remaining in the Philippines, General MacArthur had evacuated to Australia with his family, leaving General Jonathan Wainwright in command of American and Filipino forces, all of whom remained at Corregidor.
The Siege of Corregidor was the final battle of the first phase of the war in the Philippines. The soldiers defending the fortress held out for several months against heavy bombing and artillery fire until finally General Wainwright surrendered on April 9th, 1942. This marked the end of organized resistance in the Philippines, and was the end of the first phase of the war.
For the next two years there would be no large-scale battles, but fierce resistance by Filipino guerillas continued for the duration of the war. The long resistance by American soldiers, and subsequent guerilla warfare by Filipinos was unique in World War II. By the time of the American surrender, the Japanese had already conquered countless other islands in the Pacific, reaching as far as the Solomon Islands. Only the Philippines were able to put up any significant resistance.
The next major battle in the Philippines occurred in October of 1944 when U.S. Forces landed on Leyte. The Battle of Leyte Gulf lasted for several days and resulted in the destruction of the Imperial Japanese Navy. MacArthur then moved to attack Mindoro, where he established airfields with which to threaten Manila and Luzon, his final objective.
The final days of the Philippines’ Campaign were similar to the Japanese invasion. Japanese troops fortified Corregidor Island and fought until February of 1945, when U.S. Forces took control of the island. MacArthur then attacked Manila, which required a month of intense fighting to capture. In the battle over 100,000 Filipino civilians were killed, some murdered by Japanese soldiers and others killed by American bombs. The battle of Manila, which ended in March of 1945, marked the end of Japanese occupation of the Philippines. While individual Japanese units continued to fight until the final surrender in August, there was no official or organized resistance.
Bluhm, Raymond K. "Battle of Corregidor." Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Corregidor.
Morton, Louis. The Fall of the Philippines. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1953. https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/5-2/5-2_Contents.htm#part1.
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by Jack Demlow
On June 12th, 2018, the Philippines celebrated the 120th anniversary of their declaration of independence from Spain in 1898. However, like most holidays, the history behind this date is a good deal more complicated than a declaration and a day on a calendar.
The Philippines were colonized by Spain in the 16th century and was used for agricultural purposes under the feudal-styled encomienda system, as well as for trade with the East Indies and China. Spain was far from the first foreign power to interact with the Filipinos, who had a history of trading with Chinese and Arab merchants, but Spain would have nearly 300 years of continuous control to gouge out a mark like no other. Traditional religion, methods of governance, systems of agriculture, and more would see significant change under outsider rule. The Spanish crown kept a close eye on the islands, replacing the encomienda system with crown officials to guarantee that the colony was defended, dues were paid, and the Filipinos were instructed in (and restricted to) practicing the Christian faith.
Spanish impositions would gradually ease by the 19th century, but they were still a heavy weight. However, wealthy Filipinos could gain access to education abroad, and through this window the Philippines was exposed to liberal and nationalistic currents. The writer Jose Rizal is credited with rallying many Filipinos to the cause of reform, and his arrest and execution by Spanish authorities resulted in the formation of the Katipunan, an underground revolutionary group. After discovery by the Spanish forced the Katipunan to act quickly with their plan, and the Philippine Revolution began in August 1896. These first hostilities were concluded by a truce and the promise of reform by the Spanish government, but Spain still had not taken steps to meet this promise by 1898, when revolutionary leader Emilio Aguinaldo led his fellow revolutionaries to take advantage of the Spanish-American War and fight for their independence.
The Malalos Republic and Resistance to U.S. Control
Filipino and U.S. forces pushed the Spanish hard, and Aguinaldo and his forces celebrated a wave of victories by declaring independence on June 12th 1898 and forming a governmental system for the newly declared “Malalos Republic,” of which Aguinaldo was president. However, when final victory over the Spanish was declared, the Philippines were not granted official independence; instead, Spain had transferred control of the Philippines over to the United States as part of the 1889 Treaty of Paris. Filipino forces engaged in a guerilla war against U.S. control until Aguinaldo was captured in 1901 and he subsequently encouraged acceptance of the new regime. The fact that U.S. imperial possessions contradicted principles of self-determination was not lost on Filipinos or many Americans, though ostensibly the American regime was meant to prepare the Philippines for independence. This paternalistic claim was not as disingenuous as it might appear; civil services in the Philippines saw a steady decrease in non-Filipino employees and in 1933 the Tydings-McDuffie Act set 1945 as the date for Philippine independence.
The Commonwealth of the Philippines and WWII
Before the Philippines would become completely independent they would have 10 years of U.S.-supervised Filipino self-government. This commonwealth of the Philippines wrote its own constitution and elected Nacionalista Party leader Manuel Quezon as its president. The Commonwealth of the Philippines was officially established on November 15th, 1935, the date of Quezon’s inauguration. The road ahead did not look smooth, however, as Japanese aggression in China bred anxiety in the Philippines, and General Douglas MacArthur became the islands’ military advisor as preparations for defense began.
The Philippines were struck by the Japanese invasion on December 8th, 1941, and had very little preparation in place to fall back on. U.S. and Filipino forces surrendered on May 6th, 1942, but fighting on the islands was far from over. Both army and civilian-organized resistance groups engaged in guerilla warfare over the course of the Japanese occupation, most notably the communist-led Hukbalahap. Almost two years after their initial defeat, U.S. forces returned to the Philippines in October of 1944, landing first on Leyte island then inflicting heavy damage on the Japanese fleet in the battle of Leyte Gulf. MacArthur reported total success of the invasion on July 5th, 1945.
Just shy of a year later, with WWII finally over, the U.S. granted the Philippines independence on July 4th, 1946. After centuries of fighting Spain, then the U.S., and then Japan, and 48 years after Emilio Aguinaldo's assertion of independence, the island nation finally had international legitimacy. Yet, it is June 12th, 1898 that is celebrated today, not July 4th, 1946, a pointed rebuke of both Spain and the United States.
DLSU - Manila. "Philippine History." n.d. Pinas. Web Page. 18 June 2018.
Encyclopedia Britannica. "Philippines." 2015 June 2018. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web Page. 18
Gov.PH. "About the Philippines." n.d. Republic of the PHilippines National Government Portal.
Web Page. 18 June 2018.
History.com Staff. "This Day in History: Philippine independence declared." 12 June 2018.
History.com. Web Page. 18 June 2018.
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During World War 2, there were non-Filipinos soldiers who decided not to surrender with some running off to safety and others being cut off in their location at the time of surrender behind Imperial Japanese Army's line. These men chose to serve along the side of their Filipino allies during World War II in the resistance against the Japanese thus becoming guerrillas. This list of men also include those who were inserted through submarines on various Philippine islands. These men were sent there to conduct different intelligent functions most commonly radio operators or coast watchers, but they fought with guerrillas and served beside them as well. These Filipino and American soldiers went through inhumanity and deprivation at the hands of the Japanese who were responsible for transporting them. The Guerrillas also fell subject to horrible torture by the Japanese followed by beheading usually after being forced to dig their own graves.
The American forces situated in the Philippines were largely defeated by an operational plan conducted prewar. If an invasion occurred, this plan involved them declaring Manila an open city, withdrawing onto Bataan and setting up a defensive line as they waited for supplies and reinforcements to come from certain US locations. This was known as Plan Orange and it was declared once the US Pacific Fleet arrived. However, the Japanese ruled this possibility out with their precautionary strike on the fleet’s Pearl Harbor base in 1941, December 7. Even though Plan Orange required the US forces to hold out on Corregidor and Bataan for roughly 6 months as they waited for reinforcements, the rations stored on the Peninsula were not enough to sustain a large force for a sufficient period. The troops did not have enough supplies to keep them going beyond a few months.
General MacArthur carried out Plan Orange with the belief that assistance was on the way but President Franklin Roosevelt had already written off the Philippine Islands just before Christmas as a gesture of support of the War happening in Europe. The American airmen, sailors, and soldiers who were in the Philippines and their Filipino charges were deserted without any knowledge of it. They held out against the Japanese for weeks as their supplies continued to dwindle and it was not long until they were living on starvation rations. In March 1942, President Roosevelt ordered Gen MacArthur personally to go to Australia to plan for a relief force that would save the men he was abandoning under protest. Before leaving, Gen. Macarthur told Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright, who was his successor that he was not to surrender regardless of the circumstances. Wainwright honored this command for as long as it was humanly possible.
Guerrilla forces had already begun forming even prior to the initial surrender of the US forces in the Philippines, more specifically in 1942, April 9 AT Bataan. Major Claude A. Thorp, with General MacArthur’s approval in 1942, January 27, directed a group of roughly 2 Filipinas and 12 Americans evading past Japanese lines situated in Bataan to set up a Guerrilla headquarters located in the Zambales Mountains. On February 18 of the same year, this small beginning was fortified when a PT boat was sent over with Major Llewellyn Barbour along with a radio transmitter, some supplies, and five more men to Botolan. They hired guides from this point to lead them to Thorp’s Guerrilla headquarters across the Zambales Mountains.
These Guerrilla forces all through the Philippine Islands made brave efforts which ended up impeding the Japanese severely. They also assisted the US forces significantly during the period of Philippine liberation in 1944 and 1945. Many officers including Lieutenant General Kreuger and General MacArthur, have expressed their gratitude to the guerrillas for their efforts and described how they reduced the casualties to the liberating forces and accelerated the liberation. Shortly after General Macarthur came to Australia in March of 1942, he started planning for the organization of Guerrillas in the Philippines. His first effort involved evaluation of the available leadership and forces and encouragement of any extra organization required. The plan involved providing submarines for the delivery of supplies such as radios, ammunition, and arms to the forces with the necessary organization and leadership. Guerrillas were given the order to focus on gathering information and providing reports to the Japanese. Additionally, they were given instructions to preserve civil order and avoid taking any significant actions against Japanese forces, which could cause retaliation against the Filipino civilians. At times, the submarines would bring back evacuees on their return trips to Australia.
General Macarthur’s Australian headquarters was known referred to as General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area, abbreviated as GHQ SWPA. The Intelligence Section of his headquarters also referred to as G-2 comprised of the AIB or Allied Intelligence Bureau. The PRS or Philippine Regional Section was created in May 1943 as a section of AIB and tasked with the coordination of any activities in the Philippines. General Macarthur contacted the Pentagon and asked that Lt. Cdr. Charles Parsons, whom he used to know in Manila, be sent to the GHQ SWPA immediately. Parsons was then assigned to the PRS and became actively involved in the organization of submarine operations with the aim of supporting the guerrillas located in the Philippines. He supervised a large number of the operations personally and many times he would insert and extract himself. The Japanese then caught wind of Charles Parson’s activities and placed a high reward on his head (dead or alive).
Wendell Fertig centralized the Guerilla forces on Mindanao and GHQ SWPA recognized these forces officially in February 1943 as the 10th Military District. This became one of the most organized guerrilla forces in all the Philippine Islands.
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by Paulina Hernandez
The Imperial Japanese Forces attacked Pearl Harbor and the Philippine Islands simultaneously. This planned attack on these two specific areas was a strategic attack meant American control in the Pacific and expand Japan’s territory. Following the surrender of the Allies at the Battle of Corregidor, all radio connections and communications ceased as the Japanese military invaded the Philippine Islands. Despite the lack of communication, some American and Filipino soldiers were able to evade the Japanese and go into hiding. One of those soldiers who was able to escape was Ramon Magsaysay Sr. who would become a prominent leader in the Western Luzon Guerrilla Force .
[Ramon Magsaysay Sr., future President of the Philippines]
The Western Luzon Guerrilla Force was not the only resistance group to form. Alongside it, “several bands of resistance fighters sprouted up throughout the philippine landscape” . What set these various groups apart were their ideas on how to take back their island. A big hindrance within these groups was that many were also politically motivated. Some groups were politically motivated in that they had differing views on agendas and a nationalistic goal. The Hukbalahap Guerrilla was one of the more commonly known resistance groups that had a political agenda. The Hukbalahap, known as “Huk”, was comprised of Filipino citizens from all backgrounds. Members included “peasant farmers, workers’ union, communist party members, and both rural and urban laborers” . The Huk were seen as highly successful in that they eliminated many Japanese soldiers. Furthermore, the Huks saw rich Filipinos who collaborated with the Japanese as being targets as well. The killing of rich Filipino collaborators enabled the Huk to capture estates. Within these estates, they created their own government,taxes, and laws. In 1954, the Hukbalahap would end with the Presidential election of Ramon Magsaysay Sr. and overwhelming pressure to stomp out communist groups .
[Pictured above is Luis Taruc whom was the main commander of the Huk Resistance.]
The main catalyst for the Filipino resistance was the mistreatment of POWs and Filipino citizens at the hands of the Japanese forces. Filipino citizens had heard stories such as the Rape of Nanking in China, and of the atrocities committed in other occupied territories such as Korea. Sadly, Filipino citizens were subjected to beatings, rape, starvation, and many other atrocities. The atrocities committed and the destruction of their homeland empowered many Filipino/Filipinas to commit to the resistance and take back their land.
The Japanese forces had noted during the Bataan Death March, an alarming amount of sentiment for the Allied forces among the Filipino people. In order to combat any form of resistance, Japanese soldiers would beat or kill any Filipino citizen who sympathized with Allied forces or whom questioned the occupation of the Philippines by the Japanese. A tactic the Japanese employed was the use of propaganda in the form of leaflets, and films. Through films such as Dawn For Freedom (1944), Japanese had hoped to squash any ties between the Filipino people and Western ideology and cement their hold on the country and its people.
[Left] Filipino resistance fighters taking a break; [Right]: resistance fighters guarding Japanese prisoners
There were many resistance groups such as the Hunters ROTC, Marking’s Guerrillas,the Aetas and the USAFIP-LN which stands for United States Army in the Philippines of Northern Luzon. The Hunters ROTC was comprised of former cadets from the Philippine Military Academy. Wanting to fight, the former cadets trained other resistance fighters as “saboteurs( running phone lines, radio connections, eliminating pro-Japanese Filipinos and spies, and conducting small hit and run raids” . The Marking's Guerrillas were mainly centered in east Manila and under the command of Colonel Marcos V. Agustin. In contrast, to the Hunters ROTC, the Marking’s Guerrillas was comprised of older citizens and soldiers. The Marking’s Guerrillas are known for the taking of the Ipo Dam . USAFIP-NL differed from the other two guerilla forces in that the USAFIP-NL was comprised of American, Filipino and guerilla soldiers. The USAFIP-NL was commanded by General Russell W. Volckmann and a military force that was more than 8,000 infantrymen . The Aetas were an “indigenous guerilla unit that served in Northern and Central Luzon . The Aeta were a considerable asset to the underground resistance due to their superior tracking skills and understanding of the Luzon province. The Aeta would hide and protect American soldiers in the mountain caves and when food supply ran dry, they would grow “tubers (sweet potatoes and yam) and rice to feed their units” . In closing, minority groups such as the Aetas and the Igorts contribution to the resistance would enable the American guerilla troops to cut off supply line for the Japanese and enabling recruit for the Philippine resistance.
Britannica Encyclopedia.Hukbalahap Rebellion. Date Accessed October 6,2017.https://www.britannica.com/event/Hukbalahap-Rebellion.
Wikipedia. Ramon Magsaysay Sr. Date Accessed October 6, 2017.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramon_Magsaysay
Pinterest.Child soldier. Date Accessed October 6, 2017.https://www.pinterest.com/pin/238550111491419417/?lp=true
Villasanta, Art. The Filipino Nation-in-Arms and and its defeat of the Empire of Japan in World War II. Date Accessed October 6,2017.http://filipinonationinarms.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-philippines-was-grave-of-dai-nippon.html
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MacArthur in Manilla, Philippines, 1945, smoking a corncob pipe
The Philippine Islands gained semi-autonomous status in 1935 with the creation of a Philippine Commonwealth and the election of Manuel L. Quezon as president of the newly formed government. One of the most pressing concerns and new responsibilities was the creation of a new military force capable of defending the islands. With this in mind, Douglas MacArthur, then the chief of staff of the U.S. Army was chosen by President Quezon to be part of the Office of the Military Advisor to the Commonwealth Government. His new job as Field Marshall of the Philippines was to create a new national army complete with its own small off-shore naval patrol force and air contingent over a conservative 10 year period.
But with diplomacy failing in Europe with Nazi Germany and especially with an ever more daring and increasingly militant Imperial Japan it became clear that the United States would need to mobilize for war. The U.S. embargoes on industrial materials such as iron and copper while closing the Panama Canal to Japanese shipping failed to halt Imperial ambitions. MacArthur was recalled into active service by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and returned to his original position as a major general on July 26, 1941. The general gained the responsibilities of heading the newly established United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) command as it became clear that U.S. escalation to war was more than a possibility. This included the task of training the Philippine army, creating a brand new staff of headquarters, and securing enough supplies and reinforcements for the upcoming conflict of which there was little time to prepare.
One of the most apparent obstacles that the combined U.S. and Filipino forces had to overcome was an overall lack of equipment and its quality. Although there were enough firearms such as the Springfield and the British Lee Enfield rifles, the weapons were often too long for the average Filipino infantryman while the the rifles themselves had low quality extractors that would often break. Additionally there was a serious lack of items such as gas masks, steel helmets, and entrenching tools while most issued boots were only rubber based and wore out quickly. Supply of many units was all too often not consistent and highly dependant on the enthusiasm and will of the quartermaster or officer with the responsibility of supply. There was an even more pressing lack of transportation as all units lacked sufficient quantities of heavy trucks or vehicles to transport troops and supplies. The lack of sufficient equipment, training, and supplies would not bode well for the USAFFE in the Philippines in the next few months.
Over the next short months General MacArthur would organize the Philippines into four different military commands, each having its own units and areas of responsibilities. This included the North Luzon Force which was by military intelligence the most likely area to receive an invasion force, the South Luzon, Visayan–Mindanao, and Reserve Forces. Over the next months the more than 22,000 original U.S. Army troops made up of Filipinos and Americans would be reinforced by mostly National Guard units that drew their own strength from states like California, Kentucky, and Missouri to name a few. Although these newly formed units were trained quite quickly and without proper instruction, the guard units brought more modern equipment than was already present on the islands. Over one hundred M3 Stuart light tanks and 107 P-40 Warhawk fighters were shipped from the U.S. mainland in preparation for defensive operations. There were also 35 B-17 bombers operated by the Army Air Force, making the philippine air contingent to be the highest concentration of American combat aircraft outside of the U.S. itself. Yet problems also arose as there were not enough airfields, maintenance facilities and personnel for effective use of the brand new air assets and worrying much of the USAFFE headquarters. The U.S. government policy also hindered the volume of new equipment available to be shipped to the Philippines. The Lend-lease policy to Britain and France effectively cut into available military transportation that could be used to ferry the much needed equipment to both Asia and Europe. Additionally, the United States had not created the capacity for its military industry the same way that it would be renowned for only a year later. The available manufacturing was used not only for domestic military needs but also for another theater of war for two nations. Although many of MacArthur’s military requests would be approved right away, the time needed to create a fighting force that would be totally independent and sufficient to guard the entire archipelago was not available.
The United States was drawn officially into the Second World War when Imperial Japanese forces launched a preemptive attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Just hours later and more than 5,000 miles from Hawaiian islands the Japanese launched an invasion of the Philippine archipelago beginning the first combined U.S. and Filipino campaign of the war. This resulted in the activation of war plan Rainbow 5, putting in place the War Department’s strategy that would last throughout the remainder of the war.
Bailey, Jennifer L. “Philippine Islands.” Philippine Islands, www.history.army.mil/brochures/pi/PI.htm. Accessed 11 Sept. 2017.
Morton, Louis. The Fall of the Philippines. Honolulu, HI, University Press of the Pacific, 2004.
Toland, John. The Rising Sun: the Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-1945. Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England, Pen & Sword Military, 2011.
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur smoking his corncob pipe, Manila, Philippine Islands, 2 August 1945. Digital image. Www.wikipedia.com. N.p., 2 Aug. 1945. Web. 18 Sept. 2017. <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MacArthur_Manila.jpg>
Philippine Scouts engineers preparing sections for a pontoon bridge. Digital image. Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Philippine_Scouts_engineers_preparing_sections_for_a_pontoon_bridge.jpg>
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The days leading up to the Bataan Death March were catastrophic for the American and Filipino armies that were stationed in the Philippine island of Luzon. General Douglas McArthur was the general in charge of the Filipino Army in the Pacific during World War II. One of his generals on the island of Corregidor, where an American military base was organized, requested military aid for his ground troops that were in Bataan. There was a Japanese Naval blockade that prevented any aid to General Jonathon M. Wainwright’s company, leaving ground troops without aid. On the field, General Edward P. King’s company were stuck between a rock and hard place. Their resources including their ammo supply were running low or were non existent. The men suffered from diseases like malaria. Weeks prior to the “Bataan Death March,” King’s men slaughtered the packed horses and mules but regardless food rations were running low.
While American and Filipino soldiers were starving, The Japanese army was planning an attack on the central American line near Mount Natib. Japanese bombers took out the central front within 2 days when the Rising Sun flag flew visible to the military base on Corregidor, near Mount Samat in Marveles. McArthur suggested to Wainwright to never surrender, with that said, Wainwright ordered King to set up a counter attack. King who was a strategic solider knew that a counter attack was impossible. A reason of impossibility was that in late March Japan assigned 15,000 soldiers, 140 artillery pieces, and 80 bombers to the Philippine Islands in order to support the Japanese Naval blockade. Another reason of impossibility was the lack of ammo and physical strength of the starving soldiers. One effect of losing the central American line was that the front was divided between soldiers desperately fleeing to Corregidor and the other badly defeated. King knew that a surrender would have to take place but Wainwright wouldn’t allow a surrender. On April 9th 1942, around 6 am, white flags of truce waved on the American line. This was not addressed to Wainwright in Corregidor because King didn’t want him to be responsible for the defeat in the field. Not only was the Battle of Bataan the greatest defeat in the Pacific for the American military but it was the cause of the inhuman march that thousands of prisoners of war endured.
Soldiers that surrendered after the three month conflict of Bataan, would find themselves transported to Camp O’Donnell, Camp Capas, and Camp Tarlac. Over 60,000 prisoners of war reached the camps but the journey is a key example of the atrocities made by the Imperial Japanese Army. Soldiers were starving already during the conflict of Bataan but on the march those who were malnutrition or suffered from a disease would be left behind on the march. Roughly 7,000 did not reach the camps and among them 300 Filipino soldiers were bayoneted. Survivors faced limited rice rations, disease and torture in the camps until the end of the Pacific war in August of 1945.
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By: Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas
Japanese Military Strategy in the Pacific 1941-1942.
The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th of 1941 represented the initial step of the Japanese military onslaught of Southeast Asia. The following day, the Japanese continued their aggressive military strategy in the Pacific, targeting American and European holdings in Southeast Asia. From December 8th, 1941 to May of 1942, the Japanese campaign for the Philippines resulted in both the Japanese occupation of the Philippine Islands and the ultimate surrender of both Philippine and American troops. Estimates of 80,000 Filipino and American soldiers were forced to relocate and enter POW camps throughout the island of Luzon once they survived the horrors of the Bataan Death March. Forced to submit to the harsh working conditions of the camps, supervised and scrutinized by Japanese draconian methods, and forced to live in squalid and poorly supplied quarters, American and Filipino troops experienced first hand the brutality of the Japanese Imperial Army. It was clear even during the initial phases of the Japanese occupation of the Philippine Islands that Japanese maltreatment of their captured adversaries had completely contradicted the official conduct of war.
The Japanese maltreatment of the Philippine and American POWs was visible to Philippine citizens who witnessed first hand the Bataan Death March as onlookers and passerbys. Philippine civilians who watched the brutality and killing of POWs as they marched to be transferred to the prisoner camps also were vulnerable to the cruelties of the Japanese military. Philippine men and women who attempted to give food or water to the marchers were injured or killed (bayoneted) as a result of their sympathies to the American and Philippine forces. The Bataan Death March would serve as the precursor to the Japanese Imperial Military’s antagonistic treatment of the Philippine citizenry throughout the islands. The visible signs of maltreatment, the aggressive barring of civil liberties (Japanese propaganda, the torture and capture of Philippine citizens who sympathized with the Allies, etc.), and the immediate severing of foreign relations and aide would spur a Philippine grassroots movement to thwart the Japanese occupation of the Philippine Islands.
The roots of the Philippine Resistance represented the cultural and socio-economic diversity of the Philippine Islands. From socialist peasant farmers, middle school teachers, ROTC youths, to Moro (Philippine Muslim) warriors, the range and inclusivity of the men and women who participated in the struggle against the Japanese Imperial Army was seemingly inexhaustible. Women guerrilla fighters especially made major contributions to the liberation of the Philippines, but unfortunately, similar to the ethnic minority guerrilla fighters, have received less acknowledgement and discussion in World War II history of the Pacific Theater.
The Philippines, during the early half of the twentieth century, witnessed few advances in women’s rights. But with the threat of war and the encroachment of the Japanese Imperial Army upon the Philippine Islands, the patriarchal and religiously conservative culture of the Philippines could not afford to maintain its traditional standards of gender. The grassroots resistance drew in the patriotic fervor of many Filipinas who saw the guerrilla resistance as an opportunity to liberate their homeland as well as prove the capabilities of their sex. Their guerrilla efforts proved women were more than capable of taking on numerous roles: soldiers, leaders, activists, journalists, nurses, doctors, spies, and dedicated patriots. Filipina guerrillas proved to be a vital aspect of both the soldiering and reconnaissance missions that allowed for the Allies to gain an opportunity to retake the Philippines.
Historians estimate that for every ten male guerrillas, one Filipina guerrilla served in the underground resistance. Over 260,000 male Filipino guerrillas served the resistance effort. This male-dominated number therefore reflects that Filipinas in wartime history have been neglected, or because of their status as women were not counted officially as serving, and that the female guerrilla populations represented possibly more than 10% of the guerrilla resistance. These statistics given the little surviving resources on Filipina guerrilla efforts brings to light the missing narratives of a traditionally very American-centered written history on the liberation of the Philippines of World War II. The war time experiences of women of color in the Pacific can provide opportunities to address the various contributions, struggles, and cultural diversity that aided and represented the Allied front of the Pacific.
Filipina guerrillas similar to their male peers were aware of the risks and ultimate sacrifices they would make in their efforts to push the Japanese Imperial Army out of the Philippines. One of the added fears and risks that Filipinas shared that their male peers did not was the threat of rape and being forcibly used as comfort women (sex slaves) for the Japanese Imperial Army. Despite the risks of death, torture, and rape, the Filipina guerrillas of the Philippine Resistance represented a hardy and selfless cause of both liberation from the Japanese imperial regime and progress towards women’s rights in the Southeast Asia.
A Filipina nurse attending to an American soldier at the Catholic Cens Cathedral during the Allied Campaign to retake the Philippines. 
Filipina guerrillas took on various roles and missions to aid the resistance against the Japanese Imperial Army. Many served as medical aides or nurses. The late Dorothy Dowlen, a Filipina mestiza (mixed ancestry of Philippine and European heritage) born and raised on Mindanao served as a medical aide helping Allied soldiers and guerrilla fighters while helping her own family escape the brutalities of the Japanese invasion. Filipina nurses provided the much needed medical help for struggling American soldiers who escaped the POW camps throughout the Philippine Islands. Filipina nurses and doctors such as Bruna Calvan, Carmen Lanot, and Dr. Guedelia Pablan would continue to help civilians, soldiers, and POWs in the region surrounding Bataan despite the loss of their hospital and lack of supplies and food. Risking their lives to smuggle medicine into POW camps and maintain their self-constructed health centers (nipa huts), Filipina guerrillas and female resistance supporters helped not only to physically heal the wounded but strengthened community and soldier morale to fight against the Japanese Imperial Army.
WAS founder, Josefa Capistrano 
Many Filipina nurses used their medical training to assist other guerrilla groups such as the WAS (Women’s Auxiliary Service), led and founded by Josefa Capistrano. Josefa Capistrano, a Chinese-Filipina mestiza would be one of the first Filipinas to establish and train women as soldiers, nurses, and spies schooling them in methods of reconnaissance and the use of firearms and self defense. Capistrano’s female troops served under the tenth military district in Mindanao and would also supply the guerrillas and local communities with food, medical, and military supplies. In 1963, the WAS would be renamed the WAC (Women’s Auxiliary Corps) and would become an official military branch of the Philippine Army managed by women for women.
Colonel Yay Panlilio with her husband Marcos Augustin, founder of the Marking Guerrillas 
Other Filipina guerrillas pursued reconnaissance missions, establishing guerrilla networks throughout the Philippine archipelago, maintaining contact with the Allied forces, and thwarting Japanese propaganda efforts (film, radio broadcasts, newspapers, pamphlets) seeking to win over the Philippine people’s support. Filipina guerrillas like Colonel Yay Panlilio served as a radio and newspaper journalist while fighting alongside, and leading her very own unit of, male guerrillas under the Markings Guerrilla troops on the island of Luzon. Panlilio used her journalist skills to skillfully hide resistance messages in public radio announcements. She also documented and maintained guerrilla activities relaying communication to the Allied forces and to other guerrilla organizations. Panlilio also routed out undercover Filipino collaborators (makapili) who sought to paint the Philippine Resistance as detrimental to Imperial Japan’s efforts in absorbing the Philippines into a “friendly” pan-Asia.
These courageous women broke gender norms while ultimately liberating their homeland from Japanese imperialism all the while promoting the capabilities and mastery of skillsets women were capable of in a male centered society. Through their sacrifices, Filipina resistance fighters like Josefa Capistrano championed gender and racial equality as one goal for their resistance efforts. Capistrano would not accept honorable mentions or awards for her efforts until the Philippine government recognized the WAC as an official branch of the military. Most importantly, their contributions to the Pacific Theater demonstrated the many strengths of past colonial territories whom were undoubtedly deserving and capable of self governance during the post war era.
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7. Nicholas Trajano Molnar, American Mestizos, The Philippines, and the Malleability of Race:1898-1961 (University of Missouri Press, 2017), 126.
8. Getty Images: Time & Life Pictures, Nurses and Wounded Soldiers, photograph, Tumblr, Last Accessed August 30th, 2017, http://cache3.asset-cache.net/gc/53378881-filipino-nurse-tending-to-the-wounded-gettyimages.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=2PqlFQzuD9tjbMbBdVdvPZgwFcAGRxujqrRukD6lkBz50XVWMAogIql58z%2biFkZFbqNv1tfj6UR%2fCt5zE642iQ%3d%3d.
9. Dorothy Dore Dowlen, Enduring What Cannot Be Endured: Memoir of a Woman Medical Aide in the Philippines in World War II (Jefferson: McFarland, 2001), 1-8, 87, 123.
10. Sergeant Carl Ritt, “Filipino Nurses on Bataan,” Bulletin: Medical Women’s Association, Vol. 90 (1945): 346, 347.
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15. Meaghan Miller, “Kathyn Atwood Showcases the Pacific Theater in her Newest Women Heroes of World War II Book,” Chicago Review Press Blog, last modified September 26th, 2016, accessed August 29th, 2017, http://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/blog/kathryn-atwood-showcases-the-pacific-theater-in-her-newest-women-heroes-of-world-war-ii-book/.
16. Ray C. Hunt & Bernard Norling, Behind Japanese Lines: An American Guerrilla in the Philippines (University Press of Kentucky, 2014), 128.
17. National Centennial Commission, Sulong Pilipina! Sulong Pilipinas! A Compilation of Filipino Women Centennial Awardees (National Centennial Commission, Women Sector, 1999), 396.