Defenders of the Philippines

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1945 Events

Jan. 2-8

From 2nd to 5th January the various transport, bombardment and escort carrier groups for the US landings on Luzon leave their bases on Leyte.  There are six battleships, sixteen escort carriers, ten cruisers and many destroyers, landing craft and transports of all kinds.  Several of the cruisers and destroyers are Australian.  From January 3, the American movements are detected by the Japanese and attacks by midget submarines, Kamikaze planes and small surface ships begin.  On January 4th, the escort carrier Ommaney Bay is badly damaged by a Kamikaze and has to be abandoned.  On the 5th, two escort carriers, two cruisers and several smaller ships are damaged.  The cruiser Boise, with General MacArthur aboard has a narrow escape from a torpedo attack.  One Japanese destroyer is sunk by US planes. On January 6, Admiral Oldendorf's battleship groups enter Lingayen Gulf to begin the preliminary bombardment and come under heavy attack.  One minesweeper is sunk and two battleships, four cruisers and six destroyers are damaged.  There are more attacks on the 7th and 8th, but these are less effective, hitting two escort carriers and the cruiser Australia for the second time.  In the night of 7th and 8th of January there is the last surface engagement of the Pacific campaign in which a single attacking Japanese destroyer is sunk by four US ships.

Jan. 6-7

The American fleet carrier groups of TF 38 join the operations by the escort carrier and land-based forces against the Kamikaze airfields on Luzon.  Between 70 and 80 Japanese aircraft are destroyed for the loss of 28.

Jan. 9

Operation Mike 1, the US landings on Luzon at Lingayen Gulf, is begun.  General Swift's I Corps lands from the ships of TF 78 around San Fabian.  The assault units are from 43rd and 6th Infantry Divisions.  General Griswold's XIV Corps land near Lingayen Village.  The assault units are from 37th and 40th Divisions.  The Japanese commander in Luzon is General Yamashita and he has decided not to contest the landing grounds.  The nearest Japanese forces are from the 23rd Division, but they will not intervene in strength the first two days.  There are, however, continued Japanese air attacks in which the battleship Mississippi and two cruisers are hit.  In a night attack by explosive boats several landing craft and transports are damaged.  The American units are from Krueger's Sixth Army and the naval support is commanded by Admiral Kinkaid.  As well as 150,000 men under his direct leadership in the north of the island, Yamashita commands the additional 100,000 men around Manila and to the south.

January 10

The US forces stream ashore on Luzon.  Their beachhead is now several miles wide and deep,

January 11

The US 25th Division and an armored group are landed at Lingayen to reinforce the US bridgehead.  The first serious fighting begins ashore.  There are more Kamikaze attacks on American shipping.  Many smaller craft are damaged.

January 13

The escort carrier Salamwa is badly damaged in a Kamikaze attack.  These are now becoming rare, however, because most of the Kamikaze aircraft have been lost and the rest withdrawn.  Ashore the US bridgehead is steadily being extended.  Damortis is taken.

January 15

On Luzon, the US XIV Corps continues to advance south from the beachhead and has now crossed the River Agno.  The I Corps is attacking north and east but cannot take its objective of Rosario.

January 19

On Luzon the US attacks are now being concentrated to the south of the beachhead with the aim of striking to Manila.  Carmen is taken.  On Mindoro, there is a brief flurry of activity as the Japanese try to slow the advance toward Calapan of the US 21st Infantry.  Filipino guerrillas are active throughout the island in support of the US Forces.

January 21

On Luzon, the US 40th Division takes Tarlac and pushes south toward Clark Field.

January 22

On Luzon, there is heavy fighting in the US 1 Corps sector near Carmen and Rosario.

January 23

Units of Griswold's XIV Corps take Bamban in their continuing southward attacks and reach almost to Clark Field.

January 24

Calapan is taken by the US forces on MIndoro.  Japanese resistance on the island has now been totally overcome except for a few stragglers.  Cabanatuan is taken by the US forces on Luzon.

January 27

The US 32nd Infantry Division lands at Lingayen Gulf to reinforce the American troops there.

January 29

On Luzon, General Hall's XI Corps is landed at San Antonio north of Subic Bay to join the American offensive.  About 30,000 men go ashore on the first day of the landing.  Their task is to advance across the neck of the Bataan Peninsula and clear it of Japanese.

January 30

A US battalion is landed to take Gamble Island in Subic Bay.  To the north XI Corps begins to advance inland quickly and takes Olongapo on Luzon.

January 31

On Luzon, two regiments of General Swing's 11th Airborne Division are land by sea near Nasugbu southwest of Manila.  Admiral Fechteler leads the naval support with a cruiser and eight destroyers.  There is little opposition to the landing.  North of Manila the US advance is still making progress.

February 1

The American advance on all fronts is slowed by fierce Japanese resistance.  I Corps is heavily engaged near Rosario and San Jose while XI Corps is struggling to make more ground across the neck of Bataan Peninsula.

February 3

On Luzon, in the Tagaytay Ridge area the uncommitted regiment of 11th Airborne Division is dropped to help the advance of the other regiments.  The fighting north of Manila also continues.

February 4

On Luzon, advances of 1st Cavalry Division reach the outskirts of Manila from the north while units of 11th Airborne Division approach from the south.  Yamashita has not ordered his forces to defend the city, but the 20,000 Japanese troops under the local naval commander in the city are prepared to fight to the end.

February 5

The US forces close in tighter around Manila.  The XI Corps has completed its attack across the Bataan peninsula.

February 8

The 1st Cavalry Division is heavily engaged in the eastern suburbs of Manila.  The 37th Division is also fighting in the city.

February 9

As well as the fighting in Manila there is an attack on the 11th Airborne Division southeast of the city near Nichols and Nielson Fields.

February 13

US Navy forces begin operations on Manila Bay, clearing minefields and shelling landing grounds.  Corregidor is bombarded.  In the ground fighting the 11th Airborne division takes Cavite and completes the capture of NIchols Field.

February 15

A regiment from XI Corps is landed on the southern tip of Bataan on Luzon to help in the operations of the remainder of the corps.  The fierce fighting in Manila continues.

February 16

Two battalions, one seaborne and one dropped by parachute, land on Corregidor Island in Manila Bay.  The attacking troops landed successfully enough but a bitter struggle soon develops among the tunnels and gun emplacements on the island.  The US troops are quickly reinforced.  Since the battle for Luzon began 3200 tons of bombs have been dropped on Corregidor

February 19-20

There are US landings on the northwest of the island of Samar and the small islands offshor of Dalupiri, Capul, and Biri.  There is some resistance in Biri.

February 21

The US XI Corps completes the capture of the Bataan area of Luzon.  Fighting on Corregidor continues, as does the battle of Manila.

February 23

The US forces attacking in Manila step up their offensive after a fierce bombardment.  The Japanese resistance is not largely confined to the old walled section of the town, the Intramuros, but the fighting there is very fierce.

February 26

The fighting on Corregidor comes to an end.  The US forces find more than 5000 Japanese dead on the tiny island and others have been trapped in collapsed tunnels.  There are 19 prisoners.  US casualties are around 1000.

February 28

There are US landings at Puerton Princessa on Palawan by 8000 men of 41st Infantry Division.  Admiral Fechteler leads a bombardment group of cruisers and destroyers and there is also support from land-based aircraft.  There is little Japanese resistance to the landings.

March 1

The Japanese resistance in Manila is now confined to only a few blocks in the administrative area of the city.  Nearer the landing area of Lingayen Gulf there are renewed efforts but I Corps in the direction of Baguio and north along the coast.

March 3

Japanese resistance in Manila comes to an end after a bitter month-long fight.  The 20,000 defenders have been wiped out and the town devastated.

March 7

There is fighting in the I Corps sector south of San Fernando. South of Manil the XIV Corps is fighting near Balayan Bay and Batangas against the defense lines of the south Luzon Shimbu group of the Japanese forces.

March 10

Most of the 41st US Infantry Division is landed at the southwest of Mindanao near Zambongo. General Doe commands the troops and Admiral Barbey the naval support.  On Luzon fighting continues south of Laguna de Bay where the US forces are still trying to break through to the east.  Organized Japanese resistance of Palawan comes to an end.

March 11

There is some fighting in the Batangas on south of Manila and in the north toward Baguio.

March 16

Part of the US 41st Division lands on Basilan Island.  Here, as on the other small islands, the pattern will be for the US forces to subdue the Japanese in the first few days fighting and then mostly to withdraw, leaving the mopping up to Filipino guerrillas.  Fighting continues along the Shimbu line southeast of Manila and in the I corps sector to the north, especially on the Villa Verde track.

March 18

There are US landings on Panay by 14,000 men of 40th Infantry Division commanded by General Brush in the area near Iloili.  There is little opposition from the Japanese at first.

March 19

In the northward attacks along the west coast I Corp takes Bauang south of San Fernando on Luzon.

March 23

On Luzon, San Fernando is taken by I Corps with help from Filipino guerrillas.

March 26

About 14,000 men commanded by General Arnold and drawn from the units of the American Division land just south of Cebu City.

March 27

Cebu City is taken by the US.

March 29

There are US landings in the island Negros near Bacolod.  The landing force is from 185th Regiment. The Japanese on this island will fight very fiercely.

April 1

General MacNider's 158th Regiment lands at Legaspi in the southeast of Luzon and takes the town and airfield nearby.  There is no Japanese resistance at first.  Elsewhere on Luzon the US forces are beginning to make ground toward the southeast of Manila after hard fighting against General Yokoyama's Shimbu Group. Yamashita's forces in the north of the island have been fighting hard against both regular American units and guerrillas.

April 2

Part of the US 163rd Regiment is landed on Tawitawi in the Sulu Archipelago.

April 3

Part of the US 40th division land on Masbate to help the Filipino guerrillas who have controlled part of it for several days.

April 8

The US forces are reinforced by the landing of a second regiment in the northwest of Negros near Bacolod.

April 9

The 163rd Regiment of the 41st Division lands on Jolo.  There is no Japanese resistance.  Other 41st Division units land on Busuanga in the Calamian group.

April 10

On Luzon the advance of the XIV Corps reaches Lamon Bay and the coastal town of Mauban is captured.

April 11

Units of the Americal Division land on Bohol.

April 13

In Manila Bay US forces land on Fort Drum, "the Concrete Battleship" and begin to pour 5000 gallons of oil fuel into the fortifications.  This is then set on fire and burns for five days eliminating the Japanese garrison. On 16 April a landing on Fort Frank finds it abandoned. This completes the capture of the islands in Manila bay.

April 14

The US XIV Corps continues its advance onto the Bicol Peninsula in the southwest of Luzon.  Calaug is taken.  In the north Luzon ! Corps is still attacking near Baguio, but can only make very slight progress.

April 16

There are US landings in Moro Gulf at Cotabuto.  The Assault units are from 24th Infantry Division from General Sibert's X Corps.  Admiral Noble leads three cruisers and a destroyer force in support.  The US forces which landed at Zamboanga early in March have already cleared a large part of the southwest of the island, but the majority of General Suzuki's Thirty-fifth Army remains in being.  There is no opposition to the new landings at first.

April 19

In the advance of US 1 Corps units in the northwest coast of Luzon Vigan is taken.

April 21

The heavy fighting near Baguio is continuing, with the attacks of the US 37th Division making some gains near the River Irisan and the 33rd Division making ground to the west of the city.

April 22

The US 31st Infantry Division is landed a Moro Gulf.  The 24th Division is already advancing inland and has nearly reached Kabakan.   On Jolo the last Japanese resistance comes to an end as their final strongpoints fall to the US forces.  Some scattered individuals remain at large but they can achieve nothing.

April  23

Units of 37th Division reach the outskirt of Baguio.

April 26

There is a further US landing on Negros, this time by units of the Americal Division in the southwest of the island.  The troops advance well inland before meeting the first Japanese resistance.

April 27

Baguio is taken by the US forces.  Fighting in other areas of the island continues, especially in the Bicol Peninsula.

April 19

General Brush's 185th Regiment lands near Padan Point with support from a destroyer force led by Admiral Struble.  There is little Japanese resistance.

May 2

The XIV Corps units advancing west along the Biscol Peninsula of Luzon link near Naga with units from the Legaspi area who have moved east.  Only mopping up operations remain to  be done in this part of the island.

May 3

Admiral Noble lands 1000 men near Santa Cruz in the Gulf of Davao.  Davao City is taken by 24th Division units.

May 10

Part of the US 40th Division lands in the north of the island at Macalajar Bay .  The landing is successful, but everywhere else on the island on the is heavy fighting between the US and Japanese forces already present.

May 13

After more heavy fighting on Mindanao the Del Monte airfield is taken by units of the US 40th Division.

May 19

In the I Corps sector Japanese resistance ends in the Ipoh Dam area of Luzon.

May 27

Units of of the US I Corps take Santa Fe on Luzon.  There is still heavy fighting in several areas of Mindanao.

June 7

On Luzon forces from US 1 Corps take Bambang and move on northeast toward the Cayagan Valley.  Other units are moving round the coast from the northwest to the north of the island.

June 19

In the Cagayan Valley Hagan falls to the advance of I Corps.

June 23

There is a US paratroop landing near Aparri on the north coast of Luzon at the mouth of the Cagayan River.

June 25

Tuguegarag is captured by the US forces in the Cagayan Valley.  The surviving Japanese units on  the island, about 50,000 strong are now mostly concentrated in the Sierra Madre area to the east of the Cagayan Valley.

June 28

MacArthur announces that the operations in Luzon are over.  It is now five months and 19 days since the invasion.  Although there are still many Japanese on the island who will go on fighting until the end of the war, much of the mopping up will be left to Filipino units aided by US Eighth Army troops, who will take over responsibility for Luzon in addition to their present tasks in the other Philippine islands in order to free Sixth Army to prepare for the invasion of Japan.  Apart from on Luzon the only other significant bodies of Japanese resisting are on Mindanao.

July 5

General MacArthur announces that the Philippines have been completely liberated.

August 6

The first atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima.

August 8

The second atomic bomb is dropped on Nagasaki.

August 15

Emperor Hirohito announces that the Japanese are surrendering. This is VJ Day.

September 2

The Japanese surrender is signed aboard the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.  Foreign Minister Shigemitsu leads the Japanese delegation.  MacArthur accepts the surrender on behalf of all the Allies.  Admiral Nimitz signs for the US and Admiral Fraser for Britain.  There are representatives of all the other Allied nations.  Also present are General Percival and Wainwright who have been Japanese prisoners since they surrendered at Corregidor and Singapore.