2 The Japanese themselves realized the important effect of the protracted resistance in the Philippines. "Politically it stood as a symbol to the Filipinos and encouraged them to continue their resistance even after the fall of Corregidor," said Maj. Moriya Wada of the Fourteenth Army Staff. Lt. Col. Yoshio Nakajima,
4 Lt. Gen. Torashiro Kawabe, Deputy Chief of the Army General Staff, stated that an important factor in Japan's decision to go to war and to invade the Philippines was the fear on the part of the Japanese General Staff of General MacArthur's ten-year plan for the defense of the Philippines. The plan was in its sixth year and a potential menace to Japan's ambitions. The Japanese had to intervene before it was too late. Lt. Gen. Akira Muto, Director of the Military Affairs Bureau of the War Ministry, voiced virtually the same opinion: "General MacArthur's program among the Filipinos was a potential obstacle to the Japanese plan of expansion in Asia. . . . If the Philippines were fortified and the defense strengthened by additional troops, Japan could not have undertaken war with the United States." Lt. Col. Hikaru Haba, Intelligence Staff, Fourteenth Army, said: "If there had been 50,000 additional men in the Philippines, and had the defenses been completed, we would have had to reconsider carefully the consequences of going to war." Interrogation Files, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.
7 Homer Lea's accurate forecast of the basic strategy which the Japanese would use in their invasion of the Philippines reads: "As the conquest of Cuba was accomplished by landing forces distant from any fortified port, so will the Philippines fall. Lingayen Gulf on the north coast of Luzon, or Polillo Bight on the east coast, will form the Guantanamo Bays of the Japanese....Japan, by landing simultaneously one column of twenty thousand men at Dagupan and another column of the same size at Polillo Bight, would, strategically, render the American position untenable. These points of debarkation are almost equidistant from Manila, and are connected with it by military roads, while a railroad also connects Dagupan with the capital. The impossibility of defending Manila with the force now stationed on the islands is seen in the strategic advantages inherent in Japan's convergent attack. These two columns, more than double the strength of the American force, converge on Manila at right angles....If the American forces, on the other hand, should remain behind their lines at Manila, they would, in two weeks after the declaration of war, be surrounded by overwhelming numbers. The lines about Manila, as was demonstrated during the Spanish-American War, are incapable of prolonged defense. An aggressive enemy in control of the surrounding country can render them untenable in a short period of time." (Harper's 1942 edition) pp. 174-176.
13 GHQ, USAFFE, Press Release, 23 Jan 42. There has been some speculation as to what might have happened if our bombers had duplicated these pre-hostilities flights and attacked the Formosan airfields. The answer is that they would in all probability have run into a hornet's nest of 300-700 planes. See footnote 14.
14 In the scattered notes which Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma wrote during the subsequent fighting on Bataan, the following statement is pertinent : "One of our greatest advantages is that we have complete control of the air." ("General Homma's Notes During the Battle of Bataan,") Interrogation Files, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.) Against the weak Far East Air Force the Japanese used 307 first-line army planes in the Philippine operation and 444 navy planes (land-based and carrier)-a total of 751 aircraft. (Japanese First (Army) and Second (Navy) Demobilization Bureau Reports, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.) The American air strength in the Philippines had been closely watched by the Japanese, and it figured heavily in their military calculations before Pearl Harbor. Rear Adm. Sadatoshi Tomioka, formerly of the Navy General Staff, offered a significant opinion on this subject: "The Japanese through long experience learned that they must have a 3-1 ratio in the air to attain supremacy; if General MacArthur had had an air force which exceeded 500 planes, Japan would never have been able to strike the Philippines." The statement of Col. Monjiro Akiyama, Organization and Order of Battle Department, Imperial General Headquarters, is also of interest: "In my opinion, the presence of a well-equipped air force in the Philippines would have had a great effect on the decision to attack Pearl Harbor and to begin a war with the United States." Important too, is the statement of Lt. Col. Tokutaro Sato, Fourteenth Army Staff Operations: "We had estimated that there were 200 planes available to General MacArthur in the Philippines before the opening of hostilities. Had there been twice this amount, I doubt that it would have been possible to attack the Philippines successfully. Had General MacArthur had this additional air power, the Japanese might not have been able to attack the Philippines at all, and possibly would have been unable to open hostilities elsewhere." Interrogation Files, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.
16 The troop transports for the Legaspi invasion left Palau on the morning of 8 December. The attack force which accompanied the transports consisted of one cruiser, six destroyers, and numerous auxiliary craft. Indirect support was provided by the seaplane carriers (twenty-plane capacity) Chitose and Mizuho. Additional units of the Japanese fleet cruised in the waters east of Legaspi. They consisted of the three heavy cruisers Myoku, Haguro, and Nachi (each with three catapult planes), the aircraft carrier Ryujo (thirty-six planes), and a number of destroyers. (Combined Fleet Headquarters Report, Operational Study of the Philippines No. I, Philippine Invasion Operation, 8 December-29 December, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.) The plane capacity of the Japanese ships in the Legaspi landing and the adjacent area alone was over half the number of the entire operational air force which General MacArthur had had at his disposal when the Japanese first struck the Philippines.
20 The Davao invasion force consisted of fourteen transports which sailed from Palau on 17 December. The transports were escorted by a cruiser, six destroyers, and numerous auxiliary craft. The actual invasion was supported by the seaplane carriers Chitose and Mizuho. Additional units of the Japanese fleet stood by in the waters east of Davao. These consisted of the three heavy cruisers, Myoko, Haguro, and Nachi, the aircraft carrier Ryujo, the destroyer Shiokaze, and the patrol boat Shirataka. These units had also supported the Legaspi landings on 9 December. Combined Fleet Headquarters Report, Operational Study of the Philippines No. Ii, Philippine Invasion Operation, 8 December-29 December, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.
22 GHQ, USAFFE, Press Release, 22 Dec 41. The huge invasion force which entered Lingayen Gulf on 22 December consisted of three transport echelons. The first echelon was composed of twenty-seven transports from Takao under the command of Rear Adm. Kensaburo Hara; the second echelon of twenty-eight transports from Mako was under the command of Rear Adm. Yoji Nishimura; the third echelon of twenty-one transports from Keelung was under the command of Rear Adm. Sueto Hirose. This force of seventy-six transports was supported by three escort units of cruisers, destroyers, and auxiliary craft which had been previously used in the landings at Vigan, Aparri, and Batan Island. The American estimate of eighty transports was within four of the actual number used by the Japanese in Lingayen Gulf. War Department Intelligence (WDI), G-2, GHQ, AFPAC, Document 19692C (WDI-113), Operations of the Japanese Navy in the Invasion of the Philippines. Combined Fleet Headquarters Report, Operational Study of the Philippines No. I, Philippine Invasion Operation, 8 December-29 December, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.
23 The force of twenty-four transports which made the landing at Atimonan left Amami Oshima on 17 December. It was escorted by the light cruiser Nagara, the 24th Destroyer Division, the 1st Section of the 16th Destroyer Squadron, subchasers, gunboats, minesweepers, and other minor vessels. Combined Fleet Headquarters Report, Operational Study of the Philippines No. I, Philippine Invasion Operation, 8 December-29 December, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.
24 Japanese estimates on the length of time it would require to destroy or capture General MacArthur's forces varied from one to two months. Lt. Gen. Moriji Kawagoe, former Chief of Staff, 48th Division, Fourteenth Army, stated: "Imperial General Headquarters, Fourteenth Army, and I estimated that Luzon could be taken in one and one-half months after landing." Col. Kotoshi Nakayama, Senior Operations Officer, Fourteenth Army Staff, said: "Prior to the campaign, we estimated that we could annihilate the greater part of the American forces in one or two months." Lower estimates came from officers of the Fifth Army Air Force. "It was estimated by the Fourteenth Army," said Maj. Tsutomu Mizutani, "that the Philippines could be taken in one month." Maj. Koroshi Doba reported that the Japanese believed that General MacArthur's forces "could be annihilated within twenty days after the landings at Lingayen." Interrogation Files, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.
25 In peace-time maneuvers, the great commercial bus transportation companies operating in the major provinces of Luzon had already been organized as provisional motor transport battalions, utilizing the company personnel as officers and men. It is interesting to note that General MacArthur's G-2 in this period had previously served as G-4 of the Philippine Department, 1939-1940, and developed the motorization program.
26 Bataan had been quickly organized for a protracted defense through the hasty construction of depot areas in the primeval forests west of Lamao, the development of docks at Cabcaben, Limay, and Lamao, and the improvement of the road net, especially along the west coast; this organization of Bataan also came under G-4 Philippine Department.
27 GHQ, USAFFE, Press Release, 27 Dec 41. The Japanese nevertheless continued to bomb the city and on the 28th a press release reported : "Nothing new since this morning from the fronts. Until Manila was declared an open city it was noticeable that the Japanese did not attempt to attack civil installations from the air, but as soon as the army, including antiaircraft protection, withdrew, they immediately raided hitting all types of civilian premises including churches, convents, the cathedral, business houses and residences. Manila will no longer be blacked out. Tonight and all nights in the future Manila will be lighted."
29 Most of the Japanese commanders who opposed General MacArthur in the Philippines generally agreed that the withdrawal into Bataan was an excellent strategical maneuver. "The fact that the Americans entered Bataan where there were well-prepared positions was a brilliant move strategically. American resistance was very fierce," said Lt. Gen. Susumu Morioka, Commanding General, 16th Division. While some of the Japanese commanders thought that General MacArthur would move into Bataan, the operation caught the bulk of them unawares, for they did not anticipate that it would be done so soon or so efficiently. The following statements are typical of their reactions: "We were completely surprised by General MacArthur's withdrawal to Bataan. We thought the Americans were cowards at the time. However, later studying the move objectively, I have come to believe that it was a great strategic move," said Colonel Akiyama, Organization and Order of Battle Department, Imperial General Headquarters. "The Japanese had never planned for or expected a withdrawal to Bataan," said Colonel Sato, Fourteenth Army Staff Operations. "It had been anticipated that the decisive battle would be fought in Manila. The Japanese commanders could not adjust to the new situation caused by the withdrawal of General MacArthur's forces into Bataan which they learned about from wireless, intelligence, and aerial reconnaissance around 28 December." Interrogation Files, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.
32 The shrewd enemy applied pressure and accelerated the influx of these refugees. This influx became an important factor in the logistics of defense. Under existing war plans, General MacArthur undertook to hold the entrance of Manila Bay-Bataan-for six months, presumably sufficient time to organize a relief expedition from the United States. Consequently, supply stockage, especially food, was calculated for 180 days only. Obviously, the defending forces could not stand heavy inroads into their limited supplies by thousands of homeless refugees.
33 "At first, General Homma thought that the 65th Brigade could occupy Bataan by continuing the pursuit of the American forces which had retreated to Bataan," said General Morioka, Commanding General, 16th Division. "However, they met fierce resistance at Hermosa and were stalled. General Homma studied documents captured in Manila and realized that Bataan was very strongly defended and so changed his plans. General Sugiyama, Chief of Staff, Imperial General Headquarters, personally came to Bataan in the middle of February to investigate. It was realized that Bataan could not be taken with what troops were present. As a result of General Sugiyama's visit, Imperial General Headquarters transferred the 4th Division and one brigade of another division from China plus the Kitajima Artillery Group (about 150 guns) from Hong Kong to Bataan. Several aerial bombardment groups from Burma and Malaya were also recalled to Bataan for the subsequent operations. These units arrived in the first part of March and underwent about three weeks of jungle training. On 3 April, the attack was resumed." Interrogation Files, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.
34 General MacArthur's G-2, on a staff visit to I Corps, became involved in this landing attack in the sector of the 71st Division. When all United States officers had become casualties, he took command of the 1st Philippine Constabulary, defending Agloloma Pt. and reestablished the position by a sharp counterattack.
35 GHQ, USAFFE, Press Release, 28 Feb 42. The situation was summarized as follows: "The enemy has adopted a defensive attitude. This is definite indication that his heavy losses have shaken him. He begins to show signs of exhaustion. We are probably entering upon a phase of positional warfare of indecisive character. In North Luzon our mountain troops have forced him to evacuate the Abra Valley from Cervantes to Bangued......"
37 The combined American and Filipino troops, partially trained, inexperienced, and ill-equipped as they were, numbered less than half the Japanese forces, many of whom were battle-tried veterans from China. These handicaps, together with the complete control of the air enjoyed by the Japanese and the supremacy of their Navy which kept their all-important supply lines open and America's closed, spelled the final word of doom for General MacArthur's forces in the Philippines.
38 CINCSWPA Radio No. 3, 23 Mar 42, to WARCOS, 323. 36 AG GHQ (S). General MacArthur's order of battle was purposely designed to meet the varied and special problems involved in the Philippine situation. In clear recognition of the geographical division of the Philippines and the tactical isolation of Luzon, General MacArthur carefully designated three separate command entities, with a view toward protracted warfare in each, if one should be lost. By this arrangement he hoped to prevent the Japanese from forcing a surrender of all the islands by the capture of any single headquarters.
39 General MacArthur's estimates and plans were outlined to General Marshall in a radio sent from Australia on 4 April 1942. "In an endeavor to permit passage of supplies from Cebu to Corregidor, I prepared prior to my departure detailed plans for an air attack by B-17 from here to Mindanao.... I believe there is a chance for blockade runners from the United States to reach their destination if they approach by the route around the north of Luzon.... When I left on March 11, I estimated that serious shortage would not develop before May 1 at the earliest, allowing sufficient time for the arrival of blockade runners from the United States....
I am utterly opposed, under any circumstances or conditions, to the ultimate capitulation of this command. If it is to be destroyed, it should be on the field of battle in order to exact full toll from the enemy. To this end I had long ago prepared a comprehensive plan for cutting a way out if food or ammunition failed. This plan contemplated an ostentatious artillery preparation on the left by the I Corps as a feint and a sudden surprise attack on the right by the II Corps...taking the enemy's Subic Bay positions in reverse simultaneously with a frontal attack by the I Corps. If successful, the supplies seized at this base might well rectify the situation. This would permit them to operate in Central Luzon where food supplies could be obtained and where they could still protect Bataan and the northern approach to Corregidor. If the movement is not successful and our forces defeated, many increments thereof, after inflicting important losses upon the enemy, could escape through the Zambales Mountains and continue guerrilla warfare in conjunction with forces now operating in the north....
I would be very glad if you believe it advisable for me to attempt to rejoin this command temporaily and take charge of this movement. The pressure on this situation could be immeasurably relieved if a naval task force with its own air protection could make some kind of threat in that general direction...." CINCSWPA Radio, 4 Apr 42, to WARCOS, Rec Sec, GHQ, 384.3 420404-C (S).
46 Allied estimates of enemy intentions were accurate. As early as 2 February 1942, Imperial General Headquarters had ordered the South Seas Detachment to prepare for the invasion of Port Moresby in coordination with the Fourth Fleet. Japanese First Demobilization Bureau Report, Southeastern Area Operations Record, Part III, "Operations of the Eighteenth Army," Vol I, pp. 4-6, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC. The reports of the Japanese First and Second Demobilization Bureaus are operational histories prepared by former Japanese Army and Navy officers, all of whom participated in some phase of the war. The purpose of these reports is to document fully the history of the Japanese Armed Forces in World War II.
47 Australian Chiefs of Staff, "Defense of Australia," 27 Feb 42, G-3, GHQ, SWPA Journal File prior to 5 Apr 42 (MS). USASOS, Report of Organization and Activities, United States Army Forces in Australia, 9 Jul 43, AG GHQ 314.7.
50 "Appreciation by Australian Chiefs of Staff," 27 Feb 42; GOC Home Forces Memo, for Minister for the Army, 4 Feb 42, G-3, GHQ, SWPA Journal File prior to 5 Apr 42. Report of Organization and Activities, United States Army Forces in Australia, AG GHQ 314.7, USAFIA.