[8-5.1 AD 11]


2 MARCH 1942



[Note: This manuscript was prepared by the historians assigned to the Japanese Research Divisoin of the Military History Section in the General Headquarters, Far East Command. It was forwarded to the Office of the Chief of Military History (now US Army Center of Military History) for use in the preparation of the volumes of the official history of World War II. The original is on file in the Historical Manuscripts Collection (HMC) under file number 8-5.1 AD 11, which should be cited in footnotes, along with the title. It is reproduced here with only those limited modifications required to adapt to the World Wide Web; spelling, punctuation, and slang usage have not been altered from the original. Where modern explanatory notes were required, they have been inserted as italicized text in square brackets; annotations inserted by the original translators are contained in parentheses and begin with the initials "TN".]






Translation Requested by Military History Section

Date Rec'd ATIS 20 July [19]51

Description of Contents: Full Translation of Informations Regarding Japanese Landing at ZAMBOANGA.


Information Regarding Japanese Landing


The particulars concerning the strength, the name of the commanding officer, the object of the landing, and the fighting by the Japanese units which landed at ZAMBOANGA, MINDANAO on 3 Mar 4, and other related matters.

1. Strength

a. Landing force:

A land combat unit of the 32nd Base Force.

A company commanded by Lt (Navy) YAMADA (comprised of about 150 men, with a light tank and a small number of armored cars).

A land combat unit from KUMA (TN A light cruiser).

One platoon led by a lieutenant (JG) (about 70 strong).

b. Escort force:

The light cruiser KUMA, torpedo boat KIJI, 1st Gun Boat Division (KEIKO MARU and BUSHO MARU), , a subchaser from 51st Subchaser Division (KYO MARU No 13)[,] seven reconnaissance seaplanes from 32nd Air Group.

2. Commanders

a. Over-all commander:

Vice Admiral SKUGIYAMA Rokuzo, C in C of 3rd Southern Expeditionary Fleet.

b. Commander of the invasion force of ZAMBOANGA:

Rear Admiral IRIFUNE, Naosaburo, Commander of 32nd Base Force.

3. The object of landing operations.

a. The seizure of the key base for reconnaissance flight.

b. The rescue of the Japanese nationals detained at ZAMBOANGA.

c. The mopping up of the enemy stationed in ZAMBOANGA and clearing of enemy mines in the waterway in order to safeguard navigation in the strait (TN Presumably BASILAN Strait.)

4. Progress of the operation.

26 Feb 42: Two reconnaissance seaplanes conducted photographic reconnaissance of ZAMBOANGA.

27 Feb 42: The invasion force of ZAMBOANGA left DAVAO. (The light cruiser KUMA and torpedo boat KIJI left SUBIC Bay on 26 February).


2 Mar 42: At 0240 hours, the invasion force arrived off ZAMBOANGA, and the land combat units were landed. (On the beach one kilometer west of ZAMBOANGA.) Before sunset, the enemy were cleared from the city and disposition for guarding was completed. During the night incessant counterattacks were made by small enemy units and our escort vessels opened fire to neutralize the enemy. The land combat unit from KUMA rescued about 80 Japanese nationals who were interned at AYALA, and after putting them on board the KEIKO MARU around 1830 hours, returned to the light cruiser KUMA.

3 Mar 42: The KUMA left ZAMBOANGA for LINGAYEN.


5. Others. (The following account is based on the recollection of former 32nd Base Force Commander IRIFUNE and, therefore, the date, time and other details are not necessarily correct.)

a. The reconnaissance conducted by aircraft on 26 February revealed no change on the land, and no enemy troops or positions were sighted.

b. Landing operations.

Due to a large number of piles in the vicinity of the landing beach, the approach to the shore was difficult. Although two cutters carrying men were sunk, other craft were sent to replace them and all completed landing before dawn.

When the landing craft carrying the land combat units approached an area about 50 meters from the beach, they were met by heavy fire from enemy machine guns, but our losses were light. (They were overshooting us.) Our escort vessels bombarded under searchlight and one of the shells hit the enemy's machine gun position. After this the enemy set fire to the city and fled to the hills at the back of the city and in the direction of the highway to the east.

c. During the night of 2 March, the enemy counterattacked, and our escort vessels again conducted shore bombardment under searchlight. At the same time, KYO MARU No 13 was ordered to anchor close to the shore east of the city and to neutralize the enemy in that area by shore bombardment.

d. The enemy's plan to scorch the city was carried out promptly and effectively (dried coconut oil and gasoline were used), and the area which the land combat unit succeeded in saving was only a section in the vicinity of the pier.

e. Rear Admiral IRIFUNE went ashore on the morning of 2 March, and directed the fighting. About a week later the said rear admiral who handed the command over to Lt. (Navy) YAMADA the company commander of the land combat unit, boarded the BUSHO MARU and proceeded to DAVAO.

f. The length of stay in ZAMBOANGA of the other various vessels was, for the most, as follows: KIJI, about a week; KEIKO MARU, about twenty days; KYO MARU No 13, about a month.

g. At the time of his arrival in ZAMBOANGA, the vessel boarded by Vice Admiral FUGIYAMA was the KIJI and the vessel boarded by Rear Admiral IRIFUNE was the KEIKO MARU.


h. It appears that the chief motive which lead to the execution of this operation was due to the fact that a Japanese national, who had escaped from ZAMBOANGA, had informed the Headquarters of 3rd Southern Expeditionary Fleet of the sad plight of the Japanese nationals interned there.

i. The activities of the reconnaissance seaplane unit of 32nd Air Unit was shown in the annexed table.


Activities of Reconnaissance Seaplane Unit of

32nd Air Unit

(Commander: Lt (Navy) YAMANOUCHI, Junnosuke)

Date No of Reconnaissance Seaplanes Engaged Action of Reconnaissance Seaplanes
26 Feb 42 2 Photographic reconnaissance of ZAMBOANGA.
2 Mar 42 7 Supported the ground actions at ZAMBOANGA.
3 Mar 42 6 "
6 Mar 42 2 "
12 Mar 42 2 "
21 Mar 42 2 Reconnaissance of ZAMBOANGA Area.
27 Mar 42 1 Dropped the message tube to the force in ZAMBOANGA.
30 Mar 42 1 Picked up the message tube from the force in ZAMBOANGA.


A Part of the Activities of Air Unit

Date Hours Activities of Reconnaissance Seaplanes
2 March 0500 Our reconnaissance seaplanes left DAVAO Base.
0630 Arrived over ZAMBOANGA and bombed enemy positions in the surrounding area.
0830 Landed on water at ZAMBOANGA Base.
From 1030 to 1230 Strafed and bombed enemy positions and barracks in ZAMBOANGA.
From 1225 to 1330 Strafed and bombed enemy positions around ZAMBOANGA.
1430 Took off from ZAMBOANGA Base. Sighted Japanese nationals at AYALA and led the land combat unit to the spot. Japanese nationalists were saved.
1540 Bombed the bridge at MERCEDES.
1740 Returned to DAVAO Base.
3 March 0720 Left DAVAO Base and bombed enemy positions around ZAMBOANGA.
1000 Landed on water at ZAMBOANGA Base.
1130 Took off from ZAMBOANGA Base. Reconnoited the vicinity of a reservoir north of the said city. Bombed the bridge at MERCEDES but no hit.
1245 Landed on ZAMBOANGA Base.
1340 Took off from the said base and bombed the bridge at MERCEDES.
1750 Returned to DAVAO Base.

page updated 22 May 2001

Return to CMH Online