(December 7, 1941-May 5, 1942)
The Philippine Islands, a territory of the United States since the 1898 Treaty of Paris, was invaded by the Japanese just ten hours following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawai’i. A strategic position between Japan and the South Pacific, Japanese forces launched an air strike against the islands of Luzon and Mindanao on December 8, 1941, catching the American forces under General MacArthur by surprise. By December 10, the Japanese achieved air supremacy and the first forces landed on Luzon and Mindanao on December 20. “Again and again […] tactics would be repeated. Stand and fight, slip back and dynamite” (MacArthur), as the American forces retreated up the Bataan Peninsula. On April 9, 1942, General Edward King of the US II Corps surrendered all troops on the Bataan Peninsula, followed by General Wainwright at Corregidor on May 6, 1942. The last American troops in the Philippine Islands surrendered on Mindanao on May 12, 1942. The months to follow wrought some of the most horrific stories of the war in the Pacific, including the 60 mile forced Bataan Death March.
On October 20, 1944, more than 100,000 American soldiers landed on Leyte Island in preparation for the major invasion to retake the Philippine Islands. In 67 days, American forces subdued the Japanese garrison of 80,000. Landings on Mindoro and the Lingayen Gulf of Luzon followed. Fighting lasted until Japan’s formal surrender on September 2, 1945.
Battles - Philippines