United States Army in World War II: The War in the Pacific

Triumph in the Philippines

by Robert Ross Smith

. . . to Those Who Served

Table of Contents


The Author


Part One: Plans and Preparations

Chapter 1: The Debate Over Luzon

The Strategic Background – Luzon versus Formosa

Chapter 2: The Plan for Invasion

The Concept – Changing the Target Dates – Tactical Plans – The Logistical Plan

Chapter 3: Preliminary Operations and The Approach

Airfields on Mindoro – Diversionary Activities – The Approach to Luzon

Part Two: Invasion

Chapter 4: Establishing the Beachhead

The Assault: S-day – S+2 – The Beachhead Through S+2

Chapter 5: The Enemy

Japanese Strategy in the Philippines – The Japanese on Luzon – Dispositions in Northern Luzon

Chapter 6: Expanding the Hold

I Corps Meets the Enemy – XIV Corps Probes South

Chapter 7: The Logistics of the Invasion

Unloading the Assault Convoys – Inland Supply and Construction

Part Three: The Central Plains

Chapter 8: Redeployment and Tactical Plans

New American Plans – Japanese Redispositions

Chapter 9: Securing the Sixth Army’s Base Area

The Fight for the Routes 3-11 Junction – Binalonan and San Manuel: The I Corps Center – Advancing the I Corps Right – The Achievements Analyzed

Chapter 10: The Capture of Clark Field

Into Contact With the Kembu Group – The First Attacks – A Planning Interlude – Closing With the Kembu Group’s MLR – The Attack Through the End of January

Chapter 11: Protecting XIV Corps’ Rear and Flanks

The Problem and the Plan – The Capture of San Jose – San Jose to the East Coast – The Destruction of the Kembu Group – Epilogue

Part Four: Securing the Manila Bay Area

Chapter 12: Manila: The Approach March

XIV Corps’ Drive South – The Approach From the South – Support Operations During the Approach March

Chapter 13: Manila: The Defenders and the Defenses

The City – The Japanese Defenses

Chapter 14: Isolating the Battlefield

The Concept of the Attack – Operations North of the Pasig – Across the River and Into the Buildings – Encircling the City

Chapter 15: The Drive Toward Intramuros

Iwabuchi Entrapped – The Battles at the Strongpoints

Chapter 16: Manila: The Last Resistance

Intramuros – The Government Buildings – Conclusions

Chapter 17: Back to Bataan

The Plans for Opening Manila Bay – Sealing Off Bataan: A Study in Command – Clearing Bataan Peninsula

Chapter 18: Corregidor

The Plan of Assault – Securing “The Rock”

Chapter 19: Manila Bay – Minor Operations

The South Shore – The Small Islands

Part Five: The Shimbu Group and the Visayan Passages

Chapter 20: American Plans for Post-Manila Operations

Chapter 21: The Reduction of the Shimbu Group Phase I: Turning the Shimbu Left

Plans – The XIV Corps Offensive – The Collapse of the Shimbu Left – Conclusions

Chapter 22: The Reduction of the Shimbu Group Phase II: The Seizure of Wawa and Ipo Dams

Protecting the Right Rear – Breakthrough in the Center – The Seizure of Ipo Dam – The Destruction of the Kogure Detachment – The End of the Shimbu Group

Chapter 23: Securing the Visayan Passages

Southern Luzon – Clearing the Smaller Islands – The Bicol Peninsula Operation

Part Six: The Conquest of Northern Luzon

Chapter 24: Northern Luzon: The Situation and the Plans

The Terrain and the Defenses in Northern Luzon – The Sixth Army’s Plan

Chapter 25: The Collapse of the Baguio Front

The 33rd Division’s Holding Mission – The Drive to Baguio – The Baguio Front to the End of May

Chapter 26: The Bambang Front – I: The Villa Verde Trail

The Situation and the Plans – Prologue to Stalemate – The Battle for Salacsac Pass No. 2 – Salacsac Pass No. 1 to Imugan

Chapter 27: The Bambang Front – II: The 25th Division on Route 5

The 25th Division’s Drive Begins – Objective: Balete Pass – The Envelopment of Balete Pass – Sante Fe and the Villa Verde Trail – Conclusions

Chapter 28: Action at the Northern Apex

Northwestern Luzon – Laoag, Vigan, and the Araki Force – The Fight for Bessang Pass – Results of USAFIP(NL) Operations

Chapter 29: Pursuit in Northern Luzon

The Shobu Group Withdrawal Plans – Sixth Army – I Corps Pursuit Plans – Compressing the Shobu Group – The End in Northern Luzon

Part Seven: The Southern Philippines

Chapter 30: The Campaign Begins

The Plans and the Forces – Airfields on Palawan – Zamboanga – The Sulu Archipelago – Zamboanga–Sulu Airfield Development

Chapter 31: The Central Visayan Islands

Panay and Guimaras – Northern Negros – Cebu – Bohol and Southern Negros – Conclusions

Chapter 32: The Conquest of Eastern Mindanao

Plans, Preparations, and Penetration – The Destruction of the 100th Division – The Collapse of 30th Division Resistance – Mop-up and Pursuit in Eastern Mindanao – The End of the War in Eastern Mindanao

Part Eight: Conclusion



Appendix A: Organization for the Invasion of Luzon

1. Generalized Organization of the Southwest Pacific Area, December 1944

2. Organization of Ground Combat Forces in the Southwest Pacific Area, 9 January 1945

3. Organization of the Sixth Army for the Invasion of Luzon

4. Organization of the Allied Naval Forces, Southwest Pacific Area, for the Lingayen Gulf Operation

5. Organization of the Amphibious Forces for the Lingayen Gulf Operation

6. Operational Organization of Allied Air Commands in the Pacific, 9 January 1945

Appendix B: Composition of the Landing Waves, Lingayen Assault, 9 January 1945

Appendix C: Japanese Command Structure in the Philippines

Simplified Organization, November 1944

Organization as of 9 January 1945

Appendix D: Organization of Japanese Forces At Manila

Appendix E: Shimbu Group Order of Battle

Appendix F: Strength and Deployment of Japanese in the Southern Philippines

Appendix G: Japanese Order of Battle in Eastern Mindanao

1. 100th Division,17 April 1945

2. 100th DivisionReorganization of Mid-May

3. 30th Division,17 April 1945

4. Order of Battle of Japanese Forces Along the Northwestern Section of the Kibawe–Talomo Trail

Appendix H: The Cost of the Campaigns

1. Battle Casualties of the U.S. Army Ground Combat Forces, Luzon and the Southern Philippines, 1945

2. Japanese Casualties, Luzon and the Southern Philippines, 1945

The Sources: A Critical Note


Basic Military Map Symbols


Maps I-XII

I. The Lingayen Assault, 9-11 January 1945

II. Seizing the Routes 3-11 Junction, 43rd Infantry Division, 12-31 January 1945

III. Sixth Army’s Advance, 18-31 January 1945

IV. The Capture of Clark Field, XIV Corps, 24 January-20 February 1945

V. The Approach to Manila, 1-4 February 1945

VI. The Capture of Manila: the Encirclement, 3-12 February 1945

VII. Corregidor Island

VIII. Turning the SHIMBU Left, 20 February-26 March 1945

IX. Clearing Southern Luzon, XIV Corps, 4 March-11 April 1945

X. Securing the Visayan Passages, 19 February-2 May 1945

XI. Advance Toward Santa Fe, I Corps, 21 February-10 March 1945

XII. Clearing the Salacsac Passes, 32nd Infantry Division, 7 March-28 May 1945


1. Situation in the Pacific, 15 December 1944

2. Invasion of Mindoro, 15 December 1944-31 January 1945

3. The Enemy on Luzon, 11 January 1945

4. Sixth Army Advance, 12-17 January 1945

5. The Capture of San Jose, 1-8 February 1945

6. The Capture of Manila: The Drive Toward Intramuros, 13-22 February 1945

7. The Capture of Manila: Eliminating the Last Resistance, 23 February-3 March 1945

8. ZigZag Pass, 1 February 1945

9. ZigZag Pass, 2 February 1945

10. ZigZag Pass, 3 February 1945

11. ZigZag Pass, 4 February 1945

12. ZigZag Pass, 5 February 1945

13. ZigZag Pass, 6 February 1945

14. Clearing ZigZag Pass: 38th Division, 7-14 February 1945

15. Clearing Bataan, 12-21 February 1945

16. The Seizure of Wawa Dam, 27 March-28 May 1945

17. The Seizure of Ipo Dam, 6-17 May 1945

18. To Infanta and Santa Inez, 31 March-18 June 1945

19. Troop Dispositions, Northern Luzon, 21 February 1945

20. The Capture of Baguio, I Corps, 21 February-26 April 1945

21. The Irisan Gorge Area

22. To Balete Pass and Santa Fe, 25th Division, 12 March-31 May 1945

23. The Fight for Bessang Pass, U.S. Army Forces in the Philippines, North Luzon, 29 March-22 May 1945

24. Through Bessang Pass to Cervantes, U.S. Army Forces in the Philippines, North Luzon, 1-15 June 1945

25. Pursuit in Northern Luzon, I Corps, 31 May-30 June 1945

26. Final Operations in Northern Luzon, XIV Corps, 1 July-15 August 1945

27. Clearing Puerto Princesa Harbor, Palawan Island, 28 February-1 March 1945

28. The Seizure of Zamboanga, 41st Infantry Division, 10-31 March 1945

29. The Sulu Archipelago

30. Clearing the Central Visayan Islands, 40th and Americal Divisions, 18 March-28 April 1945

31. Clearing the Cebu City Area, Americal Division, 26 March-18 April 1945

32. Clearing Eastern Mindanao, X Corps, 17 April-30 June 1945

33. Clearing the Davao Area, 24th Infantry Division, 30 April-26 June 1945


1. Results of Japanese Kamikaze Operations, 13 December 1944-13 January 1945

2. Composition of 6th Division Shore Party

3. Artillery in Support of Assault on Intramuros

4. Artillery Expended in Support of the Assault on Intramuros

5. Casualties in Battle for Manila

6. Japanese Equipment Captured in Manila Area

7. Casualties in Corregidor Operations to March 1945

8. U.S. Infantry Casualties in Attack Toward Santa Fe, 21 February-31 May 1945

9. U.S. Army Casualties, Eastern Mindanao, Through 15 August 1945


Relief Map of the Philippine Islands – Landing Unopposed on WHITE Beach, Mindoro – Southern Landing Beach at Lingayen – Looking Inland, Eastern Shore of Lingayen Gulf – Dusk, 9 January – Damortis – Troops on Hill Overlooking Damortis-Rosario Road – Manaoag and Hill 200 Complex – LSTs With Causeways – Congestion at BLUE Beach – First Standard Locomotive in Operation – Medium Tanks Support 158th RCT – Watching and Waiting – Bamban – Kembu Defense Area – Cave-Pocked Hill – Wrecked Japanese Tank-Artillery Column – Muñoz – The Bridges at Calumpit – Plaridel Bridges – Tuliahan Bridge – Airdrop on Tagaytay Ridge – Parañaque – Central Manila – Japanese Barricade – Liberated Internees at Santo Tomas – Northern Manila – Provisor Island – Rizal Baseball Stadium – Manila Hotel in Ruins – New Police Station – Rizal Hall – Objective – The Walled City – Intramuros After the Battle – Legislative Building – Before – Legislative Building – After – XI Corps Landing Area, Western Luzon – Visibility Zero, ZigZag Pass – Airdrop, Topside – Amphibious Assault, Bottomside – Raising the Flag, Corregidor – Caballo Island – Fort Drum – Boarding Fort Drum From LSM – Carabao Under Fire – Northern Section of Marikina Valley – Mts. Pacawagan and Mataba – Benchmark 7 – Terrain Defended by Kobayashi Force – 6th Division Approach to Wawa Dam – Approaches to Ipo Dam – Ipo Dam – 7th Cavalry at Kapatalan Sawmill – Lipa After Bombardment – Landing at Port Legaspi – Bontoc – Baguio – Villa Verde Trail Near San Nicolas – Bagabag – Route 11 Winding South From Baguio – Galiano Valley Approach to Baguio – Route 9 Near Burgos – Irisan Gorge – Salacsac Pass No. 2 – Hill 504 – Villa Verde Approach to Imugan – Route 5 Through Balete Pass – Neutralizing the Enemy, Norton’s Knob – Route 5 South of Santa Fe – Upper and Lower Cadsu Ridges – 105-mm. Howitzer Firing at Extreme Elevation – Bessang Pass – Attacking Through Oriung Pass – Kiangan Valley – Terrain in the Last-Stand Area, Asin Valley – Yamashita Comes Out of the Valley – Dipolog Airstrip – Amphibious Landing Area, Zamboanga Peninsula – Panay Coastal Plain – 90-mm. Antiaircraft Gun Firing Ground Support – Landing at Cebu – Cebu City – LCM Carrying Troops, Mindanao River – Route 1 – Clearing Enemy From Sayre Highway – Transporting Howitzer by Cable – Philippine Guerrilla Scout

All pictures in this volume are from Department of Defense files.

Office of the Chief of Military History: Department of the Army

Washington, D.C., 1993

United States Army In World War II

Stetson Conn, General Editor

Advisory Committee: (as of 15 March 1961)

Fred Harvey Harrington, University of Wisconsin

Maj. Gen. Louis W. Truman, U.S. Continental Army Command

William R. Emerson, Yale University

Maj. Gen. Evan M. Houseman, Industrial College of the Armed Forces

Oron J. Hale, University of Virginia

Brig. Gen. Bruce Palmer, Jr., U.S. Army War College

W. Stull Holt, University of Washington

Brig. Gen. William A. Cunningham III, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College

Bell I. Wiley, Emory University

Col. Vincent J. Esposito, United States Military Academy

C. Vann Woodward, Johns Hopkins University

Office of the Chief of Military History, Gen. James A. Norell, Chief of Military History

Chief Historian, Stetson Conn

Chief, Histories Division, Col. Leonard G. Robinson

Chief, Publication Division, Lt. Col. James R. Hillard

Editor in Chief, Joseph R. Friedman