Inspiration for the Day, Dec. 26: Family Meditation




Family Meditation


Meditating in groups is powerful, meditation with your family members is beautiful.

Once we have discovered all that meditation can do for us in our lives, we have the opportunity to share that knowledge with our children. Since a child’s first experiences take place in the home, what they learn there provides a foundation of knowledge and then becomes their basis for comparison as they move out into the world. Even if we may not feel that we are qualified to teach, we can plant the seeds that will give them a basic understanding of the peace and power that lie within them.

There are many ways we can instill the value of meditation. Since children tend to learn just as much, if not more, by observation and imitation, rather than by instruction, we can teach by example. By following our practice, we show them that meditation is part of daily life. Even if they appear to resist, they will come to understand meditation’s importance in maintaining their inner health if you treat it as something that is as important and as essential as eating well and keeping proper hygiene. Little children are not the only ones that can benefit by learning meditation; preteens and teenagers can also benefit from learning the skills necessary to calm their minds and spend quality family time meditating together.

We may be able to introduce them to the concept of closing their eyes and taking inner journeys by listening to visualization CDs/downloads, or you may comfortable enough to guide them through a visualization of your own. Creating a time of quiet listening in the middle of guided imagery helps them know that they can be silent and go within whenever they choose. You might want to sit together and hold hands, creating a deep bonding ritual that may become everyone’s favorite part of the day. By discussing afterward, you can discover how your child experiences his or her inner world. By teaching children how to create with their minds and how to access the stillness within them, you are giving them tools that will help them create the best lives possible.

–The Daily OM


Your Daily Horoscope for Thursday, December 27

Your Daily Horoscope for Thursday, December 27

By Kelli Fox



March 21- April 19

Slow down a bit today. Your usual breakneck pace doesn’t lend itself to a careful, methodical approach, which is favoured now in almost any area of life. You may feel as if someone’s expectations of you are too high, but there’s an emphasis right now on living up to high standards. Do your best to toe that line, even if you secretly think a more relaxed approach would be just fine.


April 20-May 20

Your observant eye is sharp today. You’re noticing minor details that might normally slip past you, or which you might usually file under ‘no big deal.’ It’s not that they’re a big deal now, either. It’s that you can see the way many small details add up to create the big picture. This is a good thing, because it enables you to tweak things at that small-scale level, and positively affect the overall result.


May 21-June 21

Life gets grounded and stable today. If you can tune in to that energy, you’ll benefit from the sense of inner serenity that develops. But knowing you, you may have a hard time staying calm and focused, even under the current cosmic influence. Your mind is whirling as you try to keep a bunch of different facts and figures straight. Rely on procedures and formulas to help you make sense of things.


June 22-July 22

Today you’re soothed by your daily routine or the procedure you use to complete a project. Systems that make logical sense bring you a feeling of security. Your practical eye for detail is enhanced now, which comes in handy in spotting issues as they occur and correcting them as you go along. If anyone is tracking your progress — such as your employer, if you’re up for review — they’re sure to be favourably impressed.


July 23-August 22

You’re holding yourself to high standards today. Is this entirely fair? That remains to be seen. You may find that you can’t live up to your own expectations, or perhaps to the pressure you feel coming from someone else who demands a lot from you. This is one of those days when it’s extra important to find the balance between doing your best and knowing your own limits. Good enough, after all, is good enough.


August 23-September 22

It’s a good day to focus on getting your life on track in any way necessary. If you feel you haven’t been as focused as you should be on work, your health or any other area, today’s cosmic influence is perfect for recommitting yourself to a sensible regimen. It’s also a great time to make plans for the near future — particularly the next month, since today begins a new personal cycle for you.


September 23-October 22

Today is about toeing the line, paying thorough attention to detail, and living up to expectations. Fortunately, this should be a snap for you. You want and intend to fulfil your responsibilities, and you genuinely care about pleasing others. This helps you stay on task, even when you’d rather set your duties aside and relax a little. Besides, it’s just for a day or two. Then life should loosen up again.


October 23 – November 22

Your emotions aren’t likely to get in the way of your work or your daily responsibilities today. You feel deeply grounded because your heart and mind are working smoothly in tandem. You can see the bottom line in any situation and respond accordingly. If you’re in charge of a group of people, your leadership skills are excellent now. You’re able to make logical decisions that are based on the facts, and your calm demeanour commands respect.


November 23-December 20

Today’s cosmic energy emphasises logical processes and methodical approaches. Invite this energy into your life by taking greater care than usual in your work, your diet and so on. When problems arise, take a methodical approach to resolving them, and place a premium on good health. Being this cautious may not be your style, but even doing this just for a day or two should have positive effects.


December 21-January 19

Today you’re able to deal with life on your favourite terms: the real, the measurable and the actual. Everything you do has a process, and if it doesn’t, you’ll establish one as you go along. If you’re making plans for the future, they’re sure to be solid, because they take into account not only your hopes and ambitions but also your limitations. Knowing what you can’t do alone is important in gathering the right resources.


January 20-February 18

You’re holding yourself to high standards today. Your work is likely to be quite meticulous as a result, but not without great effort on your part. And is it really this important to be such a perfectionist? At some point, you have to be able to complete a project and move forward. That’s harder to do if you’re hung up on minor details, unable to see the forest for the trees!


February 19-March 20

It’s hard to stay focused today, even with the current cosmic energy boosting your concentration. You can sense intuitively that you need to be attentive to the task at hand, and yet, your mind wanders. Or you might feel overwhelmed by all the details you have to keep track of, so you shut down completely. Ask for help if you need it. A second pair of eyes or hands could make all the difference.


–Sydney Morning Herald

Where You Born on Wednesday, Dec. 26 or Thursday, Dec. 27


Happy Birthday To Those Born on

December 26


Work hard and party hard with the zodiac’s ambitious Goat

You love strategy games and any other kind of activity that allows you to quietly compete, and use your ability to see the big picture.

If you were born on December 26, you have a plan for everything! You believe that failing to prepare is preparing to fail, and this thought process has carried you far in life. You’ve applied this at work, at home, and even in casual hangouts! While this may make you an incredibly safe and successful person, you may find that you waste much of your life thinking of everything that can go wrong. What a stressful life that is! Learn to have a little faith and enjoy the people around you and the moments you’re in.

At your best: Methodical, aware, happy
At your worst: Frazzled, paranoid, scared

More About Capricorn

Tradition is your middle name, Capricorn. And when it comes to birthday celebrations, you’re all about enjoying it in a time honored way. As someone who appreciates everything antique, you might actually be one of the few signs who don’t cringe at the thought of getting older. In fact, it makes you feel more important somehow … as if you are finally morphing into the respected authority figure you strive to be.

Party Responsibly

Even though it’s your birthday, in many ways it’ll still be business as usual for you. You’re one of the most ambitious and responsible signs, and tend to put your professional aspirations above all else. Success is where you aim, and luckily, even though it takes many years and plenty of diligent effort, you typically end up realizing any goal you set for yourself. You are more reserved and cautious than most but that won’t stop you from enjoying your special day. Your approach might be less party animal and more prudent, but that doesn’t mean you don’t know how to have fun. You simply tend to do it on a budget and with a curfew. Hey — there’s a reason why you’re so successful. Knowing your limits is one of them!

If you have one fault it’s that you take life so seriously that occasionally you may fall into fits of melancholy. This is due to the fact that you view life with stark realism, a tendency that leaves little room for imaginings and faith. But at least on your birthday, consider making an exception. When your loved ones light the candles on your cake, go ahead and make a wish. This year, why not even trust that it might come true?

Happy Birthday To Those Born on

December 27

Work hard and party hard with the zodiac’s ambitious Goat

Although you like to deal with work that has to do with large brush strokes, you’re also capable of zeroing in at the detail level when you need to.

If you were born on December 27, you are a giver! Whether it’s your time, your wonderful advice, or your material possessions, you’re eager to help those around you. You are a kind and caring person who genuinely believes there is good in the world and that you can bring out the best in everyone! While your optimism is strong and your faith in mankind is powerful, the world rarely lives up to your expectations, leaving you feeling disappointed and sometimes depressed. Keep your optimistic attitude but make your expectations more realistic. You’ll be much happier!

At your best: Giving, noble, devoted
At your worst: Disappointed, dismayed, angry

More About Capricorn

Tradition is your middle name, Capricorn. And when it comes to birthday celebrations, you’re all about enjoying it in a time honored way. As someone who appreciates everything antique, you might actually be one of the few signs who don’t cringe at the thought of getting older. In fact, it makes you feel more important somehow … as if you are finally morphing into the respected authority figure you strive to be.

Party Responsibly

Even though it’s your birthday, in many ways it’ll still be business as usual for you. You’re one of the most ambitious and responsible signs, and tend to put your professional aspirations above all else. Success is where you aim, and luckily, even though it takes many years and plenty of diligent effort, you typically end up realizing any goal you set for yourself. You are more reserved and cautious than most but that won’t stop you from enjoying your special day. Your approach might be less party animal and more prudent, but that doesn’t mean you don’t know how to have fun. You simply tend to do it on a budget and with a curfew. Hey — there’s a reason why you’re so successful. Knowing your limits is one of them!

If you have one fault it’s that you take life so seriously that occasionally you may fall into fits of melancholy. This is due to the fact that you view life with stark realism, a tendency that leaves little room for imaginings and faith. But at least on your birthday, consider making an exception. When your loved ones light the candles on your cake, go ahead and make a wish. This year, why not even trust that it might come true?


Both Birthday Horoscopes Brought to You By which is a Part of the Daily Insight Group © 2018

Your Daily Horoscope for Wednesday, December 26

Your Daily Horoscope for Wednesday, December 26

By Kelli Fox


March 21- April 19

If you notice today that people seem especially quiet or reserved, your initial urge might be to draw them out of their shells by any means necessary. But it may be smarter to model your own behaviour after theirs. This is one of those days when focus and hard work are favoured, while boisterous behaviour and inappropriate jokes aren’t. Keep in mind that people are rather easily offended under the current influence.


April 20-May 20

A grounded attitude makes your life easy today. Instead of trying to live up to impossible standards, you have a sense of what’s workable and what isn’t. You can move forward with confidence, because you know your projections are well founded. Anyone who might be observing your progress is sure to be impressed, but you aren’t in this for the glory. The satisfaction of a job well done is reward enough.


May 21-June 21

Your usual witticisms are likely to fall on deaf ears today, and people may look askance if you’re silly or playful. There’s a focused attitude now, so tap into it if you can. Or at least pretend! Work quietly at the office, or tackle a cleaning or organisational project at home. Get something accomplished and cross it off your task list. At the very least, this will create a welcome sense of achievement


June 22-July 22

Today you’re concerned with real-world issues — work, money and the responsibilities you juggle every day. A thoughtful approach to any task or problem works best now. The current cosmic energy favours a realistic view of your capabilities. Since you’re interested in long-term security, both financial and emotional, it’s a good time to strengthen that foundation in any way that might apply. Attend to details now, so you won’t have to later.


July 23-August 22

Your usual, energetic demeanour is toned down under today’s cosmic influence. Like many people, you probably have a lot to do. Even if you have a wide-open agenda, a nervous feeling could still hang over you, as if you’re pressed for time. Stay busy, if you want to. But if you’re just creating the illusion of having things to do and places to be, go ahead and take a break.


August 23-September 22

Your perspective is almost entirely logical today. You trust your own and others’ perceptions only if they’re grounded in fact. This works well in plenty of situations — attending to mundane business, for example, or constructing a professional or academic project. But when it comes to dealing with people and emotions, a different approach may be needed. Don’t forget that rationality doesn’t apply to feelings. Be open on more than the mental level.


September 23-October 22

Your friends and coworkers seem a little aloof today. You might prefer a warmer, more sociable atmosphere, but you’re preoccupied with your own responsibilities, too. The current energy is just right for getting a lot accomplished, no matter how tedious or complicated the job might be. A methodical approach works best. It allows you to see any places where the process breaks down, so you can rework or revise, and move on.


October 23 – November 22

You’re an emotional person at your core, and sometimes your feelings get in the way of logic or reason. But that isn’t likely to happen today, because your mind and heart are working smoothly together. You’re able to blend common sense with intuition, reason with compassion, with great results. This holistic perspective makes it easy to tackle whatever you might have on your agenda, whether professional or personal in nature.


November 23-December 20

The current cosmic energy is logical in nature. This influence could make you feel rather inhibited, since creativity, idealism and exploration — your strengths, your favourite things — now take a back seat to realism. It’s important to stay grounded. Approach your work and other tasks methodically. Set high standards and then focus on attaining them. Most of all, follow through on the goals you set and the promises you make.


December 21-January 19

You’re methodical in your approach to work and other responsibilities today. You’ll find that a logical, step-by-step process works best in almost any situation. You tend to focus naturally on the standard that has been set or the rules that have been established, and under the current influence, that focus pays off. At the very least, your performance will impress your employer or set a good example for others.


January 20-February 18

It’s easy to get absorbed in your duties today, especially if you have a lot on your task list. But this could cause issues in your personal relationships, and even more so if you’re naturally somewhat aloof. The current cosmic energy makes people less emotionally expressive. You might simply forget to treat your friend or sweetheart with warm affection. Fulfilling responsibilities is important, but so is connecting at that human level.


February 19-March 20

You may feel pressure today from your employer, professor or some other source to attain impossibly high standards in your efforts. The current cosmic energy does highlight people’s perfectionist streaks. But try not to let others’ expectations cause you too much stress. The important thing now is to do your best, and be satisfied with that. Trying to exceed a reasonable expectation of achievement will just make you feel inadequate.


–Published on Sydney Morning Herald

Astro Events You Should Keep Your Eye on in 2019

Astro Events You Should Keep Your Eye on in 2019

Reveal key dates for the year


Every year brings about new beginnings, opportunities, and challenges — and 2019 won’t be any different! The cosmos is going to bless us with wonderful possibilities, while also putting obstacles in our path that are meant to help us grow and transform. The key to having a successful year is knowing how to work with these energies, so you end up coming out on top.

That’s why we’ve created a handy chart highlighting all the most influential transits happening throughout the year! Keep reading to learn more about the peaks and pitfalls of 2019…

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

Date: January 5

Talk about a cosmic kickstart to help you start your New Year off on the right foot! A Solar Eclipse in Capricorn is going to highlight a new beginning in some area of your life. Because this eclipse is closely aligned with Saturn, also in Capricorn, you’re ready to embrace this opportunity by rolling up your sleeves and getting down to business. And with all the persevering Goat energy floating around, you can be sure that any groundwork you lay during this eclipse will have serious long-term potential. Use this energy to set yourself up for long-term success!


Jupiter square Neptune

Date: January 13, June 16, September 21 (Next occurrence: 2025)

With Neptune’s illusory energy and Jupiter’s expansive energy, you could find yourself very easily deceived when these two planets aspect. This might be the time when you trust someone you shouldn’t or wear rose-colored glasses with a potential love interest. You could feel more optimistic than usual — but exercise caution as this misleading energy could take you down a much riskier path than you’d care to go down. Fortunately, once you get past September 21, you won’t have to worry about this energy for another six years.


Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Date: January 21

Talk about a Total (Lunar) Eclipse of the heart! Because this eclipse takes place in the loving sign of Leo, matters around your deepest desires and whether they’re being fulfilled could come into focus for you. What do you crave? Are your needs being met? Are you holding onto outdated beliefs of what love is supposed to look like? This eclipse not only serves as a reminder that we accept the love we think we deserve, but it also highlights that when we stop searching for something, we might realize it was in front of us all along.


Saturn sextile Neptune

Dates: January 31, June 18, November 8 (Next occurrence: 2031)

The impossible becomes the not-so-impossible when stabilizing Saturn syncs up with idealistic Neptune. All those dreams you’ve had but could never quite bring to fruition become possible now. Saturn helps you focus Neptune’s blurry lens, meaning that you’re able to hold onto your wildest fantasies, while also applying hard work and a sensible approach. This is truly a dreams-do-come-true transit, so don’t let this energy go to waste. After November 8, you won’t have another opportunity like this for another 12 years!


Mercury Retrograde in Pisces

Dates: March 5 – March 28

This retrograde period could be a doozy! Mercury Retrograde on its own gets a little messy for all of us, but when the planet of communication goes haywire in the spacey sign of Pisces, you could feel yourself becoming depleted, showing up late to appointments, and having an inability to concentrate. But this retrograde period isn’t all bad news. You can use this Mercury-Pisces combo to your advantage by indulging in a little escapism, allowing yourself to daydream and fantasize more than you normally would.


Uranus enters Taurus

Date: March 6

Uranus entered Taurus back in May 2018 but backpedaled into Aries during its retrograde period. Once Taurus re-enters Taurus, he’ll remain there through April 2026. Taurus is a sign that loves things to stay the same, while Uranus likes major shake-ups. This means that this transit could chip away at the foundations you’ve set up in your life, encouraging you to reinvent yourself in some way. Taurus is about values and the materials world, so you could see major changes in these areas of your life during this transit.


Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer

Date: July 2

Total Solar Eclipses are potent enough on their own, but the eclipse in Cancer opposes Saturn in Capricorn. This energy could cause issues relating to leaving your comfort zone and reimagining the definition of what’s familiar or secure to arise. Thinks of this eclipse as a much-needed cosmic nudge to let go of whatever it was you thought made you solid, so you can truly become the master of your own universe.


Mercury Retrograde in Leo & Cancer

Dates: July 7 – July 31

This Mercury Retrograde period begins in Leo and ends in Cancer. When Mercury backpedals through Leo, you’ll be tasked to speak more directly from the heart, setting aside your ego in favor of true communication. Unfortunately, not everything will be quite as heartfelt when Mercury dips back into Cancer, because you might find that you and your family members can’t seem to get on the same page. Don’t let rising tensions get the best of you!


Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn

Date: July 16

Brace yourself, because this could shape up to be a very powerful and emotional eclipse for you! Why? The Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn will be only two degrees away from Pluto, the planet of depth, passion, and intensity. This means the energy from this event could expose secrets and shine a light on bad behaviors. And once this stuff comes to the surface … well, it could create some serious conflict. However, this could end up being a good thing, helping you create dramatic transformations personally, in your relationships, or even in our society as a whole.


Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio

Dates: October 31 – November 20

Scorpio loves to expose our dirty messes, and Mercury is the planet of communication. So, when these two forces sync up in the sky, you could be confronted with issues of honesty and intimacy, shocked by a secret that surfaces, forced to deal with the pain of a previous betrayal, or even be pushed into having a conversation with your own internal darkness. Needless to say, Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio could throw us all for a loop!


Jupiter enters Capricorn

Dates: December 2, 2019 – December 20, 2020

Jupiter will move from buoyant Sagittarius to serious Capricorn, signaling a time when you’ll go from making big strides to taking a more measured approach. Persistence is something Capricorn excels at, which means you’ll have the fortitude to push forward with your plans even when the going gets rough. You’ll receive all of Jupiter’s blessing during this transit if you make plans and stick to them. Fortunately, you’ll have the energy of the Goat supporting you to do just that for almost all of 2020.


Jupiter trine Uranus

Date: December 15, 2019 (Next occurrence: 2028)

When expansive Jupiter and revolutionary Uranus join forces, you are being given cosmic permission to push the envelope and explore uncharted territory. This isn’t the time to stick with what you know. These two planets want you to dare to be different, to take risks, to push your boundaries. If you’ve been feeling as though your life is full of routine and has grown stale, this is the perfect transit to shake things up. And by stretching yourself in this way, unexpected and exciting opportunities could fall into your lap. You don’t want to miss out on making the most of this energy, because you won’t have another opportunity like it until 2028!


Annular Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

Date: December 26

It would only make sense that the final eclipse of the year will be a magical one! Not only will it will be conjunct to Jupiter in Capricorn, but it will also be trine to Uranus in Taurus. What does this mean, exactly? If you’ve spent 2019 doing the work to secure your place in the world, you could be on the receiving end of material windfall you didn’t see coming. Talk about having the potential to end your year in the most amazing way! is Part of the Daily Insight Group © 2018



Have you been feeling stuck in a rut? Good news, 2019 is your year to start over. Forget business as usual—this year is all about shaking your life up so that you can do more of what resonates with you deeply and personally. That could mean forsaking an old life, career, reputation, or way of doing things—for something you feel brings your more emotional satisfaction. It could also mean breaking with tradition to create new habits and hobbies that you feel are more heartfelt.

As to where doing things that excite and resonate with you may have been difficult the past few years, this year is meant to help catapult you on some new journey that you have been formulating for quite some time. This journey will be very different from anything you have done in your past and may take some time to fully step into and complete, but will be very close to your heart.

This year, task-master Saturn will finally be making its way through the middle degrees of Capricorn, its home sign, for the first time in 29 years. This will require you to dedicate a lot of your time and attention to building something that is important to you with discipline and integrity.

Saturn, however, joining both Pluto and the South Node in Capricorn will require you to build things differently. What you will be building will be based more on emotion, and take more of your feelings and the feelings of others into account. It is no longer about creating something that is important to you at the expense of others, but by incorporating, understanding and being compassionate towards them.

Cosmic rebel Uranus traveling through the sign of Taurus for the first time since 1935 will also ask (or push) you to utilize your full gifts and talents to achieve these deeply heartfelt dreams of yours, and own what makes you entirely unique. This kind of alignment favors those who are bold and confident in their abilities, yet also extremely pragmatic. Hiding in the shadows and keeping all your talents a secret as you wait to be discovered will simply not do. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and show everyone what is special about you as an individual. Then, go all in on your strengths.

The North Node of the moon points the way to our future. With the North Node being in Cancer for the first time in 18 years, honoring your emotions and nurturing yourself throughout some major life changes will be key. Many of us may be moving, adjusting relationships with home and family, or re-discovering old interests and comforts that were once lost.

Wait, the best is yet to come. Expansive Jupiter moving into its home sign of Sagittarius, where it has not been for the past 12 years, will help give you more exuberance to accomplish some of the things you need. Because Jupiter works most freely in the sign of the Archer, doing the things that you enjoy and attracting more abundance should be way easier than in previous years even if your life is going through major shifts.

As it usually does, communication guru Mercury will retrograde three times this year. It will retrograde in Pisces in March, in Leo and Cancer in July, and in Scorpio in November. All retrogrades will occur close to the degrees many major astrological alignments happened in 2018. These retrogrades, especially the ones in water signs, are here to help you adjust emotionally to the new life you will be creating for yourself in 2019.

These Mercury retrograde transits are, indeed, extremely useful, as they will require you to think very differently about your past, about who you really are, and about what you ultimately want out of life. The main goal here is to stop and ask yourself what makes you feel truly happy and fulfilled. The next step is… start aligning your life in that direction!

Use this year as a chance to tear down old structures that aren’t working and build up new ones that you feel are more authentic and meaningful to you. It may take some time and discipline to do so, and it could feel scary to forsake old habits and projects, but what will remain after these outdated structures have been torn down is something that is more enduring and supportive of something bigger—the real you.

Embrace this opportunity to reset your life and start over doing the things that resonate with you more deeply.


Brittany is a professional astrologer and the creator of 

Published on

The Daily Cosmic Calendar for December 26 & December 27


The exuberance revealed yesterday can still be maintained in the early hours as the moon in Leo trines futurist Uranus in Aries (7:38am). This activation of unconventional Uranus begins a short void lunar cycle that lasts until the moon enters meticulous Virgo (9:51am). With the lunar orb now vitalizing the sixth sign of the zodiac, it makes sense to tune into your skills as a superb organizer and efficiency master. Out with clutter and non-essentials; in with order and clean-up campaigns. Studies in psychology and esoteric philosophy are promoted as Mercury parallels Pluto (2:03pm). Stock up on cereals, grains, veggies, fruit, tea, nuts, seeds and seasonings as the moon trines the sun in earth signs (6:34pm).

[Note to readers: All times are calculated as Pacific Standard Time. Be sure to adjust all times according to your own local time so the alignments noted above will be exact for your location.]

Copyright 2018 Mark Lerner & Great Bear Enterprises, Ltd.



Nurturing-comforting vibrations are in a delightful groove in the early hours as Venus unites with Ceres at 20 degrees of Scorpio (7:05am). Come from the heart in key discussions with loved ones. A 30-degree rapport between Jupiter in Sagittarius and Saturn in Capricorn (11:19am) should be utilized to make headway with rock-solid business ventures. Tweak a potentially adversarial, 150-degree tie between Pallas and Juno (9:27pm) away from mental fatigue and in the direction of strengthening key relationship bonds. Stop worrying about things you cannot control.

[Note to readers: All times are calculated as Pacific Standard Time. Be sure to adjust all times according to your own local time so the alignments noted above will be exact for your location.]

Copyright 2017 Mark Lerner & Great Bear Enterprises, Ltd.

World War Two: Fall of Philippines (2-7); Impact of War, December 1941

The transition from peace to war in the Philippines was a sudden one. The civilian population and the untrained Filipino soldiers were ill prepared to withstand the initial shock without displaying signs of nervousness and apprehension. Although a war with Japan had been expected for some time, bomb shelters had not been completed and the Philippine Army was still in the process of mobilization. A voluble and excitable people, the Filipinos saw danger everywhere and their fertile imagination produced reports of enemy activity that kept the USAFFE staff busy searching for the grain of truth in the wild tales that came in over the wires.

The most fantastic reports were accepted and widely circulated. During the first air raids, the belief that the Japanese bombers were “at least partially manned by white pilots” was given sufficient credence to be reported to the War Department. Dewey Boulevard was supposed to be lined, the plane less 27th Bombardment Group heard, with A-20’s ready to fly into combat. The same unit also reported a telephone message stating that its A-24’s were at the docks being unloaded. A frantic but unprofitable rush to the water front followed.

Many residents in Manila reported hearing short-wave messages to Japan, but the most careful search by Army authorities failed to reveal a short-wave transmitter. One day there was news that the fleet was sailing across the Pacific to the rescue; another day that the water supply in Manila had been poisoned and that poison gas had been spread in the port area. Again, the Japanese were supposed to have sailed into Manila Bay and put ashore 1,000 men at the mouth of the Pasig River. From 9 December on, Admiral Hart wrote, “An extraordinary crop of incorrect enemy information flowed in over the warning net.”

Too many reports came in of enemy sightings when nothing actually was sighted. Each fresh rumor made the civilian population more uneasy. No one knew what to believe. Numerous air raid alarms, all of them false, and the blackout added to the tense and foreboding atmosphere. The air alarms in Manila became so frequent that General Sutherland had to order wardens to clear through the Army headquarters before sounding the sirens. The blackout was rigorously enforced, and the criminal element in the city took full advantage of the darkness and confusion.

They were unwittingly aided by guards, sentries, and air raid wardens, who “popped up seemingly at every corner to issue a nervous challenge.” If not answered promptly and satisfactorily, they fired. In an effort to control crime and reported fifth-column activity, the police were given orders to shoot if the reply to a challenge was not satisfactory. Many interpreted their orders narrowly, challenging and firing at the same time. With sentries, air raid wardens, and police shooting, sometimes at each other, the confusion became even worse. Finally, USAFFE ordered all firearms turned in.

Manila showed all the signs of a modern city under attack. Shop windows were covered with adhesive tape and entrances barricaded with sandbags. Improvised bomb shelters appeared in shops and public buildings. Those fortunate enough to have cellars in their homes spent their nights there.

Transportation was commandeered by the Army and gasoline was rationed. Those who drove cars had to shade their headlights in the approved fashion. Street traffic became disorganized, and trucks, ambulances, and official cars raced through the streets at top speed with complete disregard for traffic signals.

Life in Manila during these days was topsy-turvy. Residents fled the city to seek safety in rural areas, and their country cousins flocked to the city for the same reason. Main thoroughfares were blocked with trucks, animal-drawn vehicles, and handcarts moving in both directions. Vehicles were loaded with household goods, trussed pigs, and chicken crates. To the rear trailed the dogs. To their barking was added the squealing of the pigs and the clucking chatter of the fowls. The skies were watched anxiously for any sign of Japanese planes. People began to hoard food. Radio and cable offices were filled and it was impossible to handle all the messages to the outside world.

With the first bombs the people rushed to the banks to withdraw their money. Frantic mobs pushed and milled outside the banks and swore at the tellers. Those banks and commercial houses that had not already done so sent their gold to Australia and the United States. After several days withdrawals were limited to 200 pesos in paper money weekly. Filipinos hoarded silver money and the result was a shortage in change. Most merchants sold only for cash, thus increasing the difficulties of the business community.

During these days of confusion, military and civilian authorities worked closely to restore the confidence of the people. Bomb shelters were constructed and the people began to pay less attention to the air raid warnings when the Japanese failed to attack the city. The Commonwealth Assembly met in emergency session and made available to President Quezon the sum of 20,000,000 pesos for defense. The United States contributed an equal sum for civilian relief. Government employees were given three months’ advance in pay so that they could move their families out of the city to places supposedly safer than Manila. But it never became necessary to establish martial law, and after a week or two the Filipinos quieted down and life in the capital became more normal.

The troops were just as nervous as the civilians. Most of them were convinced that a well-organized Japanese fifth column existed in the Philippines. Flares, rockets, strange lights, descending paratroopers, cut wires, and interrupted communications were all observed and cited as evidences for this belief. Rumors circulated as widely among the troops as the civilians and were as firmly believed.

The assistant supply officer of USAFFE, Major Frank F. Carpenter, Jr., on a visit to a barrio about fifteen miles north of Manila, heard stories of American convoys, shortages of ammunition, the landings at Aparri, and other military matters, which the average American soldier did not know. He was told that Germans wearing the American uniform had been seen and that 1,500 Japanese soldiers in civilian clothes were living in Manila, “all set to take action at the proper time.” It was Major Carpenter’s considered judgment that fifth columnists in the uniform of the American soldier were spreading information and creating dissatisfaction, and he asked the intelligence officer to investigate.

Almost all survivors of the campaign agree that they saw flares or that they know someone who did. These lights were apparently unlike signal flares; they were small, orange in color, and could be seen close to the ground or just above the trees. Other observers noted rockets rising over uninhabited areas, and series of lights forming a straight line pointing to an airfield or military target just before an attack.

Colonel Collier tells this story of the predawn raid on Nichols Field on the morning of 9 December: As the sound of the Japanese planes became audible, an old automobile near Nichols burst into flames, casting a glow over the field. At the same time, about a dozen fishing boats were observed in the bay, just outside the breakwater. They formed a circle with their lights pointing toward the center. The straight line from this point to the blazing automobile formed a line which the Japanese bombers presumably followed to reach the field.

Similar stories are told about the raids on Clark Field and Cavite. One witness states that he learned from an unnamed cavalry officer-since killed-that a Filipino who operated a bar near Clark Field was largely responsible for the success of the Japanese attack on 8 December. This Filipino is supposed to have had a powerful short-wave transmitter with a beam director in a room in back of the bar and to have informed the Japanese when all the B-17’s were on the ground. He was discovered at the dials of his transmitter after the raid and a “grim sergeant from the 26th Cavalry went into the place with a tommy gun.” 12 The presence of collaborators at Clark is also mentioned by Lieutenant Joseph H. Moore, commander of the 20th Pursuit Squadron, who states that he found a mirror tied to a tree above his quarters. Presumably the reflections from the mirror guided the Japanese aircraft to the field.

A variation of the Clark Field story was told of the raid on the Cavite Navy Yard. Here a secret radio transmitter was also supposed to have been found. The operators, according to this account, were an American with a Japanese wife, both later discovered and arrested. At Cavite, also, an attractive girl of Japanese ancestry, who was employed in a trusted position at the yard, was “caught red-handed in act of treachery.” Someone decided she had to be executed immediately and the officers drew lots. The task fell, so the story goes, to a young naval officer who was in love with the beautiful spy. He led her outside and performed the sentence “without hesitation.”

Official records do not support any of the stories told about secret radio transmitters, beautiful spies, or fifth columnist barkeepers.

Reports of paratroops were frequent also, but upon investigation all proved to be false. A drop of 20,000 paratroops about ten miles east of Clark Field was reported on 10 December. USAFFE placed enough reliability on the report to order the Philippine Division there to meet and destroy the enemy. When the reported Japanese paratroopers failed to appear, the division was ordered elsewhere.

Interrogation of Japanese officers after the war and a study of Japanese and American records fail to support the belief that a Japanese fifth column existed in the Philippines. There is not a shred of evidence to indicate that any organized effort was made by the Japanese to utilize the sympathies of the Japanese population in the Islands or of Filipino collaborators. To have done so would have involved knowledge by a Japanese organization in the Philippines of the 14th Army’s detailed plans well in advance of the attack, communications with the airfields on Formosa, and an elaborate organization to receive information from agents and relay it on to Japanese headquarters on Formosa. Such an organization did not exist. If an effort to assist the attacking Japanese was made, it must have been sporadic and on an individual basis.

It is possible to explain some of the observed phenomena on grounds other than fifth-column activity. The flares may have been caused by American and Filipino troops using faulty .30-caliber tracer ammunition of World War I vintage. No one was ever able to find any person who fired flares, and examination invariably revealed that the strange lights and flares came from an area where American troops were stationed. Sometimes those searching for the origin of the flares used lights which others reported as signs of fifth-column operations.

The reports of Japanese paratroopers can be explained by parachuting pilots from damaged aircraft, by the descending burst of antiaircraft fire, or by jettisoned spare gas tanks. The heated imagination of men during the first days of war is capable of conjuring up visions far more fantastic than strange lights and descending paratroopers.

The possibility of sabotage and fifth-column activity had been anticipated in prewar plans. The Philippine Department G-2 and the Commonwealth secret service had listed enemy aliens and had kept many individuals under surveillance. Provision had been made to secure information and locate enemy agents in the event of a Japanese attack. Several FBI operators of Japanese parentage (nisei) had been brought from Hawaii before the war to circulate among the Japanese population.

Many American businessmen, engineers, and planters had been enrolled secretly in the intelligence organization and provided a potential American fifth column in the event of a Japanese occupation of the Islands. The Philippine Constabulary also provided secret agents for counterespionage.

At the outbreak of hostilities, all suspected persons were quickly and quietly taken into custody. Japanese civilians living in the Japanese section of Manila were ordered to remain in their homes, and the military police took over the guard of this area. On the first day of war, General MacArthur reported to the War Department that 40 percent of the enemy aliens in Manila, and 10 percent of those in the provinces had been interned. The Philippine Constabulary picked up aliens wherever found-in homes, offices, clubs, and on the streets.

On 13 December, two days after Germany and Italy declared war on the United States, German and Italian residents in the Philippines were also interned. The aliens were first screened at Bilibid Prison in Manila and those cleared were released at once. Those not able to explain their business satisfactorily were then transferred to a camp south of the city to await examination by a board consisting of a representative of the High Commissioner and several Army officers.

Although the civilian population and the untrained troops were nervous during the first days of war, the task of mobilizing the Philippine Army continued. According to the prewar plan the last units were scheduled for induction on 15 December, a week after the attack came. Some, such as the 43d Infantry, had already been brought in and, as soon as hostilities opened, all remaining units were immediately mobilized. Those divisional elements not yet in service, usually the third infantry regiment and the field artillery regiment, were brought in immediately.

A provisional Constabulary regiment, later designated the 4th, was formed and, with the 1st and 2d Regiments, became the basis for the 2nd Regular Division, organized early in January and consisting entirely of Constabulary troops. The 1st Regular Division (PA), which in peacetime consisted mainly of cadres for training reservists, was brought up to strength and inducted, without an artillery regiment, on 19 December. It was assigned to the South Luzon Force and its 1st Infantry moved at once to the Mauban area along Lamon Bay.

In the Visayas and in Mindanao, mobilization was about one-half completed when war came. On orders from MacArthur’s headquarters, the 72d and 92d Infantry (PA) were sent to Luzon on 9 December. Numerous provisional units were organized and equipped by local commanders. These units consisted of volunteers, ROTC cadets, and reservists not yet called or who had failed to report.

All reservists were ordered to report to the nearest unit or mobilization center on 8 December. As a result, some units found themselves over-strength and additional units were hastily organized. Men undergoing instruction and not yet assigned were organized into separate units. Coast artillery personnel at Fort Mills (Corregidor), for example, was organized into the 1st Coast Artillery (PA), with a headquarters battery of twenty-eight men and four gun batteries of one hundred men each. The coast artillery reservists at Fort Wint in Subic Bay were similarly organized.

In some cases, units were formed to utilize armament or equipment lying in warehouses or elsewhere. At the suggestion of General King, MacArthur’s artillery officer, the 301st Field Artillery (PA) was formed from two groups of volunteers, altogether 700 men, and equipped with 24 wooden-wheeled 155-mm. guns of World War I type, and 2 155-mm. howitzers of the same vintage. These were the 155’s that had been sent to the Philippines to protect the straits leading into the inland seas and were the only weapons of this caliber in the Philippines, outside of Corregidor. Colonel Alexander S. Quintard was brought from Mindanao to command the unit. At about the same time, three separate provisional battalions of field artillery of four 4-gun batteries each were formed. These units were armed with 48 of the 50 75-mm. guns on self-propelled mounts that had been shipped to the Philippines in October. Personnel was secured from the Philippine Scouts, Philippine Army reservists, and the 200th Coast Artillery (AA). Two of the battalions were assigned to the North Luzon Force, and one to the South Luzon Force.

Immediately upon the outbreak of war, USAFFE ordered all procurement agencies to fill their needs by purchase in the local markets. The quartermaster bought all the new and used automobiles and trucks he could find, as well as large quantities of clothing and food. Several motor transport companies were taken over by the Army, lock, stock, and barrel. The Signal Corps purchased all available photographic, radio, and telephone equipment, and took control of the Manila Long Distance Telephone Company, commissioning its president, Joseph Stevenot, a lieutenant colonel.

The Medical Corps gathered up all the medicine, bandages, and surgical equipment it could find in the Islands. Buildings of all kinds were occupied by the Army the Lai Alai Club became a hospital; Rizal Stadium, a medical depot. The officers assigned to the former inherited the food, chefs, and service of the club, and for a few days dined sumptuously on onion and mushroom soup, steak, broiled lobster, and Viennese pastry, served on snowy linen gleaming with silver by waiters in natty green and white uniforms. After headquarters heard of this arrangement, the medics ate Army fare.

Manila, the commercial center of the Islands, was exploited for supplies to supplement existing stocks. On orders from General MacArthur the quartermaster took over from the large oil companies all their bulk petroleum products stored in the vicinity of Manila. He sought especially to procure food from local sources, for it was evident already that there would be a shortage should the campaign last long. From Chinese merchants in Manila, the Army secured thousands of 125-pound sacks of polished rice, and from ships in the harbor large quantities of food. The quartermaster took over from Armour, Swift, and Libby large quantities of canned meats and other foods.

Within a few days after the opening of hostilities, the port area in Manila had become crowded with rapidly expanding military installations. Fort Santiago, headquarters of the Philippine Department, was on the edge of this area, as was the mouth of the Pasig River, now jammed with inter-island freighters and other craft. The supply services that had warehouses and depots in the area decided it would be safest to move out, although Manila had not yet been bombed.

The engineers were the first to go; they moved to the University of the Philippines. The quartermaster took over Santo Tomas University, and the other services followed. By 20 December most of the service installations in the port area had quietly moved to safer quarters.

An unexpected addition to the tanks of Colonel James R. N. Weaver’s Provisional Tank Group was received shortly after the start of war. The Japanese attack left marooned in Manila Harbor the Don Jose, a vessel belonging to the Canadian Government and carrying a cargo of motor equipment for two Canadian motor battalions in Hong Kong. MacArthur immediately requested that this materiel be released for use in the Philippines, and the War Department secured the Canadian Government’s consent. The cargo included fifty-seven Bren gun carriers, forty of which were made available to Colonel Weaver. Unfortunately, the guns for the carriers were not included in the cargo, and they had to be armed by the Manila Ordnance Depot.

The immediate reaction at Headquarters, USAFFE, to the first Japanese landings was one of calm. General MacArthur optimistically reported that the Philippine people had withstood the shock of war “with composure,” and that there were “no signs of confusion or hysteria.” The Japanese moves were correctly analyzed but a counteroffensive was not launched to drive off the invaders. “We did not disperse forces,” says General Sutherland, “but waited for what we felt would be the main attack.”

More concern was felt during the first days of the war over the rapid dissolution of the Far East Air Force than over the Japanese landings. “The present phase of enemy action,” MacArthur told the War Department on 12 December, “involves a series of concentric thrusts probably intended to confuse and demoralize northern movement. Probably has the additional objective of securing airdromes for operation of land based aircraft.”. The next day he declared that the enemy’s intent was clearly revealed. The Japanese, he said, were seizing airbases outside the heavily defended area of central Luzon, and ground action could be considered sporadic and unimportant.

This view was expressed also in Colonel Charles A. Willoughby’s intelligence estimate to the War Department on 13 December 1941. He expected the Japanese forces at Aparri, Vigan, and Legaspi to be reinforced, but pointed out that the landing areas were not suitable for the employment of strong forces, in offensive operations. The purpose of the landing, he correctly analyzed, was to establish advance airbases. “As soon as air support is established,” he warned, “a major landing effort can be expected; it is estimated after 15 days.” 

The only change in plans made by MacArthur as a result of the Japanese landings was the new mission given the North Luzon Force on 16 December. Before that time General Wainwright had been charged with the defense of all northern Luzon, and his orders were to meet the enemy at the beaches and drive him back into the sea. The main line of resistance was the beach. Such a mission was impossible of execution with the available means and in the absence of air and naval support. On the 16th the North Luzon Force was relieved of responsibility for the defense of that portion of Luzon north of San Fernando, La Union, and required only to hold the enemy north of an east-west line through that city.

Within a few days after the landings the pattern of the Japanese plan had become clear to the American command. First, Japanese air and naval forces were to cut off the Philippine Islands from all possible aid. Then, Japanese aircraft could destroy or neutralize the defending air and naval forces and gain superiority in the air and on the sea. At the same time, Japanese ground forces would secure advance bases at the northern and southern extremities of the island of Luzon and on Mindanao where the opposition was negligible or non-existent.

SOURCE: The Fall Of The Philippines by Louis Morton (United States Army Center of Military History)

World War Two: Fall of Philippines (Part 2-6)Japanese Invasion 8-24 December 1941

World War Two: Fall of Philippines (2-8); Main Landings, 21-24 December 1941

World War Two: Fall of Philippines (2-8); Main Landings, 21-24 December 1941

The first part of Imperial General Headquarters plan for the conquest of the Philippines had been successful beyond the hopes of the most optimistic. American air and naval power had been virtually destroyed.

Five landings had been made at widely separated points and strong detachments of Japanese troops were already conducting offensive operations on Luzon and Mindanao. The 5th Air Group was established on Luzon fields, and the Navy had its own seaplane bases at Camiguin Islands, Legaspi, and Davao. Army short-range fighters were in position to support Japanese ground troops when required. All this had been accomplished in less than two weeks. The main landings, to be made on Luzon north and south of Manila, were still to come. There would be two landings: the major effort at Lingayen Gulf, and a secondary effort at Lamon Bay.

The forces assigned to these landings had begun to assemble late in November. The 16th Division (less the 9th and 33d Infantry) left Osaka in Japan on 25 November and arrived at Amami Oshima in the R yukyus on 3 December. Three days later all of the 48th Division less the Tanaka and Kanno Detachments) was concentrated at Mako, in the Pescadores, and at Takao and Kirun, on near-by Formosa. The major portion of the shipping units was in Formosa by the end of November and began to load the convoys soon after.

There was much confusion during the concentration and loading period. The greatest secrecy was observed, and only a small number of officers knew the entire plan. These men had to travel constantly between units and assembly points to assist in the preparations and in the solution of detailed and complicated problems. Unit commanders were given the scantiest instructions, and worked, for the most part, in the dark. Important orders were delivered just before they had to be executed, with little time for study and preparation.

Such conditions, the Japanese later regretted, “proved incentives to errors and confusion, uneasiness and irritation.” Moreover, after 8 December, the Japanese lived in fear of an American bombing of Formosa ports, where the vessels were being loaded with supplies and ammunition. Despite fears, confusions, and mistakes, the separate convoys were finally loaded and ready to sail by 17 December. The uneasiness arising from ignorance and secrecy persisted aboard ship. Even now the men were not told where they were going. Adding to the nervousness was the restriction placed on the use of maps. Only a few officers were allowed to see them. “All the units,” the Japanese later observed, “were possessed of a presentiment, arising from the general atmosphere, that they were on their way to a very important theater of operations.”

The 14th Army staff, which did know the destination, shared the nervousness of the troops. Everything depended upon the success of this operation. All that had gone before was but a preliminary to these landings. If they did not succeed, the plans of the Southern Army and of Imperial General Headquarters would fail. “During all my campaigns in the Philippines,” said General Homma when he was on trial for his life, “I had three critical moments, and this was number one.”

The Lingayen Landing

On the morning of 21 December, Filipinos near Bauang along the shores of Lingayen Gulf observed a Japanese trawler cruising leisurely offshore. Unmolested, it took soundings and then serenely sailed off to the north. Late that night, seventy-six heavily loaded Army transports and nine Navy transports, all under strong naval escort, steamed into Lingayen Gulf and dropped anchor. The main assault was on.

The Landing Force

Aboard the transports was the main strength of General Homma’s 14th Army, altogether 43,110 men. The major combat strength of the Lingayen Force was drawn from Lieutenant General Yuichi Tsuchibashi’s 48th Division. Activated in Formosa in late 1940 and as yet untried in battle, this division was composed of the 1st and 2d Formosa Infantry Regiments, the 47th Infantry, and artillery, reconnaissance, engineer, and transport regiments. Attached to it for the landing was a large number of combat and service units, but the 2nd Formosa had been lost by the establishment of the Tanaka and Kanno Detachments. Although probably the best motorized division in the Japanese Army at this time, the 48th by American standards could hardly be said to have sufficient motor transportation.
14th Army _________________ 34,856
Shipping Units_______________ 4, 633
Army Air Force______________ 3,621
TotaL ____________________ 43, 110

One battalion of each infantry regiment was equipped with bicycles. Divisional artillery consisted of the 48th Mountain Artillery, similar to a standard field artillery regiment except that the basic weapon was the 75-mm. mountain gun (pack). In addition to the 48th Division, the Lingayen Force contained the 16th Division’s 9th Infantry, and part of the 22d Field Artillery with 8 horse-drawn 75-mm. guns. Larger caliber pieces were provided by the 9th Independent Field Artillery Battalion (8 150-mm. guns), the 1st Field Artillery Regiment (24 150-mm. howitzers), and the 8th Field Artillery Regiment (16 105-mm. guns). Included in the Lingayen Force were between 80 and 100 light and heavy tanks distributed between the 4th and 7th Tank Regiments. A large number of service and special troops completed the force. [One of these was a heavy tank regiment, whose tanks were the equivalent of the U.S. 13-ton light tank; the other was light. The Japanese do not indicate which is the heavy and which is the light tank regiment, but it appears that the 4th contained the light tanks.]

The vessels that reached Lingayen Gulf on the night of 21 December were organized in three separate convoys. The first to leave had come from Kirun in northern Formosa and had sailed at 0900 of the 17th. It contained twenty-one transports and had been escorted by the Balan Island Attack Force, which had returned to Formosa after the landing on 8 December.

The convoy loaded at Mako in the Pescad ores, being second farthest from the Philippines, was the next to depart. At noon on 18 December, the twenty-eight transports of this group, accompanied. By the Vigan Attack Force, left port. The last convoy left Takao in Formosa at 1700 on the 18th, escorted by the naval force which had supported the Aparri landing.

With each convoy went a large number of landing craft, altogether 63 small landing craft, 73 large ones, and 15 others, which the Japanese called “extra large.” In addition, there were 48 small craft, best described as powered sampans. The smallest of the landing craft weighed 3 tons and was apparently used as a personnel carrier. The large landing craft, Daihatsu Model A (Army), was probably the one that saw most service in the Pacific war. Resembling a fishing barge in appearance, it weighed 5 tons, was 50 feet long, was capable of 6 to 10 knots, and had a draft of 3 to 4 feet and a capacity of 100 to 120 men for short hauls. The “extra large” landing craft, or Tokubetsu Daihatsu, weighed 7 to 8 tons and was capable of carrying the later model tanks. Its end could be dropped, enabling the tanks to climb in and out under their own power.

In addition to the direct support provided by the naval escorts with each convoy-altogether 2 light cruisers, 16 destroyers, and a large number of torpedo boats, minesweepers and layers, patrol craft, and miscellaneous vessels-a large naval force led by Vice Admiral Ibo Takahashi, 3rd Fleet commander, moved into position to furnish distant cover. On 19 December this force sortied from Mako and sailed to a point about 250 miles west of Luzon. There it was joined by units of Vice Admiral Nobutake Kondo’s 2d Fleet, detached from support of the Malayan invasion. Altogether, the Japanese had a force of 2 battleships, 4 heavy cruisers, 1 light cruiser, 2 seaplane carriers, and some destroyers in position to meet any Allied naval attempt to disrupt the landing of the Lingayen Force.

The Plan

The Japanese plan called for landings at three points along the shores of Lingayen Gulf, to begin at 0500 of the 22d. Each of the convoys constituted a separate task force and each was to land at a different point. The southernmost landing was to be made by the Takao convoy carrying the 47th Infantry (less one battalion), 4th Tank Regiment (less one company), and supporting elements. This force was to land at Agoo, a small village just inland from the eastern shore of Lingayen Gulf, about five miles north of Damortis. Starting at 0500, the troops, already loaded into the sixty-nine landing craft assigned to this force, were to head for the beach. The first wave was scheduled to touch down at 0540. The round trip time of the landing craft in this wave was to be two hours; thereafter it would be one hour. Altogether each of the craft would make ten round trips during the first day.

The landing craft of the Mako convoy, carrying the 1st Formosa and 7th Tank Regiment, were to move out thirty minutes after the 47th Infantry, and at 0550 would hit the shore at Caba, seven miles north of Agoo. To carry the troops of this force ashore, 57 landing craft and 19 powered sampans were assigned. The third force, consisting of the 9th Infantry and called the Kamijima Detachment, was not to start landing operations until 0700. At that time the troops would be loaded into 20 landing craft and 29 sampans and would head for Bauang, about seven miles north of Caba, the first wave reaching shore at 0730. Thus, 14th Army expected to hold a fifteen-mile stretch of beach, from Bauang on the north to Agoo on the south, along the narrow coastal plain between Lingayen Gulf and the Cordillera central range, by 0730 of D Day, 22 December.

The position chosen for the landing was an excellent one. Between the mountains and the shore was a narrow level strip along which ran Route 3, an excellent hard-surface, two-way highway. At Bauang was a road intersecting Route 3 and leading eastward through a mountain defile to Baguio, whence it turned south to join Route 3 again near Rosario. At Aringay, just above Agoo, was a river which formed a small valley through the mountains. Through this valley ran a partially surfaced road which led from Aringay to Rosario, one of the key road intersections in this area. South of the landing beaches was the central plain of Luzon. Route 3 opened directly on to the road network leading into Manila.

Once ashore the troops were to destroy any American forces in the vicinity and move inland without waiting to consolidate the beachhead. Later waves would perform that task. The Kamijima Detachment at Bauang was to send one element north to occupy San Fernando, La Union, and another east along the Bauang-Baguio Road, to seize the Naguilian airfield and then press on to Bag-uio. By seizing Baguio, the Japanese would prevent an American counterattack from the east through the defile. The occupation of San Fernando to the north would effect a consolidation with Colonel Tanaka’s force moving south from Vigan and would protect the rear of the Japanese southward advance.

The forces landing at Caba and Agoo were to press south toward Damortis and Rosario. Two roads would be used: the coastal highway to Damortis, and the partially surfaced road which paralleled the Aringay River and led to Rosario. Once at their objectives, these troops were to assemble and “prepare to advance” toward the bank of the Agno River, the first formidable obstacle to a force moving south from Lingayen Gulf to Manila.

The Landing

The voyage of the Lingayen Force to the target was uneventful. In an effort to avoid detection and to create the impression that the destination was Indochina, the transports at first followed a southwesterly course. Only a typhoon in the South China Sea hindered the approach; no American planes or ships appeared.

The combined invasion force was without air cover, such support no longer considered necessary, until the 21st when twenty planes of the 24th and 50th Fighter Regiments, based at Laoag, came out to meet the ships and escort them during the last leg of the journey. At the same time, six light bombers struck Fort Wint on Grande Island at the entrance to Subic Bay, hoping thus to make the real landing site. Between 0110 and 0430 on 22 December, the three convoys, after a slow voyage at an average speed of 8 knots, dropped anchor in Lingayen Gulf. The weather was chill, the skies were dark, and an intermittent rain was falling.

At this point things began to go wrong. The convoy leaders, warned against stopping short of their targets, went to the other extreme. The initial anchorage was to have been between San Fernando and the Aringay River, but the lead ship, unable to locate the river in the darkness, overshot the mark, and dropped anchor off Santo Thomas, about four miles south of Agoo. The other transports followed, dropping anchor at intervals over a distance of fifteen miles. As a result, the landing craft now had to make a longer trip than anticipated to reach their designated beaches.

Under cover of cruiser and destroyer gunfire, the troops began going over the side shortly after 0200. By 0430 two battalions of the 47th Infantry and one battalion of the 48th Mountain Artillery were in the landing craft, ready to strike out for shore. At 0517 the first troops touched down on the beach south of Agoo. Less than fifteen minutes later, at 0530, the 1st Formosa Infantry, the main strength of the 3d Battalion, 48th Mountain Artillery, and tanks began landing at Aringay, about two miles south of Caba. Two hours later part of the Kamijima Detachment came ashore near Bauang; the rest of the Detachment landed at Santiago, three miles to the south, at 0830.

The transfer of the troops to the landing craft had proved extremely difficult because of high seas. The light craft were heavily buffeted on the way to shore and the men and equipment soaked by the spray. The radios were made useless by salt water, and there was no communication with the first waves ashore. Even ship-to-ship communication was inadequate.

The men had a difficult time in the heavy surf, and it proved impossible to land heavy equipment. The high seas threw many of the landing craft up on the beach, overturning some and beaching others so firmly that they could not be put back into operation for a full day. The northernmost convoy finally had to seek shelter near San Fernando Point, where the sea was calmer. The second wave could not land as planned, with the result that the entire landing schedule was disrupted. The infantry, mountain artillery, and some of the armor got ashore during the day, but few of the heavy units required for support were able to land.

Luckily for the Japanese, they had been able, by skillful handling of the transports, to enter shoal waters before the American submarines could get into action. Once inside, however, the vessels were strung out for fifteen miles, presenting a perfect target for those submarines that could get into the gulf. The S-38 pushed into shallow waters and sank the Army transport Hayo Maru while it was following the gunboats (which were preparing to lay mines a few miles west of the anchorage. But on the whole the results obtained by the submarines were disappointing.

To increase the Japanese worries, four of the B-17’s that had come up from Batchelor Field to bomb the Japanese at Davao flew on to Lingayen Gulf and managed to slip through the covering screen of the 24th and 50th Fighter Regiments that morning to strafe the cruisers and destroyers and inflict some damage on the Japanese. Even Admiral Takahashi’s cover force, now about 100 miles northwest of Lingayen Gulf, came under attack. PBY’s and Army planes went for the flagship Ashigara, mistaking it for the Haruna. Although they scored no hits, the planes reported the H aruna sunk. The cover force finally slipped away into a rain squall.

Meanwhile, the rising sea had forced many of the Japanese ships to shift anchorage and they moved into the inner bay. There they ran into more trouble when they came into range of the I55-mm. guns of the 86th Field Artillery Battalion (PS). This battalion had two guns at San Fabian and two at Dagupan, and these apparently opened fire on the southernmost elements of the invasion force. Although claiming to have sunk three transports and two destroyers, the coastal guns actually did no damage except to give General Homma many nervous moments.

The Japanese landing at Lingayen did not surprise the high command in the Philippines. It was the logical place to land a large force whose destination was Manila.

On 18 December G-2, USAFFE, had received information of the movement of a hostile convoy of about eighty transports moving toward the Philippines from the north. This information had been relayed to naval headquarters which already had submarines in the area. At 0200 of the 20th, 16th Naval District headquarters reported to USAFFE that a large convoy had been sighted forty miles north of Lingayen Gulf. On the night of 20-21 December, USAFFE, acting on information received, warned the units stationed in that area that a Japanese expedition “of from 100 to 120 vessels” was moving south and could be expected off the mouth of the gulf by evening of the 21st. The first report of the arrival of the invasion force came from the submarine Stingray which had been on patrol off Lingayen for several days. Before any action could be taken, the landings had begun.

Despite the warning, the Americans seem to have been ill prepared to drive off the invaders. At this time the 120-milelong coast line of Lingayen Gulf was defended by two Philippine Army divisions, only one of which had divisional artillery.

The southern edge of the gulf where the landing was expected and where the bulk of the artillery was emplaced, was in the 21st Division sector. The eastern shore, as far north as San Fernando, was held by the 11th Division. The 71st Infantry (71st Division), with only ten weeks’ training, was attached to the 11th Division and posted in the Bauang-Naguilian area. The 26th Cavalry (PS), led by Colonel Clinton A. Pierce, had been moved from North Luzon Force reserve at Rosales to Pozorrubio on Route 3 about twelve miles south of Rosario, in the path of the Japanese advance.

Only at Bauang were Filipino troops waiting at the beach. Here the Headquarters Battalion, 12th Infantry (P A), with one .50-caliber and several .30-caliber machine guns, faced the oncoming Japanese. As the Kamijima Detachment approached the shore, the Filipinos took it under fire. The .50-caliber gun caused heavy casualties among the Japanese, but the .30’s had dropped out of the action early with clogged firing mechanisms, due to faulty ammunition. Despite the casualties, the Japanese pushed ahead and established a foothold on shore, whereupon the Filipinos withdrew.

Behind the beach at Bauang was Lieutenant Colonel Donald Van N. Bonnett’s 71st Infantry(PA). On the 21st Bonnett had been given orders to halt Colonel Tanaka’s 2d Formosa at San Fernando, La Union. One battalion, with a battery of 75-mm. guns (SPM) attached, was to move up the coastal road to meet the 2d Formosa head on. Another battalion was to advance along a secondary road to the east and attack Colonel Tanaka on his left flank. This maneuver, if well executed, might have destroyed the 2d Formosa, but the inexperienced and poorly equipped Filipinos were not capable of a swift and sudden onslaught.

Before the 71st Infantry could complete its movement the Japanese landed. Patrols from the Kamijima Detachment immediately moved north along Route 3 and at 1100 made contact with a 2d Formosa patrol. By 1400 the main bodies of both units had joined. Meanwhile, Colonel Kamijima’s 2d Battalion, 14th Army reserve, had pushed into Bauang immediately after landing and by 1700 had secured the town and surrounding area. The 3d Battalion, in accordance with the plan, moved out along the Bauang-Baguio road to the east, toward the Naguilian airfield.

With Colonel Kamijima’s 9th Infantry ashore, the position of the 71st Infantry units became untenable. One battalion moved down the coastal road and the other, with elements of the 11th Division, fell back to the east in the face of the Japanese advance. Bonnett’s orders now were to withdraw through Baguio to the south, clearing the Philippine summer capital by dark.

Farther south Colonel Hifumi Imai’s 1st Formosa and the 48th Mountain Artillery (less 1st and 2d Battalions) had landed at Aringay and by 1030 had concentrated for the advance. Colonel Imai’s mission was to move his force south toward Damortis and Rosario. Early in the forenoon the regiment moved out, down the coastal road, and by 1600 the column had joined the 48th Reconnaissance and the 4th Tank Regiments, which had come ashore at 0730, north of Damortis.

The landing at Agoo, where Colonel Isamu Yanagi’s 47th Infantry with a battalion of the 48th Mountain Artillery had come ashore, was unopposed initially. Without waiting for motor transportation, Colonel Yanagi moved inland toward the Aringay Road, thence south to Rosario. Meanwhile, Brigadier General William E. Brougher, 11th Division commander, had sent forward a battalion of infantry to meet the Japanese coming down the coast and, if possible, disrupt the landing at Agoo. By this time the 48th Reconnaissance and 4th Tank Regiments were ashore, and in the brush that followed easily routed the Philippine Army troops who beat a hasty retreat to Damortis.

Thus, by afternoon of the 22d, the Japanese had pushed ashore elements of three infantry regiments, with supporting artillery and tanks; the main force of the 14th Army was still aboard the transports. Hard fighting lay ahead before the initial objectives of the Lingayen Force would be attained and the Japanese freed from the danger of being driven back into the sea.

Consolidating the Lingayen Beachhead While his troops at Lingayen were pushing ahead, General Homma remained aboard ship in Lingayen Gulf. He had done all he could in the planning and preparation for the invasion.

Now his troops were committed and their failure or success was out of his hands. His anxieties, the lot of any commander during the amphibious stages of an operation, were increased by lack of communications with the men ashore and the confusion caused by high seas and heavy surf. He had no knowledge of the disposition of his troops, moving in many columns in all directions, and no way of controlling the action. He had pushed his infantry and approximately half his armor ashore between Bauang and Agoo, but all the artillery save one regiment was still aboard the transports in the gulf. Cut off from his troop commanders, he had no way to lessen his apprehension by assurances that all was well.

There was some basis for General Homma’s fears. The position of the Japanese troops ashore, while generally favorable, might easily become precarious. The landing had been made in a narrow corridor crossed by numerous streams, each of which afforded the defender an opportunity for delaying action. Although the plain to the south provided an excellent route to Manila, it could also be used by the Americans and Filipinos as the base for a concerted counterattack against the Japanese as they streamed out of the corridor.

A vigorous and well-timed attack by the four divisions of the North Luzon Force, spearheaded by the well trained’ and equipped Philippine Division in USAFFE reserve, might well “wipe out the invader.” If, at the same time, sufficient air and naval forces could be mustered to attack the transports and naval escort lying at anchor in the bay, the Japanese line of retreat would be cut and all Homma’s achievements and plans brought to naught.

According to the Japanese plan, the troops, once they had landed at Lingayen, were to move on without waiting for the concentration of the entire landing force.

But a difference of opinion now arose in 14th Army headquarters. The more cautious staff officers, believing it would be suicidal to proceed with the advance as planned, argued for the establishment of a strong, well-organized beachhead before moving further. Their troops, they reasoned, were at present confined to the long, narrow coastal plain, and the Americans from their positions along the commanding heights to the east might well hold up any Japanese advance long enough to allow General MacArthur to send up his reserves. The results would be disastrous.

The more aggressive wished to execute the original plan. They argued that the American commanders would not risk an offensive in front of the Agno River line. Even if the Americans decided to attack earlier, the bolder 14th Army staff officers felt that the advantages gained from continuing the advance were great enough to justify the risk. If the plan succeeded, the Japanese would gain bridgeheads across the Agno and would be in position to advance rapidly on Manila. Also, it would assure the safety of the beachhead. The views of the more aggressive won out, and General Homma agreed to continue the advance as planned.

As the first day passed and no word came from the advancing troops, General Homrna’s fears increased. With no prospect of a calm sea in which to land his artillery and heavy equipment next day, and still fearing an American counterattack, he determined to shift anchorage. At 1730 of D Day he ordered the convoy to move farther south during the night, to a point off Damortis, and continue landing operations there the next day. Fearing artillery fire at the new anchorage, he ordered General Tsuchibashi, the 48th Division commander, to take San Fabian, where there were two 155-mm. guns, thus extending the Japanese drive southward along the Lingayen coast.

Damortis and Rosario. As the Japanese invasion force made ready to land, the Americans made last minute preparations to meet the attack.

USAFFE attached twelve 75-mm. guns on self-propelled mounts to Wainwright’s North Luzon Force and ordered the 192nd Tank Battalion to his support, but did not place them under his command. Wainwright in turn sent Colonel Pierce’s 26th Cavalry (PS) from Pozorrubio to Rosario and by 0500 the Scouts were on their way. While the main body of the 26th Cavalry advanced toward Rosario, the Scout Car Platoon (less detachments) moved ahead quickly to Damortis. When it found the town unoccupied it pushed northward along the coastal road. A few miles to the north the Scout platoon ran into the forward elements of the 48th Reconnaissance and 4th Tank Regiments and fell back to Damortis.

Meanwhile the rest of the 26th Cavalry at Rosario had been ordered to Damortis and directed to hold that town. Upon its arrival the regiment established defensive positions, which would permit a delaying action in the event of a forced withdrawal. At 1300 the cavalrymen came under attack from Japanese ground units supported by planes of the 5th Air Group.

Colonel Pierce, who now had, in addition to his own cavalry, a company of the 12th Infantry and one from the 71st under his command, was hard put to hold his position and called on General Wainwright for help. At about the same time Wainwright received word that an enemy force mounted on cycles or light motor vehicles was approaching Damortis. To meet this emergency, Wainwright requested a company of tanks from Brigadier General James R. N. Weaver, the Provisional Tank Group commander. Because of a shortage of gasoline, Weaver could furnish only a platoon of five tanks from Company C, 192d Tank Battalion.

These moved out to the threatened area and near Agoo met the enemy’s light tanks. The command tank, maneuvering off the road, received a direct hit and burst into flames. The other four, all hit by 47-mm. antitank fire, succeeded in returning to Rosario but were lost by bombing later in the day. At 1600 elements of the 1st Formosa and 48th Mountain Artillery, which had landed earlier in the day at Aringay joined the attack. Colonel Pierce, finding himself completely outnumbered, withdrew to his first delaying position east of Damortis. By 1900, the Japanese were in complete control of the town.

Earlier that afternoon Wainwright had attached the 26th Cavalry to the 71st Division and had ordered Brigadier General Clyde A. Selleck to take his 71st Division (less 71st Infantry), then at U rdaneta, to Damortis, a distance of about twenty-five miles, and prevent the Japanese from moving south. The 26th Cavalry was to cover the right flank of the 71st Division and hold the junction of the Rosario-Baguio road, east of Rosario, in order to permit Major Bonnett’s force, the 71st Infantry (less 1st Battalion), then at Baguio, to clear that point and join the North Luzon Force.

At about 1630 General Selleck, accompanied by the 72d Infantry commander and Lieutenant Colonel Halstead C. Fowler of the 71st Field Artillery, arrived at Rosario, which had by now become the focal point of American resistance. There he learned that Japanese troops were not only approaching from the west along the Damortis road, but also from the northwest where Colonel Yanagi’s 47th Infantry was advancing from Agoo along the Aringay River valley. On his way to Damortis, Selleck found Colonel Pierce in his defensive position and learned of the exhausted condition of the 26th Cavalry. Since 71st Division troops had not yet come up, he ordered the cavalrymen to fall back slowly on Rosario.

The Japanese by this time had a sizable force advancing along the Damortis-Rosario road. With the 48th Reconnaissance Regiment in the lead and Colonel Imai’s 1st Formosa supported by the 48th Mountain Artillery (less 1st and 2d Battalions) forming the main body, the Japanese threatened to overwhelm Colonel Pierce’s weary cavalry. The tankers, Company C, 192d, supporting the Scouts, claimed to have orders from General Weaver, the Provisional Tank Group commander, to fall back at 2000 to Rosario, and at the appointed time began to pull out. As the last of the tanks passed through the American lines, the rear guard of the 26th Cavalry was penetrated by Japanese tanks. In the confused action which followed, the Japanese tanks, merged in the darkness with the struggling men and the terrified riderless horses, cut up the defenders and exacted a heavy toll. Only bold action by Major Thomas J. H. Trapnell in blocking a bridge over a small river a few miles west of Rosario with a burning tank halted the Japanese and prevented a complete rout.

When the retreating cavalrymen reached Rosario, they discovered that Troop F, which had been defending the trails northwest of the town, had been forced back by Colonel Yanagi’s troops. It was now fighting a pitched battle in the town’s public square. Fortunately for the Scouts, part of Colonel Yanagi’s force had just been detached and ordered back to Agoo for the drive on San Fabian. Troop F held until the rest of the regiment had passed through Rosario. Then it broke off the action and followed, leaving the Japanese in possession.

There was no pursuit; the 47th Infantry was content to wait for the 1st Formosa and the tanks, a few miles west of the town on the Damortis road.

Things had gone no better for Major Bonnett’s force at Baguio. Busily tracking down rumors of Japanese units approaching in every direction, Bonnett spent the night at Baguio instead of pushing south to Rosario. Lieutenant Colonel John P. Horan, the commander of Camp John Hay at Baguio, kept MacArthur’s headquarters informed by radio of Japanese movements in the area and of the predicament of the force under Bonnett. A few minutes before midnight of the 22d Horan radioed that the Japanese were “reported in Rosario” and that Bonnett desired “to move south at once if way is clear. “Can you contact Selleck by radio,” he asked, “and inform us?”

Although Horan received no reply, Wainwright, about midnight of the 22d, ordered Pierce to hold the junction of the Baguio and Rosario roads. Bonnett, unaware of this effort and believing that the Japanese held Rosario, remained at Baguio, and the 26th Cavalry finally had to withdraw the next morning when the position became untenable. Bonnett later moved east over the mountains into the Cagayan valley, but Horan remained at his post throughout the 23d. The next morning, with the Japanese advancing from all sides, Horan pulled out after sending a final message to MacArthur: “My right hand in a vise, my nose in an inverted funnel, constipated my bowels, open my south paw.”

Thus, by the end of D Day, the Japanese had secured most of their objectives. They had landed safely along the beaches between Bauang and Agoo, and, pushing north, south, and east, had seized the defiles through the mountains, effected a juncture with Colonel Tanaka’s force, and occupied Damortis and Rosario. The Japanese were now in position to debouch on to the central plain. Only their inability to get artillery and supplies ashore marred the day’s success.

All the honors in the first day’s fight had gone to the Japanese. Only the Scouts of the 26th Cavalry had offered any serious opposition to the successful completion of the Japanese plan. The untrained and poorly equipped Philippine Army troops had broken at the first appearance of the enemy and fled to the rear in a disorganized stream. Many of them, moving back along the coastal road, had passed through the 21st Field Artillery command post at the bend of the gulf. Colonel Richard C. Mallonee, American instructor with the regiment, thought, “Their presence presages disaster.” Although he reorganized them and sent them back to division headquarters, few of them, he felt sure, ever arrived.

Their stories were always the same. Always they were subjected to terrible, horrible mortar fire. Always the story teller continued to bravely fire his rifle, machine gun or 75, as the case might be; always their officers ran away-or if the teller is an officer, then his superior officers ran first; always the enemy planes dropped many bombs and fired many machine guns; always there suddenly appeared many hostile tanks, headed straight for him; always he was suddenly surprised and astonished to realize that he was absolutely alone, all the others having been killed, or despicable cowards-ran away. Then and only then, with the tanks a few feet away had he flung himself to one side where-and there the story has two variations, first he is captured but escapes that night; second he hides until night when he returns to our lines-but doesn’t stop there. But from there on the threads of the story re-unite; they are very tired, they seek their companions, they are very hungry, and, Sir, could they be transferred to the Motor Transport Corps and drive a truck.

The Approach to the Agno

The morning of 23 December found the 71st Division (less 71st Infantry) in position astride Route 3 south of Sison, the 72d Infantry and the 71st Engineers in the front lines, with the 71st Field Artillery in support to the rear. The 26th Cavalry, which had suffered heavily, was under orders to fall back through the 71st Division line to Pozorrubio to reorganize. The 91st Division, USAFFE reserve at Cabanatuan, had been attached to the North Luzon Force, and its 91st Combat Team had been ordered north to reinforce the 71 st Division. It was to arrive at noon and occupy a position north of Pozorrubio, along the road leading south from Rosario.

The action on the 23d opened when two battalions of the 47th Infantry, moving south from Rosario, struck General Selleck’s line near Sison. Largely because of Colonel Fowler’s artillery, the Japanese advance was held up until noon. During the early afternoon the 47th Infantry was joined by the 48th Reconnaissance and 4th Tank Regiments. Aided by planes of the 10th Independent and 16th Light Bombardment Regiments, the Japanese now began a concerted attack.

The Filipinos of the 71st Division, like those of the 11th, broke and fled to the rear, leaving the artillery uncovered. The line might have held if the 91st Combat Team, en route from Cabanatuan, had reached Sison in time. But the 91st had run into bad luck. Japanese light bombers ranging far in advance of the ground troops had knocked out a bridge across the Agno River in the path of the 91st advance. The 91st Combat Team was forced to detour and at this critical moment was far from the scene of combat.

The situation was serious. A meeting of the American commanders was hastily called and it was agreed that the 71st Division would have to withdraw to a line just north of Pozorrubio. The 91st Combat Team, it was hoped, would reach that place in time to set up a line there. The 26th Cavalry in 71th Division reserve at Pozorrubio was to retire to Binalonan where it would set up an outpost line through which the remainder of the division could fall back if necessary.

At 1900, as the Japanese entered Sison, the 26th Cavalry began to move out toward Binalonan and the 91st Combat Team reached Pozorrubio. That night the enemy attacked the 91st and drove it out of the town. With its rout, all hopes of holding a line at Pozorrubio came to an end. Even before the Japanese had entered Sison that afternoon, General Wainwright had telephoned MacArthur’s headquarters at Manila. After explaining that further defense of the Lingayen beaches was “impracticable,” he requested permission to withdraw behind the Agno River.

This request was readily granted. Believing that he could launch a counterattack if he had the Philippine Division, then in USAFFE reserve, Wainwright also asked for the division and for permission to mount an attack from the Agno. He was directed to submit his plans. “I’ll get my plans there as soon as possible,” he replied, but asked for an immediate answer on whether he would get the Philippine Division. After a slight delay, he was told that his chances of securing the division were “highly improbable.” Nevertheless he began to make his plans for a counterattack.

The action of 24 December placed the Japanese in position for the final drive toward the Agno River. At about 0500, with the 4th Tank Regiment in the lead, the Japanese made contact with the 26th Cavalry outposts north and west of Binalonan. Although the Scouts had no antitank guns, they were able to stop the first attack. The tanks then swung west to bypass the American positions, leaving the infantry to continue the fight for Binalonan. By 0700 the 26th Cavalry had blunted the assault and inflicted many casualties on the enemy.

Pursuing their advantage, the Scouts counterattacked and the Japanese had to send in more tanks to stop the 26th Cavalry. Even with the aid of tanks, the Japanese made no progress. Sometime during the morning the 2nd Formosa joined the attack, and the cavalrymen found themselves in serious trouble. Too heavily engaged to break off the action and retire, they continued to fight on.

At this juncture, General Wainwright arrived at Binalonan to see Selleck. He found neither General Selleck, who had gone to Wainwright’s command post to report, nor any 71st Division troops, but did find the 26th Cavalry, which now numbered no more than 450 men. He ordered Pierce to get his wounded men and supply train out as quickly as possible and to fight a delaying action before withdrawing southeast across the Agno to Tayug. For more than four hours the cavalrymen held their position against overwhelming odds, and at 1530 began to withdraw. By dusk the last elements had reached Tayug and the 2nd Formosa entered Binalonan. “Here,” said General Wainwright, himself a cavalryman, “was true cavalry delaying action, fit to make a man’s heart sing. Pierce that day upheld the best traditions of the cavalry service.”

Despite the heroic struggle by the 26th Cavalry, the Japanese had secured their initial objectives and had established a firm grip on northern Luzon. They were now in position to march south to Manila along the broad highways of the central plain of Luzon. Only the southern route to the capital remained to be seized. That task was the mission of the Lamon Bay Force, already moving into position.

The Lamon Bay Landings

Simultaneously with the departure of the Lingayen Force from Formosa, Lieutenant General Susumu Morioka, 16th Division commander, had left Amami Oshima in the Ryukyus on 17 December to begin his six-day voyage southward to Lamon Bay, 200 road miles southeast of Lingayen. With the landing of his force, the Japanese plan to place troops in position to attack Manila from the north and south would be complete.

Organization and Preparation

The Lamon Bay Force had a secondary role in the seizure of Luzon and was consequently much smaller than the Lingayen Force. Its combat elements consisted primarily of General Morioka’s 16th Division (less the 9th and 33d Infantry and some supporting elements) and numbered 7,000 men. In addition, it contained a number of attached service and supporting units. General Homma did not expect much from this force; in his opinion, the 16th Division, which had seen action in China, “did not have a very good reputation for its fighting qualities.”

The plan for the Lamon Bay landing had been prepared during November, while the division was still in Japan. The original objective had been Batangas Bay on the southwest coast of Luzon, where the beaches were suitable for landings and where a direct route led through favorable terrain toward Manila to the north.

But when the number of aircraft assigned to the Philippine operation was reduced, and when intelligence sources reported American reinforcements in bombers and submarines, the target had been changed to Lamon Bay on the southeast coast.

The new landing site was undesirable on two grounds. First, the line of advance to Manila from Lamon Bay lay across the Tayabas Mountains, and secondly, Lamon Bay offered poor landing sites during the winter months because of prevailing winds. Despite these objections, Lamon Bay was chosen as the target of the 16th Division.

The final plan developed by Morioka called for landings at three points along the shore of Lamon Bay-at Mauban, Atimonan, and Siain. General Morioka expected to take the Americans by surprise, but was ready, if necessary, to make an assault landing. His troops were to rout any American forces on the beaches, rapidly cross the Tayabas Mountains, and then concentrate in preparation for an expected counterattack. In order to avoid congestion on the narrow beaches and during the crossing of the mountains, the troops were to move ahead rapidly in several columns immediately after landing, without waiting for supporting troops or for the consolidation of the beachhead. The main force of General Morioka’s division was to advance west along Route 1, then sweep around Laguna de Bay to drive on to Cavite and Manila from the south.

The force scheduled to land at Mauban was the 2d Battalion, 20th Infantry, and a battery of the 22d Field Artillery under Lieutenant Colonel Nariyoshi Tsunehiro. After landing, it was to strike out to the west to Lucban, where it would be in position to move southeast to support the Atimonan force. If such support proved unnecessary, Tsunehiro was to turn northwest to Laguna de Bay, skirt the southern shore, then strike north along Route 1 to Manila.

The main force of the 16th Division, under direct command of General Morioka, was to make the assault on Atimonan. Included in this force were the 20th Infantry (less than 2nd and most of the 1st Battalion); the 16th Reconnaissance Regiment, with one company of light armored cars; the 16th Engineers; and the 22d Field Artillery (less 2d Battalion and one battery of the 1st). Once ashore, these troops were to move west across the mountains along Route 1, then north along the shore of Laguna de Bay and on to Manila. American troops and positions encountered along the way were, so far as possible, to be bypassed and mopped up later. The main advance was not to be held up.

Simultaneously with the landing at Atimonan, the 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry (less one company), with artillery support, was to land near Siain to the south, and cover the left flank of the main force. Having fulfilled this mission, the Siain force was to pass into division reserve.

The 24 transports carrying the invasion force left the staging area at Amami Oshima in the Ryukyus at 1500 on 17 December, six hours after the first Lingayen convoy pulled out of Kirun Harbor in northern Formosa. The transports were escorted initially by 4 destroyers and 4 minesweepers, but they had not gone far before they were joined by Rear Admiral Kyuji Kubo’s force of 1 light cruiser, 2 destroyers, 2 minesweepers, and 1 minelayer from Legaspi.

The voyage from Amami Oshima was smooth and uneventful until the 23d, when the American submarine Sculpin forced the convoy to adopt evasive tactics. No damage was caused. At 0130 of the following morning, after the Lingayen Force had already been ashore for two days, the transports dropped anchor in Lamon Bay. An hour later the troops were ready to move to shore.

The Landing

From the American point of view, the Japanese could not have landed at a more inopportune moment. Major General George M. Parker’s South Luzon Force was badly dispersed. The 41st Division (PA) on the west coast was in position, but elements of the 51st Division along the east coast were in the process of movement. The South Luzon Force had been reinforced during the past few days by the recently inducted 1st Regular Division (PA), but only the 1st Infantry of this division had actually moved into the area. Its orders were to relieve the 3d Battalion, 52d Infantry, north of Mauban. By evening of the 23d the relief had been accomplished, and one battalion of the 1st Infantry was in position at Mauban, another at Infanta; the remaining battalion was in reserve at a road junction northeast of Lucban. This move had just been completed when MacArthur’s headquarters transferred the 1st Infantry to North Luzon Force. General Parker-and General Jones-protested the order vigorously, and it was finally rescinded, but the movement of the 3d Battalion, 52d Infantry, was in progress when the enemy landed.

That same evening the 51st Division troops, who had moved south to delay the movement northward of the Kimura Detachment from Legaspi, were pulled back and were in the process of moving when the Japanese landed. The results for them were more tragic; many of them were cut off and never returned to the American lines. Not only were the forces along the east coast dispersed at the moment of the landing, but those units in position were handicapped by the absence of artillery.

The South Luzon Force included two batteries of the 86th Field Artillery with 6 155-mm. guns, and a battalion of 16 75-mm. guns on self-propelled mounts. But none of these pieces were emplaced in the Lamon Bay area. They were all on the west coast-at Batangas, Balayan, and Nasugbu Bays. General Jones had requested that at least 2 of the 155-mm. guns be moved to Atimonan, and Parker, concerned over this lack of artillery along the east coast, had twice asked MacArthur’s headquarters for additional artillery. Both times he had been turned down, despite the fact that he used “the strongest arguments possible.”

The failure to move some of the guns from the west coast to Lamon Bay, especially after the Japanese landing at Legaspi, can be explained only by the fact that MacArthur’s headquarters feared to uncover the west coast beaches which offered a direct route to Manila across favorable terrain. By accepting the difficulties of a Lamon Bay landing, the Japanese unconsciously gained a great advantage.

Thus, during the night of 23-24 December, as the Japanese were loading into the landing craft, the Lamon Bay area was without artillery support and was the scene of confusion, with several units in the process of movement from one place to another. Fortunately, the 1st Battalion, 1st Infantry, was in position at Mauban, and Headquarters and Company A of the 1st Battalion, 52d Infantry were at Atimonan.

News of the approach of the Japanese reached the defenders at 2200 on the night of the 23d, when the transports off Atimonan were sighted. Four hours later troops were reported debarking there and at Siain. First word of a landing at Mauban was received by General Jones of the 51st Division at 0400. All these reports greatly overestimated the strength of the Japanese force. The Atimonan force was thought to be a reinforced division, and the troops coming ashore at Mauban were estimated as a reinforced brigade.

Under cover of aircraft from the seaplane carrier Mizuho, Colonel Tsunehiro’s 2d Battalion, 20th Infantry, came ashore at Mauban, northernmost of the three landing sites, in the first light of dawn. Immediately it ran into an effective crossfire from the 2d Battalion, 1st Infantry, dug in along the beach. At about this time, American planes struck the Japanese, inflicting heavy casualties on the troops and causing considerable damage to the ships. By 0800, after much heavy fighting, the Philippine Army regulars had been pushed back into Mauban. Thirty minutes later Colonel Tsunehiro’s troops were in control of the village. The 2d Battalion, 1st Infantry, fell back five miles to the west, where it set up a defensive position. At 1430 the Japanese reached this position and there the advance came to a halt before the stubborn defense of the Filipinos.

The 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, landed at Siain without difficulty. At 0700 one company moved out to the southwest along the Manila Railroad toward Tayabas Bay while the rest of the battalion pushed southeast on Route 1 to effect a juncture with General Kimura’s troops moving northwest.

Both columns made satisfactory progress during the day. By evening the company moving toward Tayabas Bay was within five miles of Padre Burgos. The rest of the force ran into sporadic opposition from Colonel Cordero’s 52d Infantry troops in the Bicol Peninsula, and it was not until three days later that the 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, joined with the Kimura Detachment.

General Morioka’s main force came ashore on the morning of 24 December about two and one half miles southeast of its target. The first troops landed were held up by Company A, 52d Infantry. The next wave containing the 16th Reconnaissance Regiment, landed beside the infantry but avoided action by moving off to the side, in accordance with instructions not to delay the main advance. The regiment then struck off into the mountains, bypassing Atimonan. The town itself was secured by 1100, although the Philippine Army troops fought stubbornly.

The 16th Reconnaissance Regiment pushed along Route 1 toward Maliebuy, where the 2d Battalion, 52d Infantry, was frantically setting up defensive positions. Planes of the 8th Air Regiment (light bombers) provided cover for the advancing Japanese and attacked Maliebuy several times during the morning, destroying a number of vehicles and impeding the efforts of the troops to establish an adequate defense.

When the 16th Reconnaissance reached the town, the 2d Battalion, 52d Infantry, already weakened by air attacks, fell back after a short fight. The Japanese entered Maliebuy without further interference. The American forces set up their next defensive position along a river near Binahaan, about four miles to the west. Here they were joined by the 53d Infantry (less two battalions) and the 3d Battalion (less one company) of the 52d Infantry. Late in the afternoon, when the Japanese at Atimonan had completed mopping-up operations in the town, they joined the main body at Maliebuy. The entire force then struck the delaying position at Binahaan. Under cover of darkness the defenders withdrew along Route 1 toward Pagbilao, the next objective of the 16th Division.

By the evening of 24 December the Japanese had successfully completed the first and most difficult part of their plan for the conquest of the Philippines. In the south, at a cost of 84 dead and 184 wounded, General Morioka had landed his reduced division of 7,000 men. American resistance had held up the advance of some units, but the main force of the 16th Division had swept ahead, with the armored cars of the 16th Reconnaissance in the van. Unloading had progressed satisfactorily, and many of the service and supporting units had already landed. The roads leading westward through the Tayabas Mountains had been secured, and the troops of the Lamon Bay Force were in position to reach Tayabas Bay the following morning. General Homrna had not expected much from this force. Its success came, therefore, as “quite a surprise” to 14th Army headquarters at Lingayen Gulf, and, as the Japanese later confessed, “The result realized was more than expected.”

North of Manila the Lingayen Force stood ready to drive on to the Agno River. After several days of difficulties, the beachhead had been organized and heavy supplies and equipment brought ashore. San Fabian to the south had been occupied and the American artillery there driven out. The north and east flanks of the coastal corridor had been secured, and Japanese troops were pouring out on to the central plain to add their weight to the advance on Manila, 100 miles away. That day, 24 December, General Homma brought his staff ashore at Bauang, where he established 14th Army headquarters. The Japanese were evidently in the Philippines to stay.

SOURCE: The Fall Of The Philippines by Louis Morton (United States Army Center of Military History)

World War Two: Fall of Philippines (2-9); Strategy and Logistics

World War Two: Fall of Philippines (2-7); Impact of War, December 1941

World News Headlines: 12-26-2018


Tunisia: Violent protests after journalist sets himself on fire; Journalist Abderrazak Zorgui set himself on fire and called for a revolution over poor living conditions and corruption. His death has triggered protests in a provincial city that threaten to spread. Clashes between protesters and police erupted for the second day in Tunisia on Tuesday after a journalist set himself on fire to protest poor living conditions in the North African state. Journalist Abderrazak Zorgui posted a video online before his self-immolation in the provincial city of Kasserine, in which he lamented unemployment, poverty and corruption. “For the sons of Kasserine who have no means of subsistence, today I start a revolution. I am going to set myself on fire,” Zorgui said in the video. He died Monday after being taken to the hospital.

Syrian air defense respond to suspected Israeli attack; Suspected Israeli warplanes have attacked Iranian and Hezbollah targets near Damascus. It comes days after Netanyahu said Israel may expand military action against Iran.Syrian air defenses “intercepted hostile targets” west of Damascus on Tuesday night, Syrian state media SANA reported. There were reports of loud explosions through the Syrian capital and videos shared on social media showed Syrian surface-to-air missiles being fired into the sky. SANA said “most” of the incoming fire was shot down and three Syrian soldiers were injured. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said Israeli air raids targeted Iranian and Hezbollah arms warehouses. “Missiles fired from Israeli planes targeted … arms depots southwest and south of Damascus that belong to Hezbollah or Iranian forces,” the head of the Syrian Observatory Abdel Rahman said.

40 migrants rescued from boats in English Channel; Forty migrants have been rescued from five boats in the English Channel. The Christmas Day rescues come amid a spike in migrant boats trying to cross the dangerous waters. British and French maritime authorities intercepted 40 migrants trying to cross the English Channel on Tuesday.The British Home Office, which oversees immigration, said the migrants were from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan

German police find ‘Islamic State’ flag after suspected attack on Berlin railway track; The flag and a text in Arabic were found close to the site where an overhead contact wire was found damaged. It is unclear if the propaganda objects were related to the damage caused to the overhead power cable.German police said on Tuesday they had recovered a flag of the “Islamic State” (IS) group and a text in Arabic close to a railway track in Berlin where an overhead power cable was found to be damaged on Sunday. Investigators are trying to ascertain if the propaganda objects were linked to the damage caused to the overhead contact wire. They are also examining if the perpetrators had any political motives. “Since the beginning of the investigation, several pieces of evidence have been secured,” police said, adding that investigators found a torn steel cable and the damaged overhead contact wire at the train track on Sunday.


Japan officially announces departure from IWC; Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga has announced Japan is withdrawing from the International Whaling Commission, or IWC. Suga said in a news conference on Wednesday that Japan plans to resume commercial whaling from July. He said Japan has sought ways to promote sustainable whaling for more than 30 years, but has been unable to find common ground with anti-whaling countries. He said the outcome of the IWC’s September general meeting made clear it was impossible for pro and anti-whaling countries to coexist in the forum. Suga said Japan will hunt for whales only in its territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. He said the country would not hunt in the Antarctic Ocean and other parts of the Southern Hemisphere. He also said Japan will use the IWC’s method for calculating quotas to determine the number of whales it catches. Japan suspended commercial whaling in 1988, in line with a 1982 IWC moratorium. The country currently says it catches whales for research purposes only.

Kelly being treated in hospital; A close aide to former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn is in a hospital being treated for a neck problem. Greg Kelly was released from detention on Tuesday. He and Ghosn were arrested more than a month ago over alleged financial misconduct. Ghosn is still being detained. Kelly posted bail for about 635,000 dollars. His release was on the conditions that he cannot leave Japan and that his contact with those involved in the case be restricted. Kelly’s release comes after the Tokyo District Court rejected a request by prosecutors last week to continue holding him and Ghosn. Kelly’s lawyer says his client may remain in hospital for about a week with the court’s permission, which he must get before spending a night away from his house.

Nissan bans employees from contacting Ghosn, Kelly; Nissan Motor has instructed all its employees not to contact former Chairman Carlos Ghosn, his aide Greg Kelly or their lawyers. Nissan sent an e-mail addressed to all employees. The notice was dated December 24. It says that Ghosn was rearrested for a “severe breach of the law,” and that Kelly, a former representative director, has been indicted of a crime. It says that it is a notice to all Nissan employees instructing them not to speak or engage with Ghosn, Kelly, their attorneys or other related persons. It says employees should not meet them, either face to face or by other means such as videoconference systems. The instruction says if employees are contacted by those mentioned by phone, they should say communication is not permitted. Employees are also told not to respond to e-mails or letters from the named parties.

Nikkei recovers after plunge; Tokyo stocks bounced back a day after a strong sell-off saw the Nikkei Average fall 5 percent. But gains were capped as some traders maintain a pessimistic outlook on global markets. The Nikkei ended Wednesday’s morning session at 19,241. The benchmark rose 86 points, or 0.45 percent, from the previous day’s close. It was briefly up 300 points, or 1.5 percent. On Tuesday, the index plummeted more than 1,000 points. It finished below the key 20,000-mark for the first time since September 2017. Political turmoil in the US was one reason for the global plunge.And analysts say sentiment will remain cautious when markets over there re-open on Wednesday following the Christmas holiday.

Abe Cabinet faces new challenge in its 7th year; Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is facing a challenge of keeping the country’s economy on track to allow the implementation of a planned consumption tax hike, in his seventh year in office. Wednesday marks six years after Abe formed a coalition Cabinet, following a landslide victory in the general election in 2012. Abe told reporters on Tuesday that he will continue to do his utmost for the state and the public in his seventh year. The government plans to raise the consumption tax from 8 to 10 percent in October. The government hopes to enact its largest-ever budget as early as possible in January’s ordinary Diet session, to maintain what Abe calls a virtuous cycle of the economy. The government stresses the fundamentals of the country’s economy are solid. But Japan’s stock prices plummeted on Tuesday, amid the growing uncertainties about the global economic outlook.