World War Two: Fall of Philippines; Bataan (4-23); Preparing for the last battle 1942

During the lull which settled over the battlefield on Bataan after the middle of February, both sides completed their preparations for the coming offensive. Throughout March General Homma trained and organized the fresh troops which poured into the Philippines from all parts of the rapidly expanding empire, and made careful and elaborate plans for a fresh assault against the stubborn American-Filipino line. The defenders, dug in along the line occupied late in January, used the interlude in battle to train and to improve their positions. What they needed most to strengthen their capacity to resist was food and medicine, but none was forthcoming. At the end of March, when the combat efficiency of the defenders was lowest, the Japanese moved into position for what Homma fully intended would be the final attack.

The American Line

With the exception of a few scattered detachments hiding out in the mountains of Luzon, all of the troops of General King’s Luzon Force were crowded into the southern tip of Bataan. In this area, less than 200 square miles, were I and II Corps, force reserve, the Service Command, two coast artillery (antiaircraft) regiments, the Provisional Tank Group, two battalions of 75-mm. guns (SPM), plus engineer and signal troops. So crowded was Bataan that enemy aircraft “could drop their pay loads at almost any point or place and hit something of military value.

The total strength of the units in the Luzon Force was 79,500. Fully three quarters of that total were Philippine Army troops; the rest were Philippine Scouts (8,000) and Americans (12,500). In addition, Luzon Force employed approximately 6,000 civilians and fed another 20,000 Filipino refugees. A detailed breakdown of the strength of the combat elements is revealing. Not one of the eight Philippine Army divisions had its authorized strength of 7,500. General Bluemel’s 31st Division was numerically the strongest, with 6,400 men; the 71st, whose combat elements had been absorbed by General Stevens’ 91st Division, had only 2,500. The others-the 1st, 2nd, 11th, 21st, 41st, and 51 st-had less than 6,000 men each.

The organization and deployment of the forces on Bataan at the end of March did not differ much from what they had been during the preceding two months. The front line still stretched across the peninsula, behind the Pilar-Bagac road, from Orion on the east to Bagac on the west, a distance of thirteen miles. The right half of the line was held by Parker’s II Corps; the left, now commanded by General Jones, by I Corps. The corps boundary roughly bisected the southern portion of the peninsula, extending southward along the Pantingan River across the heights of the Mariveles and thence to Mariveles Bay via the Pan ikian River.

Parker’s corps on the Manila Bay side of the peninsula consisted in mid-March of approximately 28,000 men. The eastern anchor of the line was still held by Colonel John W. Irwin’s 31st Infantry (PA), which was stretched along the coast from Limay northward to Orion. To its left was the provisional regiment composed of Air Corps troops and led by Colonel Irvin E. Doane. The 31st Division (less most of two regiments) extended the line about a mile westward where the remnants of the 51st Division, organized as a combat team, tied in with it. The left anchor of II Corps was formed by the 21st and 41st Divisions (PA) deployed in front of Mt. Samat. Guarding the beaches from Limay southward to the corps boundary were the 2nd Division (less the 1st and 2nd Philippine Constabulary Regiments), a company of tanks, and a battery of SPM’s. In corps reserve Parker had the 33rd Infantry (P A), less its 1st Battalion, and two engineer battalions.

In the I Corps sector, from east to west, were the 2nd Philippine Constabulary Regiment, the 11th, 1st, and 91st Divisions (PA), the last with the 71st and 72nd Infantry attached. The 2nd Constabulary held the important position on the right flank, tying in with II Corps in the Pantingan River valley, a potentially dangerous corridor leading deep to the rear of the OrionBagac line. On the I Corps left, the 91st Division was responsible not only for that portion of the line which included the West Road but for the coast as far south as the Binuangan River. Defense of the beaches below this river was assigned to the 1st Constabulary, a battalion of the 88th Field Artillery (PS ) , and miscellaneous Air Corps units. Jones’s reserve consisted of the 45th Infantry (PS) and the horseless 26th Cavalry. Total strength of the corps was 32,600 men.

Elements of the Philippine Division, which never saw action as a unit during the campaign, were retained by General King in Luzon Force reserve. Numbering over 5,000 men, this reserve force was composed of the American 31st Infantry, the 57th Infantry (PS), and the Provisional Tank Group. During the first days of April two engineer battalions were taken off construction work on the trails and road and brought into reserve as combat troops. One of these was the 14th Engineer Battalion (PS) of the Philippine Division; the other, the American 803rd Engineer Battalion. The inadequacy of communications and the large number of separate units on the line made it necessary to continue the sector organization established late in January. In II Corps these sectors were designated as before, alphabetically from A to E. Sectors A and B consisted of the two right elements of the line. In each the unit commander was also the sector commander. General Bluemel commanded Sector C, which included his 31st Division elements as well as the 51st Combat Team. Sector D coincided with the front held by the 21st and 41st Divisions and was commanded by General Lough who used his Philippine Division staff as the sector staff. The beach defenses were organized as Sector E under General Francisco, commander of the 2nd Division. The sector organization in I Corps differed from that of the corps to the right.

Here only three sectors were established. On the east of the line, from the corps boundary midway to the coast, was the Right Sector, commanded by General Brougher. Next to it was the Left Sector which included the 1st and 91st Divisions. General Stevens had assumed command of this sector when Jones took over command of the corps. Corresponding to Sector E in II Corps was the South Sector under General Pierce, responsible for defense of the beaches. Thus, Jones dealt with only three subordinate commanders for his entire force, and Parker with five.

The large number of artillery pieces concentrated in the small area held by Luzon Force represented the main support of the infantry. In I Corps there were 50 pieces, most of which were of 75-mm. caliber. There were no 105’s, and of the 16 155-mm. pieces only 2 were howitzers. The artillery on Parker’s side, where the danger was considered greatest, numbered twice as many pieces. Seventy-two of these were 7S-mm. guns, 12 were 2.95-inch mountain guns, and the remainder were GPF’s of 155-mm. caliber. In addition, 31 naval guns, ranging in size from one-pounders to 3-inchers, had been allotted the two corps for use in beach defense. Army artillery consisted of 27 75mm. guns (SPM); two antiaircraft regiments, the 200th and 515th, in position to cover the airfields and rear installations, with one battery of 3-inch guns and two batteries of 37 -mm. guns in support of the forward area; and one seacoast gun. Despite this imposing array of artillery, the effectiveness of its support was limited by the terrain, the absence of air observation, and the lack of 105-mm. howitzers, fire control, and communications equipment, as well as motor transportation.

Dominating the battlefield and offering excellent observation over a large portion of the front was Mt. Samat, on the left of II Corps. From the coastal plain on the east the ground rises gently at first, then more precipitately, to a height of almost 2,000 feet at the peak of Samat. The mountain and the surrounding country is covered with heavy, hardwood timber. Huge trees, six feet in diameter, rise to a height of 80 to 100 feet. Beneath, the foliage is dense, much of it covered with large thorns to impede the soldier and tear his clothing to shreds. Numerous streams and rivers drain the northern slopes of the Mariveles Mountains, cutting across the Orion-Bagac line and forming river valleys which provided pathways to the south. Heavy forests line the steep banks of the rivers and the undergrowth makes movement difficult even along the narrow trails. Only on the east coast, with its swamps and cane fields, is the ground flat and clear enough to offer fields of fire.

Movement throughout this forbidding area was limited to pack trails and the coastal road. In front and paralleling the line was the Pilar-Bagac road, to which the engineers had constructed a cutoff from KP 136 in front of the 51st Combat Team to Orion on the coast. From the Pilar-Bagac road a number of trails led south. In the II Corps sector, the main north-south trails were 2 and 4 on the east slopes of Mt. Samat and 6 and 29 on the west. Connecting 4 and 29 was Trail 429. In I Corps Trails 15 and 7 offered the enemy a choice of routes into the American position. Lateral communication behind the lines was provided by a series of east-west trails which the engineers had connected during January and February. In general, this road linked Trails 7 and 9 on the west with Trail 8 on the east and intersected the north-south trail system. But all movement, though free from observation, would be closely restricted by the nature of the roads.

Radiating in all directions from the Mariveles Mountains are a large number of rivers and streams which trace their way, like the veins on the back of a man’s hand, across the southern portion of Bataan. The Pantingan, which formed the corps boundary, flows north from the Mariveles Mountains to meet the Tiawir River near the Pilar-Bagac road. The Tiawir flows east, changes its name to Talisay, then continues on to Manila Bay. Parallel to the Pantingan and only a short distance to the east is the Catmon which also flows north from the Mariveles Mountains to join the TiawirTalisay River. Flowing northeast and east from Mt. Bataan and Mt. Limay to Manila Bay are numerous rivers, the largest of which are the San Vicente, Mamala, Alangan, and Lamao. These rivers derived their military importance from the fact that they lay across the axis of an enemy advance from the north. Only the southernmost of these rivers, however, the Lamao, which flows between steep, heavily wooded banks, presented a serious obstacle. The others, reduced to a trickle during the dry season, could only delay an enemy momentarily.

Since the middle of February, when the pocket fights had ended, there had been little action on Bataan. During this lull every effort had been made to improve the battle line and to train the Philippine Army soldier. Schools were established and a training program organized which utilized fully the knowledge of the enemy acquired through bitter experience during the preceding months. Success in jungle warfare, it was now clear, depended upon the ability of the individual soldier to a larger degree than in any other type of warfare. One of the first lessons learned was that no soldier should carry more than the absolute minimum required in combat, an old lesson that had to be learned time and again. All the soldier needed was his primary weapon, ammunition, hand grenades, entrenching tools, which few had, and first-aid packet. Everything else should be left behind, for it would only impede his progress through the dense undergrowth and limit his efficiency when he finally met the enemy.

To prepare the soldier for combat, commanders were enjoined to impress upon him the necessity for keeping under cover at all times. This elementary precaution was especially necessary for the Philippine Army troops whose knowledge of military matters was often limited to close order drill and the elements of military courtesy. “We are gradually getting the Philippine Army personnel to lay flat on the ground instead of cowering under trees … ,” remarked one officer, “and we are suffering fewer casualties.” Americans and Filipinos alike were cautioned to be on the alert for the many tricks used by the Japanese soldier. One favorite Japanese ruse, the men were told, was to demoralize the enemy by creating the impression that he was being fired on by his own artillery.

This effect the Japanese easily produced by timing their own artillery and mortar fire to that of the Americans. In particular, the men were warned against stopping to examine dead Japanese or abandoned equipment. Even at this early stage of the war the Japanese ruse of shamming death until the enemy was near enough for attack had already been observed. “The only safe solution,” it was concluded, “is to consider each Japanese as potentially dangerous unless he has surrendered or is dead.”

The validity of the tactical doctrines summarized in the manuals and taught in the schools of the Army was proved sound on the battlefield of Bataan. Unit commanders were reminded to pay close heed to first principles. Thorough and careful reconnaissance, experience had shown, should precede the selection and establishment of a position. Stress was placed on the necessity for a clear understanding of responsibility for maintaining contact between adjacent units. At all times units would have to patrol vigorously to the front and flanks, in recognition of the Japanese skill in finding gaps in the line and unprotected flanks. In an effort to train the Filipino a school for scouting and patrolling was established. Instruction was provided by selected officers and men from the Philippine Division who went forward to the front-line units to conduct the school. “Constant and aggressive patrolling between strong points and centers of resistance” was recommended as the most effective method of combating infiltration.

Strong points were to be made mutually supporting, with an all-around defense, and organized in checkerboard manner for a defense in depth. If a small enemy force should succeed in infiltrating to the rear, a USAFFE training memorandum advised, front-line units should remain in place and not be stampeded. The reserve would be used to drive out the Japanese while front-line units provided supporting fire.

In attacking through the jungle the troops were taught to advance slowly. Japanese foxholes and machine gun nests, it was pointed out, would have to be reduced one by one, usually by individuals armed with hand grenades. These men would have to be supported by continuous fire from the squad or platoon. The necessity for halting the advance one to two hours before darkness was stressed in all training. At that time defensive perimeters would be established to prepare for the customary Japanese night attack. The period before nightfall, it was noted, was the best time to serve the one cooked meal of the day. During the advance the infantry was advised it could not expect close support from the artillery. To provide this support an elaborate wire communications system extending to each assault company would be required, an obvious impossibility on Bataan where wire was in short supply.

Battalion commanders were told that artillery units would be placed in direct support and that they could call for fire as needed. Unlike the artillery, mortars could be used with effect in close combat in the jungle when ammunition was available. One of the most valuable lessons learned during the early days of the fighting was that the light tanks of the Provisional Tank Group could be extremely useful in jungle warfare. Many infantry commanders had expressed dissatisfaction with the support received from the tanks, while the tankers felt that their arm was not understood by the others. Part of the difficulty undoubtedly stemmed from the fact that the tanks were under the control of the group commander who was himself subordinate only to MacArthur’s headquarters. Contributing to the misunderstanding was the relative newness of armor and the lack of appreciation by infantry commanders of the potentialities and proper use of tanks.

USAFFE headquarters attempted to remedy this shortcoming. Tanks and infantry, it taught, should operate as a team, with the foot soldier following close behind the tank. This advice was based upon the observation that the Japanese usually remained in concealed positions until the tanks had passed and then opened up on the infantry at a moment when it was deprived of armored support. Experience had shown that, except under unusual circumstances, armor was most effective in attacks against limited objectives where it could be supported by infantry fire. Although a co-ordinated infantry-tank attack would of necessity be slow, the advantage gained by the tank’s ability to destroy the enemy’s prepared positions, it was believed, would more than compensate for the loss of speed. Under no circumstances, warned USAFFE in a training memorandum, were the tanks to be employed as pillboxes or left forward without infantry protection.

The Americans learned valuable lessons from the Japanese landings behind I Corps late in January. The best defense against these landings, it had been observed, was the occupation of all bays and beaches with “vigilant and aggressive” troops armed with machine guns. Since there were not enough men to cover all possible landing sites, only the most likely could be covered in this manner. Mobile reserves could be used in the event of a landing at an unguarded beach. As the enemy approached close to shore he would be extremely vulnerable to automatic weapons fire. “Get the Japanese before he lands,” advised USAFFE. “Ten minutes of accurate fire placed on the Japanese just prior to and during the period of attempted landing may save three or four days necessary to hunt him in the brush and woods.

While these lessons were of undoubted importance in the training of the troops during the lull in battle, of more immediate importance was the improvement of fortifications and the strengthening of the Orion-Bagac line. Staff officers from Corregidor as well as from headquarters on Bataan made frequent inspections of the front lines and pointed out deficiencies in the defenses.

Among the faults noted were the failure to dear fields of fire, the improper placement and camouflage of foxholes, and the location of wire entanglements without regard for tactical dispositions. These faults were summarized by USAFFE late in February and instructions issued for strengthening the line. “Organization of positions must be continued beyond the foxhole stage,” it directed; “reserve and support positions prepared; trenches dug; drainage arranged for; camouflage improved; clearing of fields of fire extended to the front to include all foliage and cover afforded the enemy within small arms range.” Commanders and their staffs were enjoined to supervise and check the positions established, suggest improvements, and correct errors. Particular attention was to be given to sanitation which, USAFFE noted, had been neglected by front-line units. “The health of the command,” it warned, “may be seriously endangered by neglect of these measures.”

The improvement of the defenses along the main line of resistance and the beaches circling the southern tip of Bataan continued throughout March. Trained technicians of the 14th Engineer Battalion (PS) visited all units on the line and gave instruction and assistance in fortifications. Though limited by shortages of equipment and defense materials, the men along the front strung barbed wire and constructed tank traps and obstacles. In I Corps the engineers planted three large mine fields along the most probable routes of hostile advance and laid about 1,400 improvised box mines and thirty-five submarine depth charges, secured from Corregidor. In the 11th Division (PA) sector, by the end of March, the entire front was covered by a wall or palisade of bamboo poles twelve feet high. Though it had little value as protection against enemy attack, this wall did provide concealment and bolster morale.

While much work remained, the main line of resistance and the beach defenses had been considerably improved by the end of the month. In the opinion of General Casey, defensive positions on Bataan were well conceived and constructed, deriving their strength from cleared fields of fire and “suitably emplaced” automatic weapons with “both grazing and enfilade fire.”

Anticipating the possibility that all combat troops would be needed to halt a breakthrough, General King ordered all II Corps service units to be ready to take over defense of the beaches to release the 2nd Division for counterattack. Service unit commanders were required to reconnoiter the trails leading to their assigned sectors to determine the quickest route to the beach and a trial run was made on 28 March under cover of darkness. In I Corps General Jones ordered the establishment of four switch positions in the Pantingan River valley, on his right flank, on the assumption that the main effort, as before, would be made between the two corps.

Luzon Force made its own preparations. These included the pooling of buses and trucks, gassed and ready for immediate movement, in the reserve area. In this way the 31st Infantry (US) and the 57th Infantry (PS), in force reserve, could be moved quickly to any threatened portion of the line. Fearful also of the “pitifully thin” beach defenses, Luzon Force organized a battery of 75-mm. guns (SPM) and a company of tanks into a mobile reserve and ordered them “to reconnoiter roads and avenues of approach.” By the end of March the half-starved and poorly equipped Americans and Filipinos had done all they could to prepare for attack. The signs that such an attack would soon come were clear; “the handwriting was vivid on the wall.”

Japanese Preparations

During. March General Homma completed his own plans and preparations. He had every reason to believe that this time his efforts would be crowned with success. Since 8 February, when he had abandoned his fruitless efforts to reduce Bataan, Homma had received large reinforcements. Like the Americans he had utilized the lull in battle to reorganize his force and to train and rest his weakened troops. They were now ready, he thought, for the final effort to bring the campaign to a quick close. At the end of February the Japanese had been in desperate straits. At that time their infantry strength on Bataan had been reduced to approximately 3,000 effectives. Both the 65th Brigade and the 16th Division had been so sadly depleted that the 14th Army chief of staff described them as “a very weak force.” These heavy losses had been due only in part to battle casualties; disease and shortages of food and medicine had also taken their toll.

Even by Japanese standards the lot of the soldier on Bataan was not an enviable one. Certainly he was not well fed. During January 14th Army’s supply of rice had run low and efforts to procure more from Tokyo and from local sources in the Philippines had proved unavailing. As a result the ration had been drastically reduced in mid-February. Instead of the 62 ounces normally issued the troops of Japan, the men on Bataan received only about 23 ounces, plus small amounts of vegetables, meat, and fish which were distributed from time to time. To this they added whatever they could buy, steal, or force from an unwilling civilian populace.

Severe shortages of medical supplies and equipment had further limited the effectiveness of Japanese operations on Bataan. The 14th Army had begun the campaign with but one month’s supply of quinine and in January its use as a prophylaxis for all but front-line troops had been discontinued. After 10 March even troops in combat were denied the drug which was thereafter reserved for those hospitalized with malaria. Those sick with diphtheria received no medication and the treatment of actual or potential tetanus, gangrene, and dysentery cases was limited by the very small amount of the drugs on hand. Between 1 January and 31 March approximately 13,000 Japanese soldiers were hospitalized as nonbattle casualties alone. Since the military hospitals could accommodate only 5,000 patients in the period when battle casualties were greatest, it was impossible to provide adequate medical treatment for the sick and wounded.

[USA vs. Homma, pp. 2536, 2876-79, 2848, 3122, testimony of Homma and of Colonel Shusuke Horiguchi, 14th Army surgeon. The normal Japanese field ration consisted of rice, fish, vegetables, soup, and pickled plums or radishes. Other items, such as meat, sweets, and fruits, were issued on special occasions. Handbook of Japanese Military Forces, TM-E 30-480, 15 Sept 44, pp. 177-79.]

The condition of his men, therefore, as well as the unexpectedly strong resistance from the American and Filipino troops, had forced Homma to discontinue offensive operations in February. Imperial General Headquarters in Tokyo, which had earlier taken from Homma the 48th Division and most of his air force, now became concerned over the failure to bring the campaign to an end. Elsewhere Japanese armies had met with spectacular success and General H eadquarters felt that it could now spare the forces necessary to complete the conquest of the Philippines.

This decision was in no sense an indication that the Army high command was satisfied with the performance of 14th Army. It was not and soon made its displeasure evident by shifts in Homma’s staff. Inspecting officers from Tokyo visiting Manila had found many 14th Army officers comfortably settled in the capital while the battle for Bataan was at its height. “If the tactical situation went well,” General Homma later commented wryly, “that would have been all right for everybody.” Unfortunately for these officers the battle did not go well and on 23 February General Headquarters relieved General Maeda, Homma’s chief of staff, as well as the operations and training officer and the supply officer of 14th Army headquarters. Maeda’s place was taken by Major General Takaji Wachi who arrived in the Philippines about 1 March.

During the latter part of February and throughout the month of March Japanese reinforcements poured into the Philippines. With the individual replacements received during this period both the badly hit 65th Brigade and 16th Division were strengthened and revitalized. In February General Nara received about sixty officer replacements and, the following month, 3,500 men to take the place of the troops he had lost during the January attack against II Corps. The 16th Division received a similar number of men about the same time.

The largest single addition to Homma’s 14th Army came when the 4th Division, led by Lieutenant General Kenzo Kitano, arrived from Shanghai. Kitano had learned “unofficially” that his division was to be transferred on 4 February but it was not until a week later that he received orders to move out. By the 27th of the month the first convoy, comprising division and infantry group headquarters, one infantry regiment, plus artillery and service troops, had reached Lingayen Gulf. The remainder of the division followed in successive convoys and by 15 March almost the entire 4th Division was on Luzon. The arrival of the 4th Division did not produce any great enthusiasm at 14th Army headquarters; the division was poorly equipped and numbered only 11,000 men; its infantry battalions had three instead of four rifle companies; it lacked antitank guns and two of its four field hospitals. In General Homma’s opinion, Kitano’s division was the “worst equipped” division in the entire Japanese Army, and, he later noted, had he been forced to rely on it alone to begin his offensive he would not have been “competent to attack.”

On 26 February, the day before Kitano’s first group landed, a strong detachment from the 21st Division arrived in the Philippines. This force, led by Major General Kameichiro Nagano, 21st Infantry group commander, and called the Nagano Detachment, numbered about 4,000 men and was composed of the group headquarters, the 62nd Infantry, a battalion of mountain artillery, and a company of engineers. Nagano had been en route from China to French Indochina with the rest of the 21st Division when he had received the orders from Southern Army that sent him to the Philippines.

Arriving too late to participate in the final offensive was the 10th Independent Garrison which landed at Lingayen Gulf on 2 April. Intended as an occupation force, this organization consisted of five independent battalions of infantry but lacked supporting arms and services. Artillery reinforcements began to reach the Philippines in the middle of February and continued to arrive in increasing numbers until the first week in April. Included among these units were a balloon company and an artillery intelligence regiment. To control the large number of artillery units, Homma was also given the 1st Artillery Headquarters, led by Lieutenant General Kishio Kitajima, which was shipped from Hong Kong late in March.

[14th Army Opns, I, 119-20; USA vs. Homma, p. 2635, testimony of Kitajima. The artillery reinforcements consisted of the following units: 1st Arty Hq; 1st Field Heavy Arty Regt (240-mm. howitzers); 2nd Independent Heavy Arty Btry (240-mm. howitzers); 3rd Independent Mountain Arty Regt (75-mm. mountain guns); 3rd Mortar Bn 14th Independent Mortar Bn (300-mm. mortars)]

In addition to the strong reinforcements sent to Luzon, Imperial General Headquarters dispatched units to other portions of the Philippine Archipelago to hasten the occupation of the Visayas and Mindanao. Thus far only Mindoro, a portion of Mindanao, and a few small islands seized at the start of the war were in Japanese hands. On 10 March elements of the 5th and 18th Divisions from Malaya and Borneo were assigned the task of occupying the central and southern Philippines. In early April these units arrived in Lingayen Gulf, were augmented by 14th Army supporting and service troops and organized into two detachments for operations in the south.

Imperial Headquarters also provided air reinforcements for the coming offensive by giving Homma two heavy bombardment regiments consisting of a total of sixty twin-engine bombers. The two regiments flew in from Malaya and landed at Clark Field on 16 March. Naval air units were also dispatched to Luzon to assist 14th Army air elements which were reorganized into the 22nd Air Brigade under Major General Kizo Mikami. By the beginning of April, therefore, Homma had a sizable air force to throw against the defenders of Bataan.

While recently arrived and veteran units alike were put through a rigorous training program, 14th Army staff officers made preparations for the coming offensive. The final plan, completed on 22 March, was based on the incorrect assumption that the defenders numbered 40,000 men and were deployed along three lines: the first along Mt. Samat, the second along Mt. Limay, and the final line near Mariveles at the tip of the peninsula. To break through this defense in depth, 14th Army proposed to make a coordinated infantry-2nd Independent Mortar Battalion (150-mm. mortars) 20th Independent Mountain Artillery Battalion (75-mm. mountain guns) One Company, 21st Field Heavy Artillery Battalion (150-mm. howitzers) 5th Arty Intelligent Regiment, 3rd Tractor Unit, 1st Balloon Company, artillery-air assault along a narrow front, with Mt. Samat as the initial objective. From here the Japanese would push on to the Mt. Limay line, supported, if necessary, by an advance along the East Road. Once this line was gained, 14th Army would bring the campaign to an end by seizing Mariveles. Preparations for the assault against Corregidor would begin immediately thereafter.

[USA us. Homma, pp. 2457, 2576. At his trial General Homma explained that his intelligence officer had estimated enemy strength on Bataan as 25,000 men, but that he, Homma, believed this figure to be too low. He had told his intelligence officer so and had directed him to “go back and estimate again.” The next estimate was 40,000. “So,” explained Homma at his trial, “in my estimation, I told him it must be 60,000, but I have no data to contradict you, so I accept your estimation.” Ibid., pp. 3064-65.]

 [The description of the Japanese plan is based upon: 14th Army Opns, I, 128-42, 146-56, II, 17-42; 5th Air Gp Opns, pp. 54-63; Interrog of Kitano, 1 May 47, Interrogations of Former Japanese Officers, Mil Hist Div, GHQ FEC, I; Statements of Lieutenant Colonel Hiromi Oishi, 4th Div staff, 2 Oct 50, ATIS Doc 62639, and Colonel Motohiko Yoshida, CofS 4th Diu, 28 Jul 49, ATIS Doc 62642, both in Statements of Japanese Officials on World War II, GHQ FEC, Mil Intel Sec, III, 113, IV, 548.]

 Japanese Plan Of Attack

In contrast to his expectations for a speedy victory in January, Homma, who had by this time acquired a healthy respect for his opponent, now believed that it would take about a month to complete the conquest of Bataan: one week to seize Mt. Samat, two weeks to crack the Limay line, and one more week to mop up. “I do not know,” Homma wrote, “whether the enemy on Bataan will try to fight to the end at their first and second line, whether they will retreat back to Corregidor and fight, escape to Australia, the Visayas or Mindanao, or give up at the right time, but I still propose to prepare for the worst.”

Instructions for the coming offensive were issued to all major commanders on 23 March at a meeting in San Fernando. General Kitano, commander of the 4th Division, was told that his division would carry the burden of the main assault in front of Mt. Samat and that he would receive close support from General Nara’s 65th Brigade. Protection of the left (east) flank of the advance was assigned to General Nagano’s 21st Division detachment, and the 16th Division commander, General Morioka, was given the mission of making a feint attack in front of I Corps. Beginning the next day, 24 March, General Mikami’s 22nd Air Brigade, aided by naval aircraft, would begin an intensive air assault against the American line, and just before the ground assault opened General Kitajima’s artillery would join in the attack to soften up the opposition. There was no disagreement over the selection of 3 April as D Day. But zero hour was not fixed without a good deal of discussion.

General Kitano and his 4th Division staff urged that the ground assault begin at noon. To delay until later in the day, they argued, would needlessly expose the troops to enemy artillery fire before the attack. The 65th Brigade commander, General Nara, with three months’ experience on Bataan, felt that the Americans would take advantage of the daylight hours to mass their extremely effective artillery fire against the advancing infantry if the attack jumped off too early. He preferred to delay zero hour until dusk and move forward under cover of darkness. Since no agreement could be reached, Colonel Nakayama, 14th Army operations officer, presented a compromise plan fixing the time of the infantry attack at 1500. A disagreement over the objectives of the first day’s attack was also settled by compromise; thereafter the detailed planning proceeded with few interruptions.

The plans finally drawn up for the 3 April offensive provided for a heavy air and artillery bombardment on the morning of D Day. After a five-hour preparation the assaulting infantry would move out to the attack, the 65th Brigade on the right (west), the 4th Division on the left. The first objective, Mt. Samat, was to be taken at the end of the first week of operations. The Japanese would advance in three columns. The right (west) column would consist of General Nara’s 65th Brigade whose main force would march up the Pantingan River valley, along Trail 29, on the extreme left of the II Corps line. One element of the brigade was to remain west of the Pantingan River, in I Corps, to maintain contact with the 16th Division. Nara’s objective was control of the area west of Mt. Samat. When he had gained this objective, he was to halt his troops, reorganize, and prepare to seize the commanding heights of the Mariveles Mountains.

The 4th Division was to advance in two columns. On the right, next to the 65th Brigade and making the main effort, was Major General Kureo Taniguchi’s Right Wing, consisting of the 61st Infantry, one battalion of the 8th Infantry, the 7th Tank Regiment (less two companies), and artillery and service units. Taniguchi, the infantry group commander of the 4th Division, was to take his men across the Tiawir River and down along the Catmon River, in the center of Sector D, toward Mt. Samat. The 4th Division’s Left Wing, organized around the 8th Infantry and led by Colonel Haruji Morita, the regimental commander, was to form the easternmost column of the Japanese drive. It was to advance down Trail 4, against the Philippine Army’s 21st Division on the right of Sector D, directly toward the first objective, Mt. Samat.

Supporting the advance of the 4th Division and the 65th Brigade would be the 16th Division and the Nagano Detachment, initially in Army reserve. The former, with attached artillery and tanks, was to protect the right (west) flank of the assault On 31 March, three days before the main effort began, Morioka would begin a feint attack against I Corps, and thereafter maintain constant pressure against that corps to pin down General Jones’s troops. By 8 April Morioka was to be ready to move the bulk of his division eastward to support the advance of the 4th Division. An element of the Nagano Detachment was to protect the 4th Division’s east flank and later the entire detachment was to divert the enemy and pin down his beach defense troops by feinting landings along the east coast of Bataan, between Orion and Limay.

By the end of the first week of operations, General Homma estimated, the 4th Division would be approaching the Mamala River, and the 65th Brigade, the foothills of the Mariveles. Along the river Homma expected to encounter the strong defenses of the Limay line, a line which existed only in Japanese estimates and plans. With the 16th Division ready to move east to the support of the 4th Division and with the Nagano Detachment poised to advance down the East Road, Homma hoped to be able to pierce the defenses of this line and defeat the American and Filipino force in two weeks. After that, operations would consist largely of mopping up. Homma’s estimates in this case, unlike those he had made earlier in the campaign, were extremely conservative. General Kitano, who had not yet been in combat on Bataan, was far more sanguine about the results of the initial attack. Once Mt. Samat had been taken and the II Corps front rolled back, he believed, only “a pursuit of the Americans” would be required. For once the more optimistic of the Japanese estimates proved correct.

Prelude to Attack

During the second week of March the month-long lull which had followed the Japanese withdrawal from the Orion-Bagac line came to an end. American and Philippine patrols now began to meet opposition from a counter-reconnaissance screen which Homma had thrown forward to mask preparations for the coming offensive. As the days passed Japanese patrols became more active, and troops along the outpost line reported skirmishes with the enemy who was already moving out to the line of departure. By the last week of March the Japanese had pushed forward their screen to within 1,000 yards of the American line.

There were other equally obvious signs after the middle of March that the Japanese would soon renew the attack. Observers reported that they were moving supplies and troops into Bataan and building roads. Enemy aircraft, rarely seen in the month following the Japanese withdrawal, now began to appear in increasingly large numbers, attacking front-line troops, artillery positions, and supply areas to the rear.

[Collier, Notebooks, 111,52,59; O’Day, 21st Div (PA), II, 35-36; 14th Army Opns, 1,122-23; Luzon Force Rpt of Opns, G-2 Annex. A daily report on the enemy build-up is contained in the messages of General Beebe to MacArthur, and Wainwright to the War Department in G-3 USFIP Journal, 19 Mar-19 Apr 42, AG 461 (1 Apr 42) Phil Reds.]

The presence of many small boats and native craft at the mouth of the Pampanga River on the north shore of Manila Bay hinted at the possibility of amphibious attacks along the east coast of Bataan, similar to those made earlier against I Corps. Through the month the Japanese shelled the American positions intermittently with 75-mm. guns mounted on the largest of these boats. Though their marksmanship was poor, their fire increased apprehension of a landing behind the lines. Japanese artillery activities increased also. The Japanese guns which had been silent for several weeks began to sound again and an observation balloon floating over the high ground west of Abucay gave notice of the arrival of larger Japanese pieces than the Americans had yet encountered.

Japanese demand surrender

To these portents of a new Japanese offensive General Homma added a direct warning of dire consequences if the Bataan defenders did not surrender. In a message to General Wainwright, copies of which were dropped over Bataan in beer cans, Homma praised the valiant stand made by the Americans and Filipinos but declared that he now had large enough forces and supplies “either to attack and put to rout your forces or to wait for the inevitable starvation of your troops. . . .” He urged Wainwright to be sensible and follow “the defenders of Hong Kong, Singapore and the Netherlands East Indies in the acceptance of an honorable defeat.” To do otherwise, he pointed out, would be disastrous. The message closed with the ominous warning that if Wainwright did not reply by noon of the 22nd, Homma would consider himself “at liberty to take any action whatsoever.”

[The text of the surrender message is in the exhibits of the trial of General Homma, Prosecution Exhibit 421.]

More specific information about Homma’s intentions came on the night of 24 March when some Filipino troops found on the body of a Japanese officer a detailed order for a reconnaissance in force of the Mt. Samat area. The order specified that information was to be obtained about routes of advance for tanks, favorable points for river crossings, and American artillery positions around Mt. Samat. The document further revealed that, following the reconnaissance, some time after 26 March the Japanese would attack in the Mt. Samat region and even indicated “with considerable exactitude” the plan of the attack. By now the Japanese air and artillery bombardment had made life for the sick and hungry men on Bataan a living hell.

Enemy planes, unopposed except for a few antiaircraft guns, were over the American lines at all hours of the day, bombing and strafing at will. “Every few minutes,” wrote an American officer, “one plane would drop down, lift up the tree branches and lay one or two eggs. Every vehicle that tried to move, every wire-laying detail, infantry patrols, even individuals moving in the open were subject to these spot bombings.” Japanese artillery concentrated on frontline positions and on the Americans’ larger guns, coordinating with the air forces in an effort to knock out the American artillery. Though the effort was unsuccessful, by destroying communications and shelling observation posts and battery positions, the Japanese lowered the efficiency of the artillery “to a considerable extent.”

While the materiel losses from the bombings were not very great, the effect of the air-artillery attack, which increased in severity daily, on the efficiency of the troops was pronounced. The men were under shelter a good part of the time and many began to show a marked reluctance to move far from cover. The alert might sound in the midst of a meal or while the men were at rest, and everyone would dash for shelter. Rank made no difference; the men headed for the nearest foxhole and remained there until the attack was over. One Filipino officer, three times wounded and returned to duty each time, strangely enough usually found himself in sole possession of any foxhole he selected. The men estimated that his luck had run out and when he hopped into a foxhole they promptly jumped out and ran for another. Work was constantly being interrupted by the bombardment, and officers inspecting the defenses spent fully half their time in a ditch. “These high bombers get my goat,” wrote Colonel Quintard in his diary. “You never know when they are going to unload, and the waiting gets hard; when they do unload any place near, it sounds like an express train bearing down on you for a few seconds before they hit.”

[Captain Andrew D. Shoemake, 41st FA (PA), p. 32, Chunn Notebooks. Shoemake was instructor of the 2nd Battalion, 41st Field Artillery (PA).]

On 28 March, 14th Army issued final orders for the offensive, and all troops began to move forward to the line of departure. The 65th Brigade, with elements onboth sides of the Pantingan River, pushed in the outpost line of the 21st and 41st Divisions and took up a favorable position for the attack, To its east, the 4th Division advanced from the assembly area to the front and by 2 April both wings of the division were posted along the north shore- of the Tiawir-Talisay River. The Nagano Detachment, the easternmost unit of the Japanese advance, was already in position to carry out its mission. Far to the west, in front of I Corps, the 16th Division had already tied in with the 65th Brigade and begun to make feint attacks against General Jones’s line.

By 2 April all preparations had been completed and the Japanese could announce publicly over the radio that they were ready to begin “an all out offensive in Bataan.” “Our four groups [the 4th and 16th Divisions, the Nagano Detachment, and the 65th Brigade] have been brought into line and on a front of 25 kilometers ten flags are lined up,” wrote General Homma on the eve of the attack. “Artillery is plentiful. There are also enough special guns, and supply arrangements have been completely prepared . . .. There is no reason why this attack should not succeed.”

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

World War Two: Bataan (4-24); Final Japanese Offensive 3-5 April 1942

World War Two: Fall of Philippine (4-22): Help is on the way


World War Two: Fall of Philippine (4-22): Help is on the way

Since early January strenuous attempts had been made to get food and medical supplies to the men on Bataan and Corregidor. General MacArthur, and later General Wainwright, urged constantly and persistently, in the strongest terms, that the Japanese blockade must be broken, that greater efforts must be made and more drastic measures taken to relieve the Philippine garrison.

These requests were received in Washington with the greatest sympathy. Despite the fact that Allied strategy called for the defeat of Germany first, the bulk of the troops and supplies sent overseas during the early part of 1942 went to the Pacific. A blockade running program was organized, first in Australia and the Netherlands Indies, and then in the United States. Surface vessels, combat aircraft, and even submarines were dispatched to the Philippines in the hope that some would get through with supplies for the weary and hungry men. No expense was too high, no effort too great to relieve the embattled garrison.

The total result of these activities was negligible. The Japanese hold on the Southwest Pacific and southeast Asia was too firm, their victories too rapid to allow the poorly prepared Allies time to organize the resources necessary to come to the aid of the Philippine garrison. The story of the attempt to break through the Japanese blockade, like the entire story of the campaign in the Philippines, is one of heroic efforts and final failure.

Running the Blockade

On 4 January, unaware that the War Plans Division of the General Staff had concluded only a day earlier that relief of the Philippines would require so large a force as to constitute “an entirely unjustified diversion,” General MacArthur had suggested to the Chief of Staff that a plan for blockade running be developed and put into effect immediately. “Some relief,” he had added, “might be obtained on use of submarine transportation.” The suggestion to initiate blockade-running was not acted upon immediately, but the funds to organize such a program had already been allotted to two officers on their way to Australia. The proposal to send supplies by submarine did not secure such ready acceptance.

Admiral Hart, when asked to send antiaircraft ammunition to MacArthur by submarine, replied that no underwater craft were available for such a mission. MacArthur’s message to the Chief of Staff on this subject was a strong one. Hart’s attitude, he declared for the second time in a month, was a defeatist one. “He accepts complete blockade which probably does not exist without effort to penetrate,” he declared, and cited the case of two destroyers and a cargo vessel which had successfully made their way south from Manila Bay during the last ten days. “I urge,” he wrote Marshall, “steps be taken to obtain a more aggressive and resourceful handling of naval forces in this area.”

 Concrete plans to run supplies into the Philippines through the Japanese blockade began to take shape about the middle of January. The impetus was provided by MacArthur, who, on the 17th, after his failure to secure any strong support from Australia or the Netherlands Indies, recounted his difficulties in a long message to the Chief of Staff. He reminded General Marshall that his men had been on half rations for some time and that “the food situation here is becoming serious.” Measured in ship capacity his needs were not large and could easily be met by small or medium-sized vessels, which he recommended be dispatched to the Philippines along various routes. It seemed “incredible” to him that such an attempt had never been made. He had no doubt that if it were, “unquestionably” the ships would get through.

Warning that the Filipinos would experience a “revulsion of feeling” if something was not done to send help quickly and that “hungry men are hard to handle,” he asked that simultaneous efforts to send food be made from the United States and the Netherlands Indies. “I am professionally certain,” he declared, “that his [the enemy’s] so-called blockade can easily be pierced. The only thing that can make it really effective is our passive acceptance of it as a fact.”

Actually, every effort was being made in Washington to send aid to the beleaguered garrison. But these efforts were not enough, nor were they being pushed, General Marshall believed, with the vigor and singlemindedness required to break the blockade. The command in Australia had no organization capable of quickly executing such a mission and no such sense of urgency as impelled MacArthur to insist that “the disastrous results” of the failure to provide aid “will be monumental.” General Marshall himself undertook to impart this sense of urgency to his subordinates. To the commander in Australia he wrote that the situation in the Philippines was most serious and that “comprehensive efforts” to run the blockade must be organized. His directions were concise and clear Use your funds without stint. Call for more if required. Colonel Chamberlin has a credit of ten million dollars of Chief of Staff’s fund which can be spent in whatever manner latter deems advisable. I direct its use for this purpose.

Arrange for advance payments, partial payments for unsuccessful efforts, and large bonus for actual delivery. Your judgement must get results. Organize groups of bold and resourceful men, dispatch them with funds by planes to islands in possession of our associates, there to buy food and charter vessels for service. Rewards for actual delivery Bataan or Corregidor must be fixed at level to insure utmost energy and daring on part of masters. At same time dispatch blockade runners from Australia with standard rations and small amounts of ammunition on each. Movement must be made on broad front over many routes. . . . Only indomitable determination and pertinacity will succeed and success must be ours. Risks will be great. But rewards must be proportional.

Similar instructions were sent to General Brett, General Wavell’s deputy in the recently established ABDA Command. “The results of even partial success in this effort ” Marshall told him, “would be incalculable and it is my purpose to spare no effort or expense to achieve results.” That same day in Washington, Marshall selected General Hurley, former Secretary of War, to lend his “energetic support” to the scheme of blockade-running, and made available to MacArthur one million dollars, to be used as rewards to ship masters in the Islands.

Less than twenty-four hours after receiving MacArthur’s message urging that the blockade be pierced, Marshall was able to inform the USAFFE commander that two officers from Washington with “practically unlimited funds” and with instructions to organize blockade-running “on a broad front” had already reached Australia; that he had one million dollars at his disposal to reward those who broke through the blockade; and that Hurley was leaving for Australia the next day, the headquarters in Australia prepared an ambitious schedule for the shipment to the Indies, and then the transshipment from there, of 3,000,000 rations-a sixty-day supply for 50,000 men-and a large quantity of ammunition. Colonel John A. Robenson, with six assistants and large funds, was sent from Darwin to Java with instructions to comb the Indies for food and small ships.

These plans apparently were not enough for General Marshall and he told General Brereton, then commanding in Australia. Time did not permit the shipment of food to the Indies for transshipment, the Chief of Staff declared. Local resources in every port should be exploited by purchase, and agents with hard cash should be flown to every Dutch and British island in the area to collect food and ships. “urgency of my instructions not fully appreciated,” Marshall told Brereton, and closed with the injunction that “action and results are imperative.”

The difficulties which faced the men responsible for procuring supplies, ships, and crews were formidable. There were few vessels in Australia fast enough to run the blockade and large enough to carry sufficient cargo and fuel to make the round trip profitable. The assignment of a ship to such a mission was regarded by most as tantamount to its permanent loss. Finally, if a ship was chartered, it was exceedingly difficult to find the crew willing to embark on so perilous a voyage, no matter how high the reward. Altogether, about ten old coastal vessels of Philippine and Chinese registry were procured in Australia. In an effort to protect these vessels from hostile attack, they were provided with guns, dummy stacks, neutral or Axis flags, and “all imaginable types of deceit.”

Colonel Robenson’s difficulties in Java were fully as great as those encountered in Australia. Imbued with the importance of his mission, he was quickly disillusioned when he found that the British and the Dutch would not release ships for the hazardous run to the Philippines. Robenson had more success in securing rations and ammunition, but at the end of January still had no vessel on which to load the cargo. Despite these difficulties surprising progress was made in the plan to run the blockade.

By 22 January, three days after his rebuke from Washington, Brereton reported to the Chief of Staff that the Don Isidro, a small Philippine freighter, had been chartered and was then being loaded with rations and ammunition at Brisbane. It would sail directly for Corregidor. The Mormacsun, with a larger capacity, was also loading at Brisbane. Since this vessel was under orders from Washington not to go farther north than the Netherlands Indies, it would sail to a Dutch port and there transfer its cargo to smaller vessels for the last leg of the journey. Additional rations and ammunition, Brereton told Marshall, were being assembled in Australia for shipment to the Indies. There they would be placed aboard small blockade-runners and sent to the Philippines. He neglected to mention that he had had no success as yet in securing these small vessels.

Within two weeks the number of ships en route or scheduled to sail for the Philippines had grown to five. The Don Isidro, Major General Julian F. Barnes reported from Australia, had already departed with 700 tons of rations. The Coast Farmer, an Army freighter with a speed of 10 knots, was loading at Brisbane and would sail immediately. The Dona Nati, with a capacity of over 6,000 tons, was also loading in Australia and was scheduled to depart within the week. Finally, the Anhui, a vessel of Chinese registry with a capacity of 2,500 tons, had been chartered and was then loading. It would follow the Dona Nati. The Mormacsun, Barnes told Marshall, was already loaded with 6,000 tons of balanced rations and ammunition, but was being held in port pending the completion of arrangements to charter two smaller vessels to carry its cargo northward from the Indies.

General MacArthur was kept fully informed of the plans to break the Japanese blockade, but still felt that stronger measures were required. On 4 February, in a message to General Marshall, he called for a more aggressive strategy in the Far East and expressed the hope that his views would be presented “to the highest authority.” The message opened with the startling statement that Allied strategy, aimed at building up forces before the Japanese advance, was “a fatal mistake on the part of the Democratic Allies.” He urged that the Japanese line of communications, “stretched over 2,000 miles of sea,” be attacked instead. To counter the argument that naval forces for such attacks were not available, he pointed out that a great naval victory was not necessary; “the threat alone would go far toward the desired end.” He predicted that the plan to build a base and acquire supremacy in the Southwest Pacific would fail and that the war would be indefinitely prolonged. The only way to defeat the enemy was to seek combat with him. “Counsels of timidity,” he warned, “based upon theories of safety first will not win against such an aggressive and’ audacious adversary as Japan.”

This was bold counsel indeed and was carefully considered in Washington from where the effort to send MacArthur the supplies he needed was being pushed with vigor and determination. General Marshall replied that he welcomed and appreciated MacArthur’s views and “invariably” submitted them to the President. Summarizing the considerations which had determined Allied strategy, Marshall went on to explain that everyone recognized the advantages of an attack against Japan’s line of communications. Two grim disasters had prevented the adoption of such a course.

First, the Japanese had achieved flank security at the start of the war by seizing Wake and Guam and additional protection by their control of the Marshall and Gilbert Islands. At all these places they had strong air protection. Secondly, by their initial attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese had virtually eliminated the Battle Force of the Pacific Fleet. Much of the remaining naval strength of the Pacific Fleet was required to keep open the Allied line of communications to Australia and to assist in the establishment of bases in the South Pacific.

But rather than do nothing at all, the Allies had decided to oppose Japanese expansion along the Malay Barrier simply because that was the only area in which they possessed the necessary bases from which to launch an attack. “The basis of all current effort,” the Chief of Staff went on, “is to accumulate through every possible means sufficient strength to initiate operations along the lines you suggest.. . . In the meanwhile we are endeavoring to limit the hostile advance so as to deny him free access to land and sea areas that will immeasurably strengthen his war making powers or which will be valuable to us as jump off positions when we can start a general offensive.”

Not only was MacArthur’s efforts to secure a reorientation of Allied strategy in the Far East unsuccessful, but his doubts about the value of the help from Australia soon proved to be well founded. In spite of elaborate preparatibns and the expenditure of large funds, only three of the vessels which set out for the Philippines were successful in piercing the blockade. The Don Isidro and Coast Farmer left Australia on the same day, 4 February. The first went from Fremantle to Java to take on ammunition.

There she was joined by the Florence D., a Philippine freighter under U.S. naval control. To get the ship Colonel Robenson had had to offer the Filipino crew handsome bonuses ranging from more than $10,000 for the master to lesser amounts for other ranks, and life insurance in values of $500 to $5,000. On 14 February the Don Isidro and Florence D. set sail. Both vessels sailed eastward through the Timor Sea to Bathurst Island, then north. Five days after the start of the voyage they were discovered by Japanese planes and bombed. The first was left a disabled hulk and had to be beached; the Florence D. was sunk.

The voyage of the Coast Farmer was more successful. She finally put in at a Mindanao port fifteen days after leaving Brisbane. The Dona Nati and the Anhui also made the trip successfully, arriving at Cebu in mid-March. These were the only vessels to reach the Philippines; they brought in more than 10,000 tons of rations, 4,000,000 rounds of small-arms ammunition, 8,000 rounds of 81-mm ammunition, and miscellaneous medical, signal, and engineer supplies.

The two Chinese ships of British registry chartered to carry the Mormacsun cargo left Fremantle in February, but the crews mutinied when dangerous waters were reached and brought the two vessels back to Darwin where they were unloaded.

On 14 February the Dutch released four old freighters to Colonel Robenson for use on the Philippine run. By offering large bonuses and other financial inducements, he persuaded the Chinese crew of one of these vessels to make the voyage. It finally left on 26 February with a cargo of 720,000 rations, but was never heard from again. The others never left port.

The unloading of the three ships that successfully completed the voyage to southern Philippine ports left their cargoes far from the battlefield. From Mindanao and Cebu the supplies still had to be transported northward through the inland seas to Manila Bay.

For this leg of the journey fast inter-island motor ships were used. The need for such a transport system had been recognized early in the campaign and General Sharp, commander of the Visayan-Mindanao Force, had requisitioned the best of the small boats. Altogether, about twenty-five boats, ranging in capacity from 300 to 1,000 tons, were chartered.

The plan for running the blockade through the inland seas provided for the transfer of the cargo brought in from Australia and the Netherlands Indies to the smaller interisland craft. This would be done at night, at places rarely visited by the Japanese air and surface patrols. The small boats would then move northward in easy stages, traveling during the hours of darkness only. American officers would be placed aboard each vessel with orders to make certain that a real effort was made to run the blockade and to scuttle the ship rather than let it fall into enemy hands.

The plan called also for the transportation to Corregidor of such food as could be procured locally-rice, sugar, fruits, coffee, and meat. In Manila Bay, for example, two 400-ton motor ships picked up the food collected by agents in southern Luzon and ran it across the bay to Corregidor. These two vessels were able to make several round trips, raising the total quantity of rice stocks by 1,600 tons.23 But the bulk of the ships and supplies came from Cebu where the Army Transport Service and the Cebu Advance Depot were located. Originally established to issue supplies received from Luzon, the Cebu depot became the central collection point for supplies to be shipped to Bataan and Corregidor. Procurement offices were set up in the Visayas and in Mindanao and vast quantities of material were gathered. To these were added the food and equipment from Australia.

By 10 April, when the Japanese occupied Cebu City, the depot had on hand a twelve-month food supply for the troops on Cebu and Panay and at least a six-month supply for the men on the other islands. In the hills and in scattered warehouses were another 12,000 tons of food, medicine, gasoline, and other supplies. Only a very small portion of the supplies gathered so painfully and hoarded so carefully in the south ever reached Manila Bay.

The total could not have been more than a few thousand tons. The Legaspi, with a capacity of 1,000 tons, was the first of the interisland steamers to make the journey safely. On 22 January she brought a cargo of rice and other food from Panay to Corregidor, and in February completed another trip. On 1 March, while she was on her third trip, she was sunk by a Japanese gunboat off the north coast of Mindoro and her crew captured.

Late in February the Princessa made the run from Cebu to Corregidor with a cargo of 700 tons of food. At Mindanao the 2,500 tons of rations and 2,000 rounds of 81-mm. ammunition from the Coast Farmer were transferred to the Elcano and Lepus. The first got through to Manila Bay, but the Lepus was captured off Palawan on February. The cargoes of the Dona Nati and Anhui were loaded for transshipment at Cebu, but the ships failed to break through the tightening Japanese blockade. Ten of the interisland steamers were sunk by the enemy or scuttled by their crews to avoid capture, resulting in the loss of 7,000 tons of food, petroleum, and other miscellaneous supplies.

In terms of supplies delivered to the battlefield, the blockade-running program from Australia and the Netherland Indies was a dismal failure. Of the 10,000 tons of rations which reached Mindanao and Cebu only about 1,000 tons-a four-day supply for the 100,000 soldiers and civilians on Bataan-reached Manila Bay. Even more distressing was the condition of the food when it finally reached the men.

The containers in which the food was packed had broken open and the holds of the ships contained a miscellaneous pile of canned goods. All of it had to be sorted and repacked before it could be issued to the troops. Practically all the paper labels on the cans were destroyed so that they could not be identified without opening them. Flour and sugar sacks had broken open and the contents were spread loosely among the cans. Shovels had to be used to get these precious commodities back into new sacks. Onions and potatoes, piled on the decks during the voyage through tropical waters, were rotted and had to be destroyed almost before the eyes of the starving men. These “heart-breaking” conditions resulted in delays in unloading and, what was much worse, considerable loss of food to the weakened and hungry garrison.

The Japanese invasion of the Netherlands Indies and the Allied naval defeats in the waters of the Dutch archipelago in late February and early March released Japanese naval and air forces for patrol of the seas just north of Australia. With that continent now under direct attack and in danger of invasion all plans to run the blockade from Australia came to an end.

Ships and cargoes were desperately needed in Australia itself to meet the threat of hostile landings. This possibility had been foreseen earlier, and General Hurley, when he reached Java on 17 February, had told the Chief of Staff that the sea routes north of Australia were becoming increasingly hazardous. On his return to Melbourne a few days later he again made this point in a message to Marshall and referred to the “almost insuperable difficulties” in getting supplies to MacArthur.

On 2 March Batavia in Java fell to the Japanese and the Dutch Government moved to the mountains. Clearly the end of resistance in the Netherlands Indies was in sight, and both Brett and Hurley agreed that it was no longer possible to continue the blockade-running program. This view, they told the Chief of Staff in a joint message, was shared by the officers directly responsible for running the blockade. In their opinion, Routes to Philippines from Australia and vicinity are becoming increasingly hazardous and risking of ships and cargoes that cannot well be spared here appears no longer justified. Routes to avoid the areas controlled by the enemy are as long as from Hawaii to Philippines.

Recommend therefore that Philippines be supplied from the United States via Hawaii through open sea areas in which the chance of reaching destination is much greater than through narrow channels between island and blockade areas of the southwest Pacific. Already the possibility of sending blockade-runners from the United States through Hawaii was under study in the War Department. This study had been requested by the President as a result of a strong message from MacArthur on 22 February. The Coast Farmer, MacArthur had pointed out, had had no difficulty in penetrating the Japanese blockade, thus proving what he had been asserting all the time: that the blockade was ineffective. He suggested, therefore, that in view of the “thinness of the enemy’s coverage” other routes including that across the central Pacific from Hawaii be utilized. The entire program to send him supplies, he declared bluntly, should be controlled from Washington rather than Australia where the commanders, “however able they may be, have neither the resources nor the means . . . to accomplish this mission.” Nor did he believe it possible for commanders in Australia, “the actual zone of immediate or threatened conflict,” to devote all their energies to the task of sending him supplies when their own problems seemed so urgent to them.

The size of the problem [he said] is greater than the means now being used to solve it. The prime requisite is the making available in the United States of the necessary ships and material, especially the former, and their continuous dispatch to destination. Nowhere is the situation more desperate and dangerous than here. . . . The quantities involved are not great but it is imperative that they be made instantly available in the United States and that the entire impulse and organization be reenergized and controlled directly by you. If it is left as a subsidiary effort it will never be accomplished.

On the receipt of this message, the supply experts in the War Department began a quick survey of the problem. Major General Brehon B. Somervell, then G–4, summed up their findings in a series of recommendations to the Chief of Staff on the 22nd. Declaring that direct supply of the Philippines from Honolulu was “practical and desirable,” he recommended that three World War I destroyers, converted to cargo vessels with a capacity of 1,500 tons each, be assigned this mission. One of these could be sent immediately from New Orleans to Mindanao, and the others could follow in early March. He recommended also that three additional converted destroyers then in the Caribbean should be procured by the Army and placed on this run. Arrangements were quickly made to send supplies to New Orleans and to procure the additional vessels.

Marshall then reported these arrangements to the President and notified MacArthur of the new efforts being made to send supplies across the Pacific directly to the Philippines. The schedule for shipments from the United States called for six sailings, the first vessel to leave New Orleans on 28 February, the last on 22 March. But numerous difficulties arose to upset the schedule. There were delays in assembling the cargoes and in selecting the best routes for the ships to follow. The Navy had no gun crews to put on the ships and there was further delay till they could be secured. Finally, the first vessel, originally scheduled to leave on 28 February, sailed from New Orleans on 2 March.

Two others followed during the month. Routed through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles and then to Honolulu, these ships were still in Hawaiian waters when the campaign in the Philippines ended. Three other converted destroyers left the west coast between 16 March and 11 April but before they were long at sea it was clear they could not reach the Philippines before the campaign ended and they were diverted to other areas. Thus ended the effort to run supplies through the blockade by surface ships.

Submarines and aircraft as well as surface vessels were utilized in the desperate attempt to bring aid to the Philippine garrison. The use of submarines for this purpose, as has been noted, was opposed most strongly by Admiral Hart, commander of naval forces in Wavell’s headquarters. General Wavell supported this view and when he assumed command declared that with his present resources he could see no possibility of “affording General MacArthur support he appears to expect.” When, on 17 January, Marshall sent strong messages to Australia and Java calling for an all-out effort to break the Japanese blockade, Wavell had replied that the diversion of submarines to transport duty would reduce the opposition he could bring to bear against the enemy.

General Marshall granted the validity of Wavell’s and Hart’s objections and admitted they were correct in principle. But he also pointed out that Wavell had overlooked the moral effect of receiving even occasional small shipments. MacArthur, he reasoned, was containing a large number of Japanese, planes, and ship’s, and the longer he held out the more chance there was that the Japanese would be unable to put all their forces in the ABDA area. This consideration, he declared, justified the use of submarines to carry small quantities of critical items to Corregidor. “As you know,” he wrote Admiral King, “we are making strenuous efforts to organize blockade running on an extensive scale…‘. However, under present conditions, I think it is important that small shipments of supplies reach MacArthur by submarine or otherwise every ten days or two weeks.” King agreed with this view and Wavell’s orders to send aid to MacArthur, by submarine if necessary, remained unchanged.

Altogether, ten submarines made the effort to reach the Philippines. One, loaded with ammunition, had been sent out by Hart on King’s instructions. Another, with a cargo of 3-inch antiaircraft ammunition, had left Hawaii on 12 January. MacArthur reported the safe arrival of these two submarines in February, the last one reaching the Islands from Hawaii on 3 February. During that month three more submarines made the voyage to the Philippines: Swordfish arrived on the 19th and evacuated President Quezon; Sargo brought one million rounds of .30-caliber ammunition to Mindanao; and Permit, sent to evacuate General MacArthur, took on instead torpedoes and naval personnel.

The next month only two submarines reached the Islands. Seadragon, en route to patrol off the Indochina coast, was ordered to Cebu to carry a load of rations to Corregidor. Though she picked up 34 tons of rations and almost 12,000 gallons of petroleum, she was able to unload only one fifth of her cargo before being ordered out. Snapper, assigned the same mission, succeeded in unloading 46 tons of food and 29,000 gallons of diesel oil before leaving.

The Swordfish made one more trip. Leaving Fremantle in Australia on 1 April with a cargo of 40 tons of food, she was diverted en route and after a short patrol returned to port and unloaded her cargo. Searaven left the same port a day after the Swordfish with 1,500 rounds of 3-inch antiaircraft ammunition, but was also diverted and failed to deliver any of the shells to Corregidor. The final trip was made at the beginning of May, when the Spearfish, on patrol off Lingayen ‘Gulf, picked up twenty-five men and women, including twelve nurses, just before the surrender. One other submarine from Hawaii attempted to reach Corregidor with a cargo of 100 tons of medical supplies but turned back when Bataan fell.

The total effort by the submarines added only 53 tons of food to MacArthur’s stores enough for only one meal for two thirds of the men on Bataan-3,500 rounds of 3-inch antiaircraft ammunition, 37 tons of .50-caliber and 1,000,000 rounds of .30-caliber ammunition, and about 30,000 gallons of diesel oil. In terms of results the effort seemed hardly worthwhile.

The amount of supplies brought into the Philippines by aircraft from Australia and the Netherlands Indies was more substantial but limited to items which weighed little and were small in size. Obviously rations, which were most desperately needed, could not be sent in sufficient quantity to make any difference to the garrison on Bataan and Corregidor. Altogether, there were ten air shipments, starting on 26 January and continuing through 3 May. The first consisted of two planes, an LB-30 and a B-24, which carried 10,000 morphine tablets, other medical supplies, and ammunition. MacArthur reported their safe arrival at Del Monte Airfield in Mindanao to the Chief of Staff early in February. There was time for only one more shipment, including 50,000 quinine tablets, before the Japanese destroyed the hangar at Darwin, where the supplies destined for the Philippines were stored. As a result air transport operations were delayed until other supplies could be gathered at Bachelor Field near Darwin.

During the month of March three shipments by air were made to Mindanao–on the 11th, 16th, and 26th. These flights were more notable perhaps for what the planes brought out than for what they took in. Of the four B-17’s that left on the 11th, only one reached Mindanao with a cargo of 1,600 pounds of medical supplies, some signal equipment, and antiaircraft spare parts. The group of B-17’s that made the flight on the 16th and 17th brought back to Australia General MacArthur, his family, and his staff. The final March flight took in 5,000 pounds of critical signal equipment and 1,160 pounds of medical supplies (including 1,000,000 quinine tablets). On the return journey the planes carried President Quezon, who had gone only as far as Panay by submarine, and his staff. The largest number of shipments was made in April, and a respectable quantity of medical, signal, and ordnance equipment reached Mindanao during that month. The pilot of the last flight, made on 3 May, found the airdrome occupied by the Japanese and hastily turned around.

The total air effort from Australia resulted in the accumulation of a large quantity of critically needed supplies on Mindanao. Some reached Corregidor by air, in small aircraft which flew in at night to land on the navy strip on the tail of the island. But the bulk of the supplies could not be moved northward where they were desperately needed. Like the rations brought in by the blockade-runners, only a very small amount of the precious air cargo ever reached the battlefield.

By mid-March the opportunity to bring supplies to Bataan and Corregidor had been lost. During the first month and a half of the campaign such an effort might well have been successful. But time was required to gather vessels and cargoes and to organize the men and resources. The Japanese did not give the Allies the time so badly needed. They advanced so rapidly in the Netherlands Indies that they closed the routes between Australia and the Philippines before the blockade-running program was well under way. The route northward from Mindanao and the Visayas to Manila Bay was blocked not long after. Thereafter, no matter how many tons reached the depot at Cebu or the airfield at Del Monte, they would be of little use to the men on Bataan.

While the effort to run the blockade may not have paid dividends in terms of tonnages delivered to the troops, it was nevertheless one that could be amply justified on military and political grounds. The effort had to be made, no matter what the cost. The American people demanded that much at least. Strategically, any measure that might upset the Japanese timetable and contain a large number of Japanese troops was worth trying. Nor could the moral eff crt on the troops in contact with the enemy be overlooked. No one could be sure in January and February that the blockade would prove unbreakable; politically, strategically, and morally it was necessary to make the attempt. The gallant stand of the Philippine garrison required it; MacArthur demanded it; and the American people supported it.

Last Efforts

Toward the end of March, with Wainwright’s assumption of command, a final and frantic effort was made to get food, vitamin concentrates, and medicine. In the messages to Washington a new and desperate note of urgency became evident. For the first time the War Department received concrete figures on the number of troops in the Philippines when Wainwright reported that he had 90,000 men on Bataan alone. This fact could hardly be believed in Washington and Marshall asked for specific figures, declaring that 90,000 “is greatly in excess of what we understood was there.” When Wainwright’s reply arrived it proved even more startling than his first statement. On Bataan and Corregidor alone, the strength of the command, including naval elements and civilians subsisted by the Army, was 110,000.

There was not the slightest possibility that sufficient food for even a fraction of this force could be sent, but Marshall told Wainwright not to hesitate to ask for any assistance that was practicable. “It is a matter of continuing concern to me,” he assured the recently appointed USFIP commander, “as to what additional measures the War Department might take to strengthen and sustain your gallant defense …. Your recommendations always receive my immediate personal attention.” Similar assurances had already been given by the President.

Following a lengthy, eleven-page requisition to the War Department, which could not possibly have been filled even under more favorable circumstances, Wainwright reviewed for General Somervell the supplies received from outside sources since the start of the campaign and explained his present situation. “Our desperate needs at the moment,” he told the War Department G-4, “are subsistence and limited medical supplies, particularly quinine sulphate.”

The urgency of the request was emphasized in a separate message to the War Department in which he spoke of the high incidence of malaria and other diseases on Bataan and asked for a one-month supply of various drugs essential to the health of his command. Two days later he bluntly warned the Chief of Staff that disaster was imminent unless supplies arrived soon. There was only enough food on Bataan, he stated, to last until 15 April “at one-third ration, poorly balanced and very deficient in vitamins.” If, by that time, supplies did not reach him, “the troops there will be starved into submission.”

To this estimate, MacArthur, who received a copy of the message, took sharp exception. Without minimizing the critical conditions on Bataan he maintained that there had been enough food there before he left to last until 1 May. “It is of course possible,” he told the Chief of Staff, “that with my departure the vigor of application of conservation may have been relaxed.” To Wainwright he expressed his confidence that the efforts then being made to break the blockade would bring in enough food to last for an indefinite period and categorically repudiated any idea of surrender. “I am utterly opposed,” he asserted, “under any circumstances or conditions to the ultimate capitulation of this command. If food fails,” he directed Wainwright, “you will prepare and execute an attack upon the enemy.”

But the chief problem, to reach Wainwright with supplies, still remained unsolved. From Washington General Marshall used all his authority to send Wainwright the things he so desperately needed. In messages to Australia and Hawaii he ordered that every means at hand be utilized to send aid; all supply agencies in the War Department . were impressed with the urgency of the situation; and the Navy was asked to make submarines available. Lieutenant General Delos C. Emmons, Hawaiian Department commander, was directed to send a vessel loaded with 3,600 tons of concentrated food to Manila Bay immediately. “Spare no effort to push this movement,” the Chief of Staff ordered. “You are authorized to pay crew liberal bonus.” Within the week a vessel manned by a Navy crew and loaded with 1,000,000 rations, 340 tons of meat, 20 tons of cigarettes, 158 tons of milk, 200 tons of rice, and 548 tons of ammunition had left Honolulu. The journey would take twenty-two days, sixteen more than the Japanese were to allow the Bataan garrison.

MacArthur was asked to intensify his efforts from Australia to relieve Wainwright and to send small boats capable of running the Japanese blockade between Mindanao and Corregidor. The need for quinine was so pressing, Marshall told MacArthur, that he was to send all he could collect by air immediately to Mindanao. Submarines furnished by the Navy would carry other supplies. “Report date of initial shipment by plane, type, and quantity of items,” the Chief of Staff directed. In reply MacArthur asserted that he had already, at Wainwright’s request, sent all the quinine and vitamin concentrates he had been able to gather on short notice. In addition he was planning to send another load by air soon and would station the plane in Mindanao to fly supplies northward.

Marshall even sought to get Wainwright help from China. On 30 March he asked Lieutenant General Joseph W. Stilwell to look into the possibilities of sending food to the Philippines by ship. Stilwell replied that there was no chance of getting blockade-runners, but that he would try to secure planes and food for such a venture. While he was still trying, Bataan fell.

As each expedient failed to bring in supplies, more and more desperate and extreme measures were proposed in a vain attempt to break through the blockade. When Wainwright requested three submarines to transport supplies from Cebu, they were quickly made available although their transfer seriously limited naval operations. Two underwater craft on patrol west of the Philippines were ordered to Cebu to load supplies for Corregidor, and two others were readied at Fremantle for the trip north. The meager results of this mission have already been recounted.

Wainwright proposed, on 27 March, still another scheme to break through the blockade. This proposal, first made to MacArthur, called for a surprise attack against Japanese naval forces in Visayan waters and in Subic Bay by medium or heavy bombers sent from Australia to Mindanao. Such an attack would have a fair chance, Wainwright thought, of temporarily disrupting the blockade so that some of the food tied up in Cebu could be brought in. As a last resort, he suggested that ten B-17’s be stationed at Del Monte and, “by making a round trip each day, deliver a few days reduced ration for Bataan troops.” Where these heavy bombers would land was never made clear.

MacArthur agreed to send the bombers at some indefinite date in the future and Wainwright completed his arrangements. Within a few days all was in readiness. Two ships of 500 tons each, one loaded with food and the other with gasoline, were waiting at Cebu and Iloilo. Others were standing by and would be loaded and ready to sail when the first bombers attacked. During the voyage to Corregidor, the vessels would be covered by three P-40’s then being assembled in Mindanao.

Wainwright had convinced himself by this time that the air attacks would disrupt the blockade “for a considerable period of time,” and that he would be able to move all the supplies on Cebu, an amount sufficient to subsist the Bataan garrison for one month, to Corregidor. All he needed to carry out this ambitious plan, he told MacArthur, was heavy bombers. On the 4th MacArthur told him that the planes were being prepared and would “be available sometime the following week.”

Days passed but no planes came. At Cebu and Iloilo eight ships, fully loaded with rations and medicine, lay at anchor. They were still there when the Japanese occupied Cebu on the morning of 10 April. The bombers finally reached Mindanao the next day, too late to help the men on Bataan. Despite every effort it had proved impossible to relieve the men on Bataan. The beginning of April found them at their weakest-their fighting edge blunted and their capacity to resist at the lowest ebb. The effects of a three-month-long starvation diet, incessant air and artillery bombardment, and the ravages of disease could be seen in the gaunt bodies and sunken eyes of Americans and Filipinos alike. The loss of hope and the psychological impact of war are recorded only in the diaries and speech of those fortunate enough to survive. By 1 April, wrote General King’s surgeon, the combat efficiency of the troops in Luzon Force “was rapidly approaching the zero point.”

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

World War Two: Fall of Philippines; Bataan (4-23); Preparing for the last battle 1942

World War Two: Fall of Philippines; Bataan (4-21); Battling Bastards

World News Headlines: 01-05-2019


Angela Merkel and hundreds of German politicians hacked; German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other senior politicians were reportedly hit by a data hack, with some of their letters, contact details and party memos leaked on Twitter. Germany’s digital defense body is “intensively” investigating the apparent data leak that saw data of hundreds of politicians from across the political spectrum being published online, a spokesman for the Federal Office for IT Safety (BSI) said on Friday. “Hacking attack against politicians: The BSI is currently intensively probing the issue in close cooperation with other federal institutions,” the BSI said on Twitter, adding that “according to what we know so far” the government’s confidential networks were unaffected.

Paul Whelan: Is American held in Moscow really a US spy?; The facts surrounding the arrest of US citizen Paul Whelan in Moscow remain murky. But rumors suggesting he was arrested so he could be exchanged for alleged Russian spy Maria Butina are growing louder.Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) claims to have caught Paul Whelan red-handed. The former US Marine, arrested in Moscow last Friday, is said to have received a USB stick with sensitive information on it from Russian agents who met him at the Metropol Hotel — just down the street from both the Kremlin and the FSB headquarters. Russian news agency Rosbalt, citing Moscow security circles, has claimed Whelan received a classified list of names from a Russian citizen, though those claims have yet to be independently verified. Whelan is currently in detention, awaiting trial on charges of espionage. Russian intelligence services have publicly stated that in the event of a guilty verdict, Whelan faces between 10 and 20 years in prison.

A German right to work from home in your pajamas?; Around 40 percent of Germans want to be able to work occasionally from home. German lawmakers want to make it mandatory for employers to offer workers the option of a home office. Germany’s Labor Ministry wants to require employers to allow staff to work from home, Ministry Secretary Björn Böhning said in an interview with Der Spiegel. According to the German news magazine, Böhning is planning an initiative compelling German companies to either allow their employees to work from home or justify why it is not possible.

US deploys troops to Gabon over possible DR Congo violence; Concerns are mounting that violence will erupt in DR Congo over last Sunday’s contested election. The vote was marred by delays, irregularities and voting problems. US President Donald Trump deployed 80 US military personnel to Gabon in response to possible violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo following a disputed election. In a letter to Congress, Trump said the troops were sent in response to “the possibility that violent demonstrations may occur” in DR Congo in reaction to the December 30 elections. The combat troops and supporting military aircraft would provide security to US citizens, personnel and diplomatic facilities in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa, should the need arise. “Additional forces may deploy to Gabon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, or the Republic of Congo, if necessary for these purposes. These deployed personnel will remain in the region until the security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo becomes such that their presence is no longer needed,” the letter stated.

Venezuela: Lima Group refuse to recognize Maduro mandate; Latin American governments have urged Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, not to take the oath of office. The Lima bloc have said they will not recognize his new term because last year’s election was “illegitimate.” The Lima Group of Latin American countries on Friday urged Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to abstain from being sworn in for a second term he won in elections widely condemned as illegitimate, and cede power until new elections can be held. The bloc said in a statement that they would not recognize Maduro’s socialist government after a meeting in the Peruvian capital to discuss how to step up international pressure on the Maduro regime. The meeting discussed Venezuela’s crisis ahead of Maduro’s plans to be sworn in on January 10. Mexico also partook but didn’t sign the statement.

Italian mayors rebel against Salvini migrant laws; Several left-wing mayors in Italy have refused to obey the “anti-migrant” policies of interior minister, Matteo Salvini. The right-wing leader has spearheaded a move to tighten asylum laws. The mayors of several Italian cities on Friday said they were refusing to obey Italy’s new anti-migrant law. The so-called Salvini decree strips humanitarian protection for migrants not approved for refugee status, but who cannot be deported. The left-wing “rebel” mayors condemned the new legislation — which makes it easier to expel new arrivals and limits residence permits — as unconstitutional. The “Salvini decree” also abolished humanitarian protection permits granted to people who didn’t qualify for asylum, but for whom it was too dangerous to return home. Italy was the only EU member state offering the two-year permits which allowed vulnerable people to live in state-run reception centers and access training and educational programs and find work.

France to tackle English Channel migrant crossings; Hundreds of people have tried to cross the English Channel from France to the United Kingdom in recent weeks. The crossings have caused a headache for the UK government. France will increase police patrols and surveillance along its northern coast to tackle an uptick in the number of people trying to illegally cross the English Channel to the United Kingdom, France’s interior ministry said on Friday. More than 500 people, many of whom are from Iran, tried to cross the Channel in 2018, with most crossings occurring in the past two months. Under pressure to find a solution, the UK has stepped up marine patrols along its Channel coast. “It’s in our interest, as well as the United Kingdom’s, to do everything to prevent new networks (of people smugglers) developing, which would likely attract irregular migrants to our shores again,” the French Interior Ministry said.

FRANCE (France24)

Taiwan president calls for international support to defend democracy; Tsai’s comments came days after Chinese President Xi Jinping said nobody could change the fact that Taiwan was part of China, and that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should seek “reunification”. “We hope that the international community takes it seriously and can voice support and help us,” Tsai told reporters in Taipei, referring to threats by China to use force to bring Taiwan under its control. If the international community did not support a democratic country that was under threat, “we might have to ask which country might be next,?” Tsai added. Taiwan is China’s most sensitive issue and is claimed by Beijing as its sacred territory. Xi has stepped up pressure on the democratic island since Tsai from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party became president in 2016. President Xi said on Wednesday that China reserves the right to use force to bring Taiwan under its control but will strive to achieve peaceful “reunification” with the island. In response, Tsai has said the island would not accept a “one country, two systems” political arrangement with China, while stressing all cross-Strait negotiations needed to be carried out on a government-to-government basis. Tsai on Saturday also urged China to have a “correct understanding” of what Taiwanese think and said actions such as political bullying were unhelpful in cross-strait relations.

International pressure mounts on DR Congo as election deadline loom; Expectations are mounting that electoral overseers will delay publication of provisional results due by Sunday — a move likely to add to tensions in the notoriously unstable country. “The Democratic Republic of Congo is at a historic moment toward a democratic transition,” the European Union said. It called on the authorities “to ensure the upcoming results conform with the Congolese people’s vote”.


Thai junta: General election may be delayed; Thailand’s military government says it is considering delaying a general election scheduled for February by about a month to avoid potential conflicts with the upcoming royal coronation. On Tuesday, Thailand’s royal palace announced that King Maha Vajiralongkorn will be officially crowned in coronation ceremonies from May 4th through the 6th. The king ascended to the throne after the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej died in October of 2016. Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam noted on Friday that if the poll is held in February, the inauguration of parliament would overlap with the coronation and related events in May. The military government says the election commission will make a formal announcement on the election date. Major political parties and civic groups are reacting sharply to the possible delay. The military junta, which has been in power since a coup in May of 2014, has repeatedly delayed the election.

Ghosn set to make court appearance; Former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is set to appear in a court in Tokyo to hear the reason for his detention. NHK has learned that Ghosn’s lawyer filed a request with the Tokyo District Court on Friday for the legal step. The court is required to hold an open hearing within 5 days of such an application in principle. The detainee is allowed to state his opinions. Ghosn’s lawyer says the former Nissan chairman intends to appear in court. Ghosn was served a fresh arrest warrant on December 21st on suspicion of aggravated breach of trust. He allegedly had a Nissan subsidiary illicitly channel about 15 million dollars to a firm run by a Saudi Arabian businessman. The Saudi is said to have helped Ghosn obtain credit guarantees to cover his personal investment losses.

China to cut bank reserve requirement ratio; China’s central bank has announced more monetary easing in the form of cutting the minimum reserve level for commercial banks by a total of one percentage point. The People’s Bank of China said on Friday that reductions by 0.5 percentage points will be made on January 15th and again January 25th. The reserve requirement ratio refers to the percentage of cash that financial institutions are required to place in the central bank as reserves, against the amount of deposits they hold. Lowering the ratio is expected to boost lending. Bank officials say the measure will unleash 800 billion yuan, or about 116 billion dollars, into the market and effectively increase loan funding sources of small and private businesses. The announcement comes as concerns are growing over the effects of the trade conflict with the United States on the country’s economy. The Chinese government is stepping up support efforts. At the Central Economic Work Conference in December, Chinese leaders indicated their intention to enact further monetary easing measures.

Witchcraft Delusion In Colonial Connecticut 1647-1697: (1)

The true story of witchcraft in old Connecticut has never been told. It has been hidden in the ancient records and in manuscripts in private collections, and those most conversant with the facts have not made them known, for one reason or another. It is herein written from authoritative sources, and should prove of interest and value as a present-day interpretation of that strange delusion, which for a half century darkened the lives of the forefathers and foremothers of the colonial days.
J. M.T.
Hartford, Connecticut.

May it please yr Honble Court, we the Grand inquest now setting for the County of Fairefeild, being made sensable, not only by Common fame (but by testamonies duly billed to us) that the widow Mary Staple, Mary Harvey ye wife of Josiah Harvey & Hannah Harvey the daughter of the saide Josiah, all of Fairefeild, remain under the susspition of using witchecraft, which is abomanable both in ye sight of God & man and ought to be witnessed against. we doe therefore (in complyance to our duty, the discharge of our oathes and that trust reposed in us) presente the above entioned pssons to the Honble Court of Assistants now setting in Fairefeild, that they may be taken in to Custody & proceeded against according to their demerits.
Fairefeild, Fby, 1692 in behalfe of the Grnd Jury JOSEPH BASTARD, foreman]

“John Carrington thou art indited by the name of John Carrington of Wethersfield–carpenter–, that not hauing the feare of God before thine eyes thou hast interteined ffamilliarity with Sattan the great enemye of God and mankinde and by his helpe hast done workes aboue the course of nature for wch both according to the lawe of God and the established lawe of this Commonwealth thou deseruest to dye.”

Record Particular Court, 2: 17, 1650-51.
“Hugh Crotia, Thou Standest here presented by the name of Hugh Crotia of Stratford in the Colony of Connecticut in New England; for that not haueing the fear of God before thine Eyes, through the Instigation of the Devill, thou hast forsaken thy God & covenanted with the Devill, and by his help hast in a preternaturall way afflicted the bodys of Sundry of his Majesties good Subjects, for which according to the Law of God, and the Law of this Colony, thou deseruest to dye.”

Record Court of Assistants, 2: 16, 1693.
To George Corwin Gentlm high Sheriff of the County of Essex Greeting

Whereas Bridgett Bishop als Olliver the wife of Edward Bishop of Salem in the County of Essex Sawyer at a special Court of Oyer and Terminer —- (held at?)[B] Salem this second Day of this instant month of June for the Countyes of Essex Middlesex and Suffolk before William Stoughton Esqe. and his Associates Justices of the said Court was Indicted and arraigned upon five several Indictments for using practising & exercising on the —-[B] last past and divers others days —-[B] witchcraft in and upon the bodyes of Abigail Williams Ann puttnam Jr Mercy Lewis Mary Walcott and Elizabeth Hubbard of Salem Village single women; whereby their bodyes were hurt afflicted pined consumed wasted & tormented contrary to the forme of the statute in that case made and provided To which Indictmts the said Bridgett Bishop pleaded not guilty and for Tryall thereof put herselfe upon God and her Country —-[B] she was found guilty of the ffelonyes and Witchcrafts whereof she stood Indicted and sentence of death accordingly passed agt her as the Law directs execution whereof yet remaines to be done These are therefore in the name of their Majties William & Mary now King & Queen over England & to will and command you that upon Fryday next being the fourth day of this instant month of June between the hours of Eight and twelve in the aforenoon of the same day you safely conduct the sd Bridgett Bishop als Olliver from their Majties Goale in Salem aforesd to the place of execution and there cause her to be hanged by the neck until she be dead and of your doings herein make returne to the Clerk of the sd Court and precept And hereof you are not to faile at your peril And this shall be sufficient warrant Given under my hand & seal at Boston the Eighth of June in the ffourth year of the reigne of our Sovereigne Lords William & Mary now King & Queen over England Annoque Dm 1692 Wm. Stoughton

[Footnote A: Original in office of Clerk of the Courts at Salem, Massachusetts. Said to be the only one extant in American archives.]
[Footnote B: Some of the words in the warrant are illegible.]

June 16 1692
According to the within written precept I have taken the Bodye of the within named Bridgett Bishop out of their Majties Goale in Salem & Safely Conueighd her to the place provided for her Execution & Caused ye sd Bridgett to be hanged by the neck till Shee was dead all which was according to the time within Required & So I make returne by me
George Corwin

SOURCE: The Witchcraft Delusion In Colonial Connecticut 1647-1697: By John M. Taylor
(CG-NOTE: there are no type-o’s, is reproduced as written)

Deiokes; Rise of the Medes; Ancient Empires

As we have already seen, Sennacherib reigned for eight years after his triumph; eight years of tranquility at home, and of peace with all his neighbours abroad. If we examine the contemporary monuments or the documents of a later period, and attempt to glean from them some details concerning the close of his career, we find that there is a complete absence of any record of national movement on the part of either Elam, Urartu, or Egypt.

The only event of which any definite mention is made is a raid across the north of Arabia, in the course of which Hazael, King of Adumu, and chief among the princes of Kedar, was despoiled of the images of his gods. The older states of the Oriental world had, as we have pointed out, grown weary of warfare which brought them nothing but loss of men and treasure; but behind these states, on the distant horizon to the east and north-west, were rising up new nations whose growth and erratic movements assumed an importance that became daily more and more alarming. On the east, the Medes, till lately undistinguishable from the other tribes occupying the western corner of the Iranian table-land, had recently broken away from the main body, and, rallying round a single leader, already gave promise of establishing an empire formidable alike by the energy of its people and the extent of its domain. A tradition afterwards accepted by them attributed their earlier successes to a certain Deiokes, son of Phraortes, a man wiser than his fellows, who first set himself to deal out justice in his own household. The men of his village, observing his merits, chose him to be the arbiter of all their disputes, and, being secretly ambitious of sovereign power, he did his best to settle their differences on lines of the strictest equity and justice.

By these means he gained such credit with his fellow-citizens as to attract the attention of those who lived in the neighbouring villages, who had suffered from unjust judgments, so that when they heard of the singular uprightness of Deiokes and of the equity of his decisions they joyfully had recourse to him until at last they came to put confidence in no one else. The number of complaints brought before him continually increasing as people learnt more and more the justice of his judgments, Deiokes, finding himself now all-important, announced that he did not intend any longer to hear causes, and appeared no more in the seat in which he had been accustomed to sit and administer justice. “‘It was not to his advantage,’ he said, ‘to spend the whole day in regulating other men’s affairs to the neglect of his own.’ Hereupon robbery and lawlessness broke out afresh and prevailed throughout the country even more than heretofore; wherefore the Medes assembled from all quarters and held a consultation on the state of affairs. The speakers, as I think, were chiefly friends of Deiokes. ‘We cannot possibly,’ they said, ‘go on living in this country if things continue as they now are; let us, therefore, set a king over us, so that the land may be well governed, and we ourselves may be able to attend to our own affairs, and not be forced to quit our country on account of anarchy.’ After speaking thus, they persuaded themselves that they desired a king, and forthwith debated whom they should choose. Deiokes was proposed and warmly praised by all, so they agreed to elect him.”

Whereupon Deiokes had a great palace built, and enrolled a bodyguard to attend upon him. He next called upon his subjects to leave their villages, and “the Medes, obedient to his orders, built the city now called Ecbatana, the walls of which are of great size and strength, rising in circles one within the other. The walls are concentric, and so arranged that they rise one above the other by the height of their battlements. The nature of the ground, which is a gentle hill, favoured this arrangement. The number of the circles is seven, the royal palace and the treasuries standing within the last. The circuit of the outer wall is very nearly the same as that of Athens. Of this wall the battlements are white, of the next black, of the third scarlet, of the fourth blue, of the fifth orange. The two last have their battlements coated respectively with silver and gold. All these fortifications Deiokes caused to be raised for himself and his own palace; the people he required to dwell outside the citadel. When the town was finished, he established a rule that no one should have direct access to the king, but that all communications should pass through the hands of messengers. 

It was declared to be unseemly for any one to see the king face to face, or to laugh or spit in his presence. This ceremonial Deiokes established for his own security, fearing lest his compeers who had been brought up with him, and were of as good family and parts as he, should be vexed at the sight of him and conspire against him: he thought that by rendering himself invisible to his vassals they would in time come to regard him as quite a different sort of being from themselves.”

Two or three facts stand out from this legendary background. It is probable that Deiokes was an actual person; that the empire of the Medes first took shape under his auspices; that he formed an important kingdom at the foot of Mount Elvend, and founded Ecbatana the Great, or, at at any rate, helped to raise it to the rank of a capital.

[The existence of Deiokes has been called in question by Grote and by the Rawlinsons. Most recent historians, however, accept the story of this personage as true in its main facts; some believe him to have been merely the ancestor of the royal house which later on founded the united kingdom of the Medes. Its site was happily chosen, in a rich and fertile valley, close to where the roads emerge which cross the Zagros chain of mountains and connect Iran with the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, almost on the border of the salt desert which forms and renders sterile the central regions of the plateau. Mount Elvend shelters it, and feeds with its snows the streams that irrigate it, whose waters transform the whole country round into one vast orchard. The modern town has, as it were, swallowed up all traces of its predecessor; a stone lion, overthrown and mutilated, marks the site of the royal palace.]

The chronological reckoning of the native annalists, as handed down to us by Herodotus, credits Deiokes with a reign of fifty-three years, which occupied almost the whole of the first half of the seventh century, i.e. from 709 to 656, or from 700 to 647 B.C.

[Herodotus expressly attributes a reign of fifty-three years to his Deiokes, and the total of a hundred and fifty years which we obtain by adding together the number of years assigned by him to the four Median kings (53 + 22 + 40 + 35) brings us back to 709-708, if we admit, as he does, that the year of the proclamation by Cyrus as King of Persia     (559-558) was that in which Astyages was overthrown; we get 700-699 as the date of Deiokes’ accession, if we separate the two facts, as the monuments compel us to do, and reckon the hundred and fifty years of the Median empire from the fall of Astyages in 550-549.]

The records of Nineveh mention a certain Dayaukku who was governor of the Mannai, and an ally of the Assyrians in the days of Sargon, and was afterwards deported with his family to Hamath in 715; two years later reference is made to an expedition across the territory of Bit-Dayaukku, which is described as lying between Ellipi and Karalla, thus corresponding to the modern province of Hamadan. It is quite within the bounds of possibility that the Dayaukku who gave his name to this district was identical with the Deiokes of later writers.

[The form Deiokes, in place of Daiokes, is due to the Ionic dialect employed by Herodotus. Justi regards the name as an abbreviated form of the ancient Persian “Dahyaupati”–“the master of a province,” with the suffix “-ha”.]

He was the official ancestor of a royal house, a fact proved by the way in which his conqueror uses the name to distinguish the country over which he had ruled; moreover, the epoch assigned to him by contemporary chroniclers coincides closely enough with that indicated by tradition in the case of Deiokes. He was never the august sovereign that posterity afterwards made him out to be, and his territory included barely half of what constituted the province of Media in classical times; he contrived, however–and it was this that gained him universal renown in later days–to create a central rallying-point for the Median tribes around which they henceforth grouped themselves. The work of concentration was merely in its initial stage during the lifetime of Sennacherib, and little or nothing was felt of its effects outside its immediate area of influence, but the pacific character ascribed to the worthy Deiokes by popular legends, is to a certain extent confirmed by the testimony of the monuments: they record only one expedition, in 702, against Ellipi and the neighbouring tribes, in the course of which some portions of the newly acquired territory were annexed to the province of Kharkhar, and after mentioning this the annals have nothing further to relate during the rest of the reign. Sennacherib was too much taken up with his retaliatory measures against Babylon, or his disputes with Blam, to think of venturing on expeditions such as those which had brought Tiglath-pileser III. or Sargon within sight of Mount Bikni; while the Medes, on their part, had suffered so many reverses under these two monarchs that they probably thought twice before attacking any of the outposts scattered along the Assyrian frontier: nothing occurred to disturb their tranquillity during the early years of the seventh century, and this peaceful interval probably enabled Deiokes to consolidate, if not to extend, his growing authority.

But if matters were quiet, at all events on the surface, in this direction, the nations on the north and north-west had for some time past begun to adopt a more threatening attitude. That migration of races between Europe and Asia, which had been in such active progress about the middle of the second millennium before our era, had increased twofold in intensity after the rise of the XXth Egyptian dynasty, and from thenceforward a wave of new races had gradually spread over the whole of Asia Minor, and had either driven the older peoples into the less fertile or more inaccessible districts, or else had overrun and absorbed them.

Many of the nations that had fought against Ramses II. and Ramses III., such as the Uashasha, the Shagalasha, the Zakkali, the Danauna, and the Tursha, had disappeared, but the Thracians, whose appearance on the scene caused such consternation in days gone by, had taken root in the very heart of the peninsula, and had, in the course of three or four generations, succeeded in establishing a thriving state. The legend which traced the descent of the royal line back to the fabulous hero Ascanius proves that at the outset the haughty tribe of the Ascanians must have taken precedence over their fellows; it soon degenerated, however, and before long the Phrygian tribe gained the upper hand and gave its name to the whole nation.

[The name of this tribe was retained by a district afterwards included in the province of Bithynia, viz. Ascania, on the shores of the Ascanian lake: the distribution of place and personal names over the face of the country makes it seem extremely probable that Ascania and the early Ascanians occupied the whole of the region bounded on the north by the Propontis; in other words, the very country in which, according to Xanthus of Lydia, the Phrygians first established themselves after their arrival in Asia.]

Phrygia proper, the country first colonised by them, lay between Mount Dindymus and the river Halys, in the valley of the Upper Sangarios and its affluents: it was there that the towns and strongholds of their most venerated leaders, such as Midaion, Dorylaion, Gordiaion, Tataion, and many others stood close together, perpetuating the memory of Midas, Dorylas, Gordios, and Tatas. Its climate was severe and liable to great extremes of temperature, being bitterly cold in winter and almost tropical during the summer months; forests of oak and pine, however, and fields of corn flourished, while the mountain slopes favoured the growth of the vine; it was, in short, an excellent and fertile country, well fitted for the development of a nation of vinedressers and tillers of the soil. The slaying of an ox or the destruction of an agricultural implement was punishable by death, and legend relates that Gordios, the first Phrygian king, was a peasant by birth. His sole patrimony consisted of a single pair of oxen, and the waggon used by him in bringing home his sheaves after the harvest was afterwards placed as an offering in the temple of Cybele at Ancyra by his son Midas; there was a local tradition according to which the welfare of all Asia depended on the knot which bound the yoke to the pole being preserved intact.

Midas did not imitate his father’s simple habits, and the poets, after crediting him with fabulous wealth, tried also to make out that he was a conqueror. The kingdom expanded in all directions, and soon included the upper valley of the Masander, with its primeval sanctuaries, Kydrara, Colossae, and Kylsenae, founded wherever exhalations of steam and boiling springs betrayed the presence of some supernatural power. The southern shores of the Hellespont, which formed part of the Troad, and was the former territory of the Ascania, belonged to it, as did also the majority of the peoples scattered along the coast of the Euxine between the mouth of the Sangarios and that of the Halys; those portions of the central steppe which border on Lake Tatta were also for a time subject to it, Lydia was under its influence, and it is no exaggeration to say that in the tenth and eleventh centuries before our era there was a regular Phrygian empire which held sway, almost without a rival, over the western half of Asia Minor.

It has left behind it so few relics of its existence, that we can only guess at what it must have been in the days of its prosperity. Three or four ruined fortresses, a few votive stelae, and a dozen bas-reliefs cut on the faces of cliffs in a style which at first recalls the Hittite and Asianic carvings of the preceding age, and afterwards, as we come down to later times, betrays the influence of early Greek art. In the midst of one of their cemeteries we come upon a monument resembling the façade of a house or temple cut out of the virgin rock; it consists of a low triangular pediment, surmounted by a double scroll, then a rectangle of greater length than height, framed between two pilasters and a horizontal string-course, the centre being decorated with a geometrical design of crosses in a way which suggests the pattern of a carpet; a recess is hollowed out on a level with the ground, and filled by a blind door with rebated doorposts. Is it a tomb? The inscription carefully engraved above one side of the pediment contains the name of Midas, and seems to show that we have before us a commemorative monument, piously dedicated by a certain Ates in honour of the Phrygian hero.

SOURCE: History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, Volume 8 (of 12), by G. Maspero/Translated by M. L. McClure

Ancient Empires; Greco-Mesopotamian (Part 1)

SENNACHERIB (705-681 B.C.): Power Of Assyria At Its Zenith; Esarhaddon And Assur-Bani-Pal