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  < Back to Table Of Contents  < Back to Topic: They Served

article number 753
article date 04-18-2019
copyright 2019 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
Agonizing Situation in the Philippines, Early 1942, Part 2: Official Reports From Washington
by Office of Government Reports
   

OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS
WASHINGTON, D. C.
A WEEK OF THE WAR

JANUARY 1, 1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

Army Communique No. 41, the situation 9:30 a.m. today, said “Advance elements of Japanese troops entered Manila at 3 p.m., January 2, 1942 (Manila time). It is reported that these troops were limited to a size necessary for police duties and maintenance of order.

All American and Philippine troops were withdrawn from the city several days ago and all defense installations were removed or destroyed. Many of the wounded American and Philippine soldiers were evacuated from the Manila area on December 31, 1941, and are now en route to Australia.”

Navy Communique No. 23, the situation 11 a. m. today, said "The U. S. Naval Base (ships and personnel) at Cavite was evacuated before the enemy entered Manila. All records, equipment and stores that were not destroyed by bombing were removed prior to evacuation by Naval personnel. All industrial and supply facilities, including fuel, were destroyed. The personnel of the Naval hospital remained at their posts at the Naval hospital, Canacao, to care for the wounded.”

Army Communique No. 41 also said: “The loss of Manila, while serious, has not lessened the resistance to the Japanese attacks. American and Philippine troops are occupying strong positions north of the city and are holding the fortified island of Corregidor and the other defenses of Manila Bay effectively, preventing use of this harbor by the enemy. . .

"The tactical situation in the vicinity of Manila necessitated a radical readjustment of the lines held by American and Philippine troops and consolidation of defense forces north of Manila. This maneuver was successfully accomplished in the face of strong enemy opposition. The consequent shortening of our lines necessarily uncovered the road to Manila and made possible the Japanese entrance into the city. As it had been previously declared an open city, no close defense within the environs of the city was possible. . .

“During the past twenty-four hours there has been heavy fighting on the ground with repeated enemy attacks from the north. Japanese air activity is somewhat less in intensity than for several days. A landing of a small enemy force was effected at Jolo in the Sulu Archipelago in the south of the Philippine group."

Earlier, Secretary Stimson told his press conference the Army had known for years defense of the Philippines would be an uphill fight, but the handling of the Far Eastern Forces by General MacArthur was “masterful” and there was every reason to believe that our men were inflicting heavy losses on the invaders, who overwhelmingly outnumber them.

Mr. Stimson said recent reports that Japanese soldiers were mostly poorly-trained and inefficiently armed youths, was "erroneous" and “the cold truth is that they are well-equipped and well-trained. They are short, stocky and. well-disciplined fighters.”

   
President Franklin D. Roosevelt give the State of the Union Address, January 1942.

JANUARY 2, 1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

General MacArthur had earlier in the week declared Manila an open city, following which the “enemy mercilessly bombed” it, using 63 bombers. He reported the damage was severe and included all types of civilian installations, such as churches, the Cathedral, hospitals, convents, business and private dwellings. He said before the city was declared open and antiaircraft defense evacuated, the enemy had abstained from attempted bombing of anything except military installations.

During the week combat operations in the southeast, in the general vicinity of Lamon Bay, were very heavy. The enemy was continually reinforced from fleets of troopships in Lingayen Gulf and off Atimonan and enemy air activity was heavy over all fronts. A bombing attack on Corregidor on December 29 resulted in 27 killed and 80 wounded. Hawaii, Maui and Kauai were shelled by the enemy causing only slight damage.

JANUARY 9, 1912 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

Army communiques during the week reported five attacks on Corregidor Island in Manila Bay by enemy planes in groups of 21 to 60. Casualties included 13 dead and 35 wounded and American anti-aircraft guns shot down at least 18 Japanese planes and probably more. Gen. MacArthur reported heavy fighting on Luzon daring the week, but said a contemplated Japanese pincers strategy failed.

   
Boeing P-26 fighter in the Philippines.

JANUARY 16,1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

Army Communique No. 62, the situation 9:30 a. m. today, said in the Philippine theatre, “ground fighting of varying intensity continues all along the .frontline. Enemy shock troops with special training are attempting aggressive infiltration.

Attack planes and dive bombers are being used incessantly by the Japanese against our front line troops and artillery positions.

Many reports. . . indicate that the enemy is systematically looting and devastating the entire countryside.”

An earlier communique announced safe arrival at Darwin, Australia, of the U. S. Army hospital ship Mactan carrying soldiers and sailors wounded in action in the Philippines.

Throughout the week Gen. MacArthur reported heavy land and air fighting in the Philippines but said American and Philippine troops were putting up effective resistance, and U. S. losses were low.

JANUARY 23, 1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

Army Communique No. 71, the situation at 9:30 a.m. today, said. Gen. MacArthur’s forces have repulsed continuous heavy attacks by reinforced Japanese units on the Bataan Peninsula and have inflicted large losses on them. The Communique said “Apparently the enemy has adopted a policy of continuous assaults, without regard to casualties, hoping by great superiority in numbers to crush the defending forces. . .

Reports from Mindanao disclose that the Japanese troops occupying Davao have organized a local military force composed of some 10,000 Japanese residents of that community.

Previously the Army reported the entire Japanese 14th Army, under Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma, together with a number of other units, was in Luzon.

Earlier in the week the Army announced six American Army bombers sank a Japanese cruiser and a large tanker 100 miles off Jolo, and U. S. forces shot down 16 enemy planes in the Philippines. The U. S. lost two bombers.

JANUARY 30, 1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

Army Communique No. 84, the situation at 9:30 a.m. today, said the Japanese are making heavy reinforcements in the Philippines, apparently in preparation for resumption of a large scale offensive against Gen. MacArthur’ s forces on the Bataan Peninsula. A message from Gen.

MacArthur to the President said “Today, January 30, the anniversary of your birth, smoke-begrimed men, covered with the marks of battle, rise from the fox holes of Bataan and the batteries of Corregidor to pray reverently that God may bless immeasurably the President of the United States.”

During the past week, the Army reported heavy fighting on the Bataan Peninsula with Gen. MacArthur continuing to hold strong positions despite the overwhelming superiority of air, sea and landpower of the enemy.

A U. S. torpedo boat entered Subic Bay and sank a 5,000-ton enemy vessel. The U. S. forces also destroyed 2 enemy planes, hit 3, and disabled 1 other in the Philippines.

   
Patrol Boat Q-113 of the Philippine "Offshore Patrol" practices, 1941.

FEBRUARY 6, 1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

Army Communique No. 93, the situation at 9:30 a.m. today, said fire from U. S. fortifications destroyed Japanese gun emplacements on southeastern shore of Manila Bay. “These artillery positions were presumably designed by the enemy for an attack against Corregidor.

Nine Japanese transports are at ports in Lingayen Gulf, debarking troops to reinforce the already very large enemy concentration in Bataan and other points on. . . Luzon.” In earlier reports, the Army stated Gen. MacArthur’s troops had repulsed continuous heavy attacks by the enemy throughout the week.

FEBRUARY 13, 1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

Army Communique No. 105, the situation at 9:30 a.m. today, said “Aggressive enemy patrol action characterized sporadic fighting in Bataan during the past 24 hours.” Two enemy dive bombers were shot down by our anti-aircraft guns.

FEBRUARY 13, 1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

The Communique said “Japanese dive bombers mistakenly bombed and machine-gunned their own infantry with heavy casualties.”

In Communique No. 104, the situation at 5 p.m. February 12, Gen. MacArthur and advised the War Department the Japanese military authorities in the Philippines have forbidden publication and distribution of all reading matter without their permission under pain of severe punishment.

February 20, 1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

Starting Saturday, February 28, "Office of Government Reports, "A Week of the War" will be issued every Saturday night and will summarize developments during the previous seven days. The "Information Digest" will be issued daily Monday through Friday.

Army Communique No. 116, the situation at 9:30 a.m. today, reported “positional fighting continues on all sections of the front in Bataan. Enemy airplanes dropped a number of incendiary bombs on installations behind our lines. An examination of these bombs discloses that the Japanese are using white phosphorous a incendiary filler.”

Throughout the week, Gen. MacArthur reported continuous fighting on Bataan and battery attacks on the fortifications.

FEBRUARY 28, 1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

The President said the Japanese have been at an “obvious initial advantage” geographically and therefore have been able to encircle the Philippines. “It is that complete encirclement, with control of the air by Japanese land-based aircraft, which has prevented us from sending substantial reinforcements of men and material to the gallant defenders of the Philippines. . . The defense put up by General MacArthur has magnificently exceeded the previous estimates” of possible defense of the Islands.

Army Communique No. 128, the situation at 9:30 a.m. today, reported fighting has lessened in Bataan. . . Gen. MacArthur’ s troops are holding advance positions taken during the last few days of combat.

The forward elements of our troops are holding a line which extends from slightly north of Abucay on Manila Bay across the Bataan Peninsula to a point on the China Sea midway between Bagac and Moron. The Japanese are still holding their main battle positions.”

   
President Franklin D. Roosevelt gives a radio talk.

MARCH 21, 1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

Gen. Douglas MacArthur, arriving at Melbourne, Australia, said “I have great confidence in the ultimate success of our joint forces. But success in modern war requires more than courage — it requires careful preparation. . . My success or failure will depend on the primary resources which the respective governments can place at our disposal. My confidence in them is complete.”

He said before he left the Philippines, his men promised him they would defend their positions to the last.

Gen. MacArthur arrived in Australia from Corregidor by plane March 17 accompanied by a staff of officers, to assume Supreme Command of the forces in that region, including the Philippine Islands.

The President directed transfer of his headquarters at the request of the Australian Government. Lt. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright succeeded Gen. MacArthur in command of American troops on Bataan. Lt. Gen. George H. Brett was appointed Deputy Supreme Commander, Chief of the Allied Southwest Pacific Air Forces, and Commander of the Air Forces of Australia and the U. S. operating in Australia.

MARCH 28, 1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

Philippine High Commissioner Sayre, in Washington, said he would try to get a relief ship through to bring food to 2,000 Americans still in Manila and to carry out the sick and wounded. He said most U. S. currency in Manila was destroyed after careful inventory before the enemy took the city, and large amounts of gold and securities have been removed from the Philippines.

FSA Administrator McNutt, in a broadcast to the Philippines, said the Japanese have been “thunderstruck and terrified” by the transfer of Gen. MacArthur which was for the ultimate purpose of bringing back a vast army to drive the Japanese from their position in the Far East.

APRIL 4, 1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

Army Communique No. 175, the situation at 9:30 a.m. today, reported air raids on Corregidor continued and the U. S. anti-aircraft artillery shot down two heavy Japanese bombers and probably damaged two others.

“In Bataan the enemy laid down a heavy artillery fire for three hours during the afternoon of April 3. . . It was assumed that it was preliminary to a ground attack. However, no attack developed.” The Communique also reported patrols were active on both sides, with several sharp encounters.

APRIL 11, 1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

Gen. Wainwright reported all communications between Corregidor and Bataan have been cut, but fighting on the peninsula has evidently ceased. Corregidor, free from attack from April 4 to 8, when Japanese pressure on
Bataan was at its height, was heavily bombarded from the air and Japanese shore batteries on Bataan April 9, 10 and 11.

The navy Department said most of the Marines and Navy personnel on Bataan, comprising about one-third of the American regulars there, successfully evacuated to Corregidor.

Army Communique No. 185 at 9:30 a.m. today said the Japanese are landing about 12,000 troops against stubborn American-Filipino resistance on the Island of Cebu. U. S. forces are still fighting on Mindanao and the Visayan Islands and American naval guerilla units are still operating in the sea lanes between the more than 4,000 islands of the Philippines.

Secretary Stimson told a press conference Bataan was defended by about 36,000 troops, including a comparatively small force of U. S. Army Regulars, about 2,000 Air Corps personnel who were converted to infantry men after their air equipment was lost, a small force of Marines and other Navy personnel, and Filipino troops and scouts. About 20,000 refugees from Manila and 5,000 Filipino laborers were also on Bataan.

War Secretary Stimson said the Bataan defenders, though well supplied with arms and ammunition, had been on short rations since January 11.

   
General Wainwright, left with General MacArthur, right.

APRIL 18, 1942 -OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

Army Communique No. 197 reported at 9:30 a.m. today Cebu City is burning and is in enemy hands, but heavy fighting continues in the vicinity of the city.

Gen. Wainwright said earlier “Corregidor can and will be held.” He reported Corregidor was bombed more than 70 times between April 9 and April 18 and shelled regularly by Japanese shore batteries on Bataan and at Cavite, but damage to military installations has been slight and morale is unimpaired.

American guns returning enemy fire have sunk one enemy ship and several small vessels, destroyed truck columns, ammunition dumps and enemy shore batteries.

Elsewhere in the Philippines, the Japanese landed troops on Panay and heavy fighting continues there, as well as in the Digos area on Mindanao, and in modern Luzon where American and Filipino guerillas ambushed a Japanese column early in the week.

Gen. Wainwright said an estimated 35,000 American and Filipino combatant troops, several thousand non-combatant troops, about 25,000 civilians and 5,536 sick and wounded in Bataan hospitals are on Bataan and presumably in the hands of the Japanese.

Secretary Stimson told his press conference Japanese forces in the Philippines, so far as known, were abiding by the rules of war laid down by the Geneva Conference.

Army Communiques reported 13 Australia-based American bombers, in a 14,000 mile round trip raid on Japanese installations in the Philippines, sank one Japanese freighter and three transports and damaged four additional transports, shot down five enemy planes and destroyed several others on the ground. They also damaged Japanese docks, warehouses, hangars and airport facilities.

Gen. MacArthur’s headquarters in Australia reported raids by American planes on Japanese-held ports in the Southwest Pacific damaged two large Japanese ships, destroyed or damaged 25 planes and damaged military installations at four invasion bases.

   
Prisoner of Japs. Kay Walter, bride of Henry (Buddy) Walter, a marine sergeant, is a prisoner of Japanese after her capture in Manila. Her Husband was reported missing after Corregidor. (picture from ’Yank’ magazine.)

APRIL 25, 1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

An Army Communique on April 21 reported two American torpedo boats attacked a Japanese cruiser and four destroyers near Cebu, leaving the cruiser damaged and in a sinking condition. One torpedo boat was beached in the action and lost.

Gen. MacArthur’ s Headquarters in Australia reported on April 20 American and Australian bombers attacked Japanese-held Rabaul destroying several heavy bombers and four Japanese fighters on the ground and damaging runways, hangars, a medium sized ship and several small vessels.

Communiques early in the week reported continued heavy bombardment of Corregidor and other U. S. forts in Manila Bay by Japanese siege guns. Counter-fire from the U. S. forts silenced probably eight enemy batteries and damaged a heavy bomber.

The Japanese were reported advancing in Panay and Cebu against continued stiff resistance.

A Communique of April 20 said the Japanese were reportedly making an aerial reconnaissance of the Island of Negros, and said raiding American-Filipino guerillas in northern Luzon inflicted heavy damages and casualties on Japanese outposts.

MAY 2, 1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR

Gen. MacArthur’s headquarters also reported on May 1 Japanese bombers attacked Corregidor 12 times, after previous reports indicated a gradual lessening of the number and intensity of aerial attacks on the Island during the early part of the week.

A Communique on April 27 said Corregidor experienced its 250th air raid alarm. Japanese siege guns in Cavite and Bataan continued intermittent heavy shelling of the U. S. forts in Manila Bay.

U. S. gunners in the Bay forts shot down five bombers and damaged two others, sank an armed Japanese vessel, silenced, several enemy batteries, and scored hits on troop and truck columns and supply dumps.

Elsewhere in the Philippines only reported changes from the situation of a week ago were an enemy movement toward the southern end of the Cagayan valley on Luzon, and an increase of Japanese naval strength off the Visayan Islands.

MAY 9, 1942 - OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT REPORTS - A WEEK OF THE WAR
(No more weekly reports mention actions in the Philippines.)

   
Cover of ’Yank’ magazine, June 17,1942. F.D.R. ’Why We Fight’ headline with ’U.S. gun battery in Australia ready for foe’ picture.
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