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  • Defense of the Philippines

    Most know the tragic story of the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese in World War II. Given that hind-sight is twenty-twenty, what do you think could have been done differently, if anything, to have saved the American and Philippino garrison from surrender? Or, more to the point, what could have been done differently before and during the seige.

  • #2
    Given the information they were working with at that time, I'm not sure different choices would have made for more positive results.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by 11bgod
      Given the information they were working with at that time, I'm not sure different choices would have made for more positive results.
      That is my view also. Based on information I've read about that area of operations, it was pretty much a "hold as long as you can and we'll see you when we see you".

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      • #4
        Re: Defense of the Philippines

        Originally posted by sgreen23
        Most know the tragic story of the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese in World War II. Given that hind-sight is twenty-twenty, what do you think could have been done differently, if anything, to have saved the American and Philippino garrison from surrender? Or, more to the point, what could have been done differently before and during the seige.
        A primary cause of the surrender at Bataan was the near starvation diet the men were forced to endure.

        There were warehouses in Manila stocked with enough food to feed the Army in Bataan for over a year. A large bulk of these supplies fell into Japanese hands. If proper planning had been carried out and those supplies moved to the peninsula, they could at least have held out longer.
        Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

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        • #5
          Re: Defense of the Philippines

          Originally posted by sgreen23
          Most know the tragic story of the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese in World War II. Given that hind-sight is twenty-twenty, what do you think could have been done differently, if anything, to have saved the American and Philippino garrison from surrender? Or, more to the point, what could have been done differently before and during the seige.
          Interesting questions! But I see one option missing -- given the hindsight that we have, might we have chosen some means of evacuation? At least some portion of our military force may have been evacuated. Another option would have been to "go guerilla" earlier than we did, or at least make some decent plans for a guerilla war rather than doing it on the fly as we did.

          My hindsight is not quite 20/20 though, so I'm not sure how an evacuation could have been done. Using major ships or a la Dunkirk?
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          • #6
            Re: Re: Defense of the Philippines

            Originally posted by Tigersqn
            A primary cause of the surrender at Bataan was the near starvation diet the men were forced to endure.

            There were warehouses in Manila stocked with enough food to feed the Army in Bataan for over a year. A large bulk of these supplies fell into Japanese hands. If proper planning had been carried out and those supplies moved to the peninsula, they could at least have held out longer.

            Another thing...if the Americans and Phillipinos could have held out longer (say with the food stocks), the Japanese were about to give in by their own admission.


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            • #7
              Food and supplies do seem to be the major turning point in the defense of the Philippines. Even if they had enough of each, I think that it would have only prolonged to inevitable. According to the Japanese plan, the Philippines were a strategic target that needed to be taken at all cost.

              As for evacuation of the defenders, the Navy was correct in stating that it was impossible at the time. With the Pacific fleet out of action, there would be no way for them to escort troop ships through Japanese controlled waters.

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              • #8
                Phillippine AF

                I seem to recall that the Japanese were worried because their air attack on the islands from Formosa was delayed due to bad weather and they expected their fields to be hit by B-17s in return. However, no American attack was launched & most of the American planes were destroyed on the ground.

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                • #9
                  Re: Phillippine AF

                  Originally posted by Kalax
                  I seem to recall that the Japanese were worried because their air attack on the islands from Formosa was delayed due to bad weather and they expected their fields to be hit by B-17s in return. However, no American attack was launched & most of the American planes were destroyed on the ground.
                  Quite true McArthur made no attempt to attack Formosa, nor did he disperse his aircraft to prevent them from being easily destroyed. He was operating as though he believed that the Japanese wouldn't dare attack him. Then he screamed that the navy didn't come to rescue him, this despite the fact that as the army chief of staff he had signed off on the last orange plan that said that the Philippines would be abandoned.
                  Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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                  • #10
                    Re: Re: Defense of the Philippines

                    Originally posted by Tigersqn
                    A primary cause of the surrender at Bataan was the near starvation diet the men were forced to endure.

                    There were warehouses in Manila stocked with enough food to feed the Army in Bataan for over a year. A large bulk of these supplies fell into Japanese hands. If proper planning had been carried out and those supplies moved to the peninsula, they could at least have held out longer.
                    The reason why these food stocks fell into Jap hands was because Manila was declared an "Open City", by who I don't know.
                    "To know the weapons the enemy has is already to beat them!"

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                    • #11
                      Dispersal of food stocks from a central location (ie, Manila) could have delayed the inevitable, but the distance between the Phillippines and any allied assistance made either resupply or evacuation unrealistic.
                      Lance W.

                      Peace through superior firepower.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Defense of the Philippines

                        Originally posted by sgreen23
                        Most know the tragic story of the fall of the Philippines to the Japanese in World War II. Given that hind-sight is twenty-twenty, what do you think could have been done differently, if anything, to have saved the American and Philippino garrison from surrender? Or, more to the point, what could have been done differently before and during the seige.
                        There were plans to increase both ground and air forces, though no naval as far as I know. Even with MacArthur's regular requests, the Philppines were no high priority. Given the lay of the land, I don't think that any reasonable reinforcement would have made much difference, though four to six squadrons of fighters, and some torpedo planes (to hit landing ships and supporting ships), would have went a long way for allowing the ground forces to conducts ops without constant harassment from the air.
                        Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
                        (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

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                        • #13
                          Re: Re: Defense of the Philippines

                          Originally posted by hogdriver
                          There were plans to increase both ground and air forces, though no naval as far as I know. Even with MacArthur's regular requests, the Philppines were no high priority. Given the lay of the land, I don't think that any reasonable reinforcement would have made much difference, though four to six squadrons of fighters, and some torpedo planes (to hit landing ships and supporting ships), would have went a long way for allowing the ground forces to conducts ops without constant harassment from the air.
                          Wouldn’t have mattered MacArthur would have let those planes be destroyed on the ground too.:sleep:
                          Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Aubrey's Pet
                            The reason why these food stocks fell into Jap hands was because Manila was declared an "Open City", by who I don't know.

                            Shortly before the Japanese attacks in Dec '41, MacArthur had ordered Gen Wainwright to put together a Corps to allow Allied forces to meet the Japanese on the beaches of Lingayen Gulf, completely dislocating the Allied strategy in the Phillipines up to that point.
                            Gen Wainwright was none to happy to discover that his allotted forces existed on paper only. The bulk of the men assigned to his command(what little there were) had no training.

                            Because of this new strategy, no food stocks were sent to the Bataan Peninsula. When Wainwright's defences broke down on the road to Clark Field, it was already too late to take the appropriate measures.
                            Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

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                            • #15
                              I read somewhere a folowing phone conversation between some Phiflipinian and an US officer from Manila....

                              Philipinian:- I see a japanise ship unlodaing in the Harbor and some jap soldiers in the town.
                              Us Officer:- Hold on
                              Philipinian:- Hey there is over 300 japs in the town now... weait they are comeing here.
                              US Officer:-Weait a minute
                              Philipinian:-Hey they are near the station now lead by some fat jap officer what schuld i do???
                              US Officer:-Go ask what the want...
                              Philipinian:-They demand i give them a train to Manila
                              US Officer:-Ok so tell them the train leaves next Sunday and don't give them the Train....

                              from this i judge that most of the Us offciers were totaly green and didn't exactly knew what their are doing... any way there is no chance that the Philipines would be defended as Japanese could easly cut them from supply and any help at all...

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