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How long to you think that MacArthur could have held out in the Philippines?

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  • How long to you think that MacArthur could have held out in the Philippines?

    How long do you think that MacArthur could have held out in the Philippines?
    Best case scenerio. Had MacArthur not tried to be a modern day Caesar, but instead heeded to the dictates of War Plan Orange III and immediately withdrawn his forces into Bataan along with all of his Quartermaster Stores, ammunition, weapons, medicine, fuel and other logistical necessaries with him, how long could he have held out against the Japanese and how long before the profound embarrassment of the US not going to the USAFFE Forces relief would begin to sink in to the American public? I wonder if, had the Philippines Islands held out well into 1942, would the US War strategy have been changed, with a much more aggressive war policy towards the seizure of Japanese bases leading up towards the PI, using Army Divisions originally slated for North Africa?

    I read that millions of pounds of harvested rice were sitting idly in railroad cars throughout Luzon, but were prevented from moving into Bataan because of Philippine Governmental restrictions prohibitting the shipment of rice from one provence to another. Had they been sent into Bataan, those rations could have kept the USAFFE troops there much more well fed, battle fit and for a much longer period of time
    "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

  • #2
    This has been raised in several discussion boards in various forms in the past couple years. On ACG too I'm sure.

    My take is Mac did not have the transportation or funds for relocating the necessary supply to Battan. What resources he had were entirely used up by the need to house, feed, equip, and train the Phillpines army, and later the arriving reinforcements from the US.

    Was there even a railroad into Battan? Could the small fishing ports of Battan handle a significant amount of arriving cargo?

    Perhaps if the necessary warehouses and transportation had been provided a year, or six months, earlier. But, that would require some fundamental changes in the perception of the senior US leaders, and transfering the resources from some other critical mobilization task.

    Aside: Both Mac and the Secretary of War placed a lot of faith in the ability of the Army Air Forces to turn away an invasion fleet.

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    • #3
      Great Concept.

      My conclusion based on the facts presented is that they might have been able to hold out for another three months or so. That's not based on any military knowledge since I am a life long civilian They may have had the supplies to hold out for six months or more. The defensive positions envisioned in the defense of Bataan would have caused massive Japanese losses. While MacArthur only had one division of Americans (12th), he had over 100,000 Filipinos that would have fought ferociously to defend their homeland.
      The problem is that the Japanese would have gained complete control of the air and sea surrounding Bataan. The constant bombardment would have deduced
      the defenders ability to resist after a few months. Like Paulus at Stalingrad, MacArthur would have watched as thousands of his men were blasted into oblivion each week. As far as any attempt to aid the defenders; the US lacked the ability and the resources to do so. The Americans had committed to a "Hitler first" battle plan with Britain and the Soviets. A prolonged fight on Bataan would not change that.
      Since there was no hope of evacuation,resupply or reinforcement; the question is ultimately academic. The American/ Filipino forces might have been able to hold out till late 1942. It really doesn't matter. It was a situation we could not win. Two years later, we were able to take back the Philippines after some of the hardest fighting of the war.
      God Save The Republic.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by regulator4 View Post
        My conclusion based on the facts presented is that they might have been able to hold out for another three months or so. That's not based on any military knowledge since I am a life long civilian They may have had the supplies to hold out for six months or more. The defensive positions envisioned in the defense of Bataan would have caused massive Japanese losses. While MacArthur only had one division of Americans (12th), he had over 100,000 Filipinos that would have fought ferociously to defend their homeland.
        The problem is that the Japanese would have gained complete control of the air and sea surrounding Bataan. The constant bombardment would have deduced
        the defenders ability to resist after a few months. Like Paulus at Stalingrad, MacArthur would have watched as thousands of his men were blasted into oblivion each week. As far as any attempt to aid the defenders; the US lacked the ability and the resources to do so. The Americans had committed to a "Hitler first" battle plan with Britain and the Soviets. A prolonged fight on Bataan would not change that.
        Since there was no hope of evacuation,resupply or reinforcement; the question is ultimately academic. The American/ Filipino forces might have been able to hold out till late 1942. It really doesn't matter. It was a situation we could not win. Two years later, we were able to take back the Philippines after some of the hardest fighting of the war.
        True execept for a few points. During the Philippine Islands Campaign, at no time did the Japanese enjoy overwhelming superiority in manpower and artillery. It was starvation and disease that defeated the USAFFE Forces in the Philippines not the prowess of the invading Japanese powers.

        Had the guidelines of WPOIII been followed, then the final outcome would have most probably been the same, but it would have been at least six months later and alot of Japanese soldiers would have been eliminated from the entire subject.
        "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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        • #5
          MacArthur

          Originally posted by johnbryan View Post
          True execept for a few points. During the Philippine Islands Campaign, at no time did the Japanese enjoy overwhelming superiority in manpower and artillery. It was starvation and disease that defeated the USAFFE Forces in the Philippines not the prowess of the invading Japanese powers.

          Had the guidelines of WPOIII been followed, then the final outcome would have most probably been the same, but it would have been at least six months later and alot of Japanese soldiers would have been eliminated from the entire subject.
          Thanks for the information. Why did MacArthur deviate from the War Plan? Was he under political pressure from the Filipinos and the US Governor to defend Manila even though it was hopeless? I know he has been criticized for not effectively using his air power. Was "Dugout Doug" guilty of incompetence or dereliction of duty? In your opinion , is any criticism of MacArthur justified based on the evidence?
          God Save The Republic.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by regulator4 View Post
            Thanks for the information. Why did MacArthur deviate from the War Plan? Was he under political pressure from the Filipinos and the US Governor to defend Manila even though it was hopeless? I know he has been criticized for not effectively using his air power. Was "Dugout Doug" guilty of incompetence or dereliction of duty? In your opinion , is any criticism of MacArthur justified based on the evidence?
            In retrospect, it was his only realistic chance. He potentially had ten understrength and largely untrained Filippino Divisions plus the elite, Philippine Scouts Division to destroy any Japanese invasion, but in reality, only his Philippine Scouts were in any condition to repel any invasion.
            "Profanity is but a linguistic crutch for illiterate motherbleepers"

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