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Fort Mills and other protected coastal defense positions could withstand naval and land-based artillery, but had little protection from the air strikes. With an assigned strength of 6, soldiers, the island was self-contained. It had a power plant, water desalination facility, a railroad, airfield, and housing. With an ever-tighter IJN blockade, the likelihood of reinforcement by surface shipping shrank with each passing day. Transports from Australia tried to reach Cebu where inter-island steamers could resupply Bataan and Corregidor, but only three out of six ships from Australia arrived in Cebu.

The Japanese sank or captured most of the inter-island transportation, or the crews scuttled their ships. Roosevelt and Marshall continued their efforts to send men and material to MacArthur, the problem was a lack of naval resources to break the Japanese blockade. Submarines and aircraft did manage to resupply Bataan, but they could not provide all of the requirements. MacArthur blamed Roosevelt, Marshall, and the Navy for abandoning him. MacArthur had held out against the Japanese and had attained a hero status in the eyes of the American public. Losing a major American possession, unlike Guam or Wake Island, was humiliating, but what might happen if Homma captured or killed MacArthur?

Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to leave the Philippines and take command of forces in Australia and the Southwest Pacific Area on February 22, though he did not leave at once. Navy PT boats circled in the bay looking for men blown to sea by the high wind. The 3d Battalion, 34th Infantry landed by boat at the lower east end of the island.

The infantrymen moved quickly to capture Malinta Hill and clear the lower end. By nightfall, Topside and Malinta Hill forces had linked up. A third battalion arrived by boat on 17 February. As clearing progressed, Japanese soldiers raced out of tunnels for hand-to-hand fighting.

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Others died detonating ammunition stored in tunnels under U. Americans fired 75mm howitzers point blank in order to eliminate entire bunkers. By 2 March, organized Japanese resistance was over, but individual stragglers continued to appear for weeks. Losses: U.

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Thank you for your feedback. It was certain to fail but was nonetheless the plan inherited by MacArthur, who intended to replace WPO-3 with a new plan, one of his first priorities when he took office in July. He insisted that defense of Manila Bay and Luzon required that the enemy be denied control of any of the southern islands. He successfully argued for a change to an active defense of all the islands in the Philippines.

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MacArthur's headquarters received word of the 7 December Pearl Harbor attack at on 8 December , but did not act immediately. The next day they struck at Cavite, the main naval base, causing heavy damage, and precipitating a naval retreat to bases in Java and Australia, 1, miles away. With MacArthur's air and naval defenses crippled, the Japanese made three preliminary landings on Luzon in the next weeks to secure airfields and to support the main landings to come.

On 22 December, Lt. Masaharu Homma's Japanese 14th Army came ashore at Lingayen Gulf, about miles north of Manila, with 80 ships and 43, troops, followed by units with tanks and artillery. The Philippine Scouts staged a heroic but futile defense, but the performance of the untrained and poorly equipped Philippine Army troops was the clearest sign of disaster. At the first appearance of the enemy, they broke and fled, disorganized to the rear.

MacArthur never publicly acknowledged the poor performance of the Army he had done so much to organize and train. In a few weeks, the Japanese had achieved aerial and naval supremacy in the Philippines, isolating MacArthur's force from Australia to the south and from Hawaii and the United States to the east. On Christmas Eve , more of Homma's forces landed to the southeast of Manila at Lamon Bay and began their advance toward the capital, preparing to crush the American-Philippine forces in a pincer maneuver, on the verge of total victory.

By 23 December , General MacArthur clearly understood the impending disaster. MacArthur had about 60, unreliable Philippine troops, 11, better trained Philippine Scouts, and 19, Americans against Homma's hardened and well equipped force descending upon them. To deny the Japanese victory over his troops, he ordered the withdrawal of forces on Luzon to the Bataan Peninsula, a tongue of land in southwest Luzon forming the northwestern boundary of Manila Bay See map at top of page.

World War II: Battle of Corregidor

Manila was declared an open city on 26 December to spare its destruction, but the Japanese bombed and shelled it anyway. Jonathan M.


Wainwright remained on Luzon, commanding the ground force. The withdrawal to Bataan proceeded quickly and in remarkably good order, streaming in from all parts of Luzon. Near the town of San Fernando, all forces had to pass through a single intersection and down one narrow road to reach the Bataan peninsula. By sheer good luck, the Japanese failed to take advantage of their air superiority to attack the defenders at this vulnerable choke point.

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Wainwright staged a tough ground defense at San Fernando, holding the line to allow an orderly movement of all troops into Bataan by 6 January The hasty withdrawal left most supplies and equipment behind, supplies that had been dispersed from their original depots in Bataan and Corregidor to support MacArthur's broad defense plan. Now with trucks in short supply, roads congested, and time short, resupply of the Bataan and Corregidor strongholds was impossible.

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The resulting lack of food, ammunition, weapons, and medical supplies would prove to be the critical factors in the coming months. The plan for Bataan called for two defensive lines. The first extended across the peninsula from Mauban in the west to Mabatang in the east.