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    Japan needed to quickly occupy the Philippines to remove the threat of a US presence to their planned occupation of resource-rich territories in Malaya and the Netherlands East Indies. Air attacks, which were simultaneous with Pearl Harbor, quickly destroyed US air capabilities. General Honma’s 14th Army began landings from 10 December. By the end of the month, General MacArthur’s forces were retreating to the Bataan Peninsula, where they held out until May. The Philippines were finally in Japanese hands by 9 June.

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Campaign name

Philippines campaign

Campaign dates

8 December 1941 9 June 1942

Campaign codename

M Operation

Campaign overview

Frame 1Dec 1941 – Jun 1942
Gen Honma’s 14th Army, supported by Vice Adm Takahashi’s 3rd Fleet, was responsible for invading and occupying the Philippines.
Frame 28–10 Dec 1941
Aircraft from the army’s 5th Air Division and the navy’s 11th Air Fleet attack Iba Field, Clark Field, and other airfields on Luzon.
Frame 310 Dec 1941
The Tanaka and Kanno Detachments from the 48th Division land at Aparri and Vigan, in northern Luzon.
Frame 412 Dec 1941
The Kimura Detachment from the 16th Division lands unopposed at Legaspi, then pushes north bound for Manila.
Frame 520 Dec 1941
The Sakaguchi Detachment from Palau lands at Davao bay. It encounters little resistance and occupies defensive positions around the city.
Frame 622–24 Dec 1941
The main force of Honma’s army lands in three waves along the Lingayen Gulf and commences the main push south for Manila.
Frame 724 Dec 1941
The main strength of the 16th Division lands at Lamon Bay, to join with the Kimura Detachment advancing north from Legaspi.
Frame 824 Dec 1941
Elements of the Sakaguchi Detachment land on Jolo Island in preparation for further operations in the Netherlands East Indies.
Frame 924 Dec 1941
Gen MacArthur’s forces begin to withdraw to the Bataan Peninsula, finally surrendering at Corregidor after a long siege in May 1942.
Frame 1016–19 Apr 1942
The Kawamura and Kawaguchi Detachments land at Panay and Cebu, then move on to Mindanao. The Philippines surrenders by 9 June.


Campaign strength


14th Army
Gen Honma Masaharu (Chief of Staff: Lt Gen Maeda Masami)
    16th Division
    Lt Gen Morioka Susumu
      Divisional Headquarters
      16th Infantry Group Headquarters
      9th Infantry Regiment (Kamijima Detachment)
      20th Infantry Regiment
      33rd Infantry Regiment (Kimura Detachment)
      16th Reconnaissance Regiment
      22nd Field Artillery Regiment
      16th Engineer Regiment
      16th Supply and Transport Regiment
    48th Division (detached to 16th Army on 14 Jan 1942)
    Lt Gen Tsuchibashi Yūichi
      Divisional Headquarters
      48th Infantry Group Headquarters
      1st Formosan Infantry Regiment
      2nd Formosan Infantry Regiment
      47th Infantry Regiment
      48th Infantry Regiment
      48th Field Artillery Regiment
      48th Engineer Regiment
      48th Supply and Transport Company
    65th Infantry Brigade
    Lt Gen Nara Akira
      65th Infantry Brigade Headquarters
      122nd Infantry Regiment
      141st Infantry Regiment
      142nd Infantry Regiment
      65th Brigade Engineer Regiment
    4th Division (joined 14th Army on 10 Feb 1942)
    Lt Gen Kitano Kenzō
      Divisional Headquarters
      4th Infantry Group Headquarters
      8th Infantry Regiment
      37th Infantry Regiment
      61st Infantry Regiment
      4th Cavalry Regiment
      4th Field Artillery Regiment
      4th Engineer Regiment
      4th Supply and Transport Regiment
    21st Division elements (joined 14th Army on 11 Feb 1942)
    Maj Gen Nagano Kameichirō
      21st Infantry Group Headquarters
      62nd Infantry Regiment
      51st Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Battalion
      21st Engineer Regiment (minus one company)
    5th Division elements (Kawamura Detachment)
    Maj Gen Kawamura Saburō
      9th Infantry Brigade Headquarters
      41st Infantry Regiment
      16th Reconnaissance Regiment (one platoon)
      20th Independent Mountain Artillery Battalion
      22nd Field Artillery Regiment (one company)
      23rd Independent Engineer Regiment (one company)
      26th Independent Engineer Regiment (two platoons)
    18th Division elements (Kawaguchi Detachment – joined 14th Army on 10 Mar 1942)
    Maj Gen Kawaguchi Kiyotake
      35th Infantry Brigade Headquarters
      124th Infantry Regiment
      16th Reconnaissance Regiment (one platoon)
      21st Field Heavy Artillery Battalion (one company)
      22nd Field Artillery Regiment (one company)
      23rd Independent Engineer Regiment (one platoon)
      26th Independent Engineer Regiment (one company)
      44th Embarkation Headquarters (main strength)
      Line of Communication Unit (part strength)
    56th Mixed Brigade (Sakaguchi Detachment)
    Maj Gen Sakaguchi Shizuo
      146th Infantry Regiment
      Armoured Car Unit
      56th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Battalion
    10th Independent Garrison
    Col Ikuta Torao
      31st Independent Garrison Battalion
      32nd Independent Garrison Battalion
      33rd Independent Garrison Battalion
      34th Independent Garrison Battalion
      35th Independent Garrison Battalion
    Army Artillery Unit
    Lt Gen Kitajima Kineo
      1st Artillery Headquarters
      22nd Field Artillery Regiment
      1st Field Heavy Artillery Regiment
      8th Field Heavy Artillery Regiment
      1st Heavy Artillery Regiment
      9th Independent Heavy Artillery Battalion
      2nd Independent Heavy Artillery Company
      3rd Tractor Unit
      1st Balloon Company
      5th Artillery Intelligence Regiment
      Wireless Unit (part strength)
    Other army units
      2nd Independent Mortar Battalion
      14th Independent Mortar Battalion
      15th Independent Mortar Battalion
      Four independent rapid-fire gun companies
      4th Tank Regiment
      7th Tank Regiment
      3rd Independent Mountain Artillery Regiment
      3rd Trench Mortar Battalion
      6th Railway Regiment
      5th Independent Engineer Regiment, 3rd Company
      10th Independent Engineer Regiment
      21st Independent Engineer Regiment
      28th Independent Engineer Regiment
      Four field anti-aircraft battalions
      Two independent field anti-aircraft companies

22nd Air Brigade
Maj Gen Mikami Kizō
    10th Independent Air Unit
    Col Hoshi Komatarō
      52nd Independent Squadron
      74th Independent Squadron
      76th Independent Squadron
    50th Sentai (one squadron)
    16th Sentai
    11th Air Sector Command
    18th Airfield Battalion
    48th Airfield Battalion
    8th Airfield Company
    13th Airfield Company
    32nd Airfield Company
    Attached units
      60th Sentai
      62nd Sentai
      50th Sentai, 3rd Squadron
      96th Airfield Battalion
      2nd Field Meteorology Battalion Headquarters
      3rd Meteorology Company


3rd Fleet
Vice Adm Takahashi Ibo (Chief of Staff: Rear Adm Nakamura Toshihisa)
    Main Force
    Vice Adm Takahashi Ibo
      16th Cruiser Squadron
    Escort Fleet
    Rear Adm Hara Kenzaburō
      1st Escort Group
        5th Torpedo Squadron
        11th Minesweeper Flotilla
        30th Minesweeper Flotilla
      2nd Escort Group
        4th Torpedo Squadron (part strength)
      3rd Escort Group
        4th Torpedo Squadron (remainder strength)
        Minelaying Unit
        2nd Base Force
    Southern Philippines Support Group
    Rear Adm Takagi Takeo
      5th Cruiser Squadron
      4th Air Flotilla
      11th Air Flotilla
      No. 38 Patrol Boat
      No. 39 Patrol Boat
      Kure 2nd Special Naval Landing Force (two companies)
    4th Escort Group
    Rear Adm Kubo Kyūji
      1st Base Force
      24th Destroyer Squadron
      16th Destroyer Squadron 1st Section
      No. 1 Patrol Boat
      No. 2 Patrol Boat
      Special duty ship
    5th Escort Group
    Rear Adm Takagi Takeo
      2nd Torpedo Squadron
      No. 36 Patrol Boat
      No. 37 Patrol Boat
      32nd Special Base Force
      Emergency netlayer
    Minelaying Group
    Rear Adm Kobayashi Tetsuri
      17th Cruiser Squadron
      Special Minelaying Fleet
Southern Area Force
Vice Adm Tsukahara Nishizō
    11th Air Fleet
    Vice Adm Tsukahara Nishizō
      21st Air Flotilla
        Kanoya Air Corps
        Tōkō Air Corps
        1st Air Corps
        3rd Air Corps
        Peleliu Expeditionary Fighter Squadron
      23rd Air Flotilla
        Takao Air Corps
        Tainan Air Corps

Campaign casualties

Approximately 11,000 killed and wounded

Printer version

Hong Kong, Pacific
Celebes, Ambon, Timor
New Britain
Sumatra, Java

Reference links
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Hong Kong, Pacific
Celebes, Ambon, Timor
New Britain
Sumatra, Java

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