WATCH! Real World War 2 Footage: The Fight for Manila 1942
The Battle of Manila (February 3, 1945 – March 3, 1945) was a major battle of the Philippine campaign of 1944-45, during the Second World War. It was fought by American and Filipino forces against Japanese troops in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. The month-long battle, which resulted in the death of over 100,000 civilians and the complete devastation of the city, was the scene of the worst urban fighting in the Pacific theater. Japanese forces committed mass murder against Filipino civilians during the battle. Along with massive loss of life, the battle also destroyed architectural and cultural heritage dating back to the city’s foundation. The battle ended the almost three years of Japanese military occupation in the Philippines (1942–1945). The city’s capture was marked as General Douglas MacArthur’s key to victory in the campaign of reconquest.
On 9 January 1945, the Sixth U.S. Army under Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger waded ashore at Lingayen Gulf and began a rapid drive south in the Battle of Luzon. On 12 Jan., MacArthur ordered Krueger to advance rapidly to Manila.:83The 37th Infantry Division, under the command of Major Gen. Robert S. Beightler, headed south.
After landing at San Fabian on 27 Jan., the 1st Cavalry Division, under the command of Major Gen. Vernon D. Mudge, was ordered by MacArthur on 31 Jan., to “Get to Manila! Free the internees at Santo Tomas. Take Malacanang Palace and the Legislative Building.
On 31 January, the Eighth United States Army of Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger, consisting of the 187th and 188th Glider Infantry Regiments of Col. Robert H. Soule, and components of the U.S. 11th Airborne Division under Maj. Gen. Joseph Swing, landed unopposed at Nasugbu in southern Luzon and began moving north toward Manila. Meanwhile, the 11th A/B Division’s 511th Regimental Combat Team, commanded by Col. Orin D. “Hard Rock” Haugen, parachuted onto Tagaytay Ridge on 4 February. On 10 Feb., the 11th Airborne Division came under the command of the Sixth Army, and seized Fort William McKinley on 17 Feb.
Swing was joined by the Hunters ROTC Filipino guerrillas, under the command of Lt. Col. Emmanuel V. de Ocampo, and by 5 Feb. they were on the outskirts of Manila.