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"Japanese Comment on U.S. Resistance in Philippines" from Intelligence Bulletin, September 1943

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]  
The following translated Japanese report on the fighting in the Philippines during WWII originally appeared in the September 1943 issue of the Intelligence Bulletin.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Intelligence Bulletin publication. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



An official Japanese Army document, recently acquired and translated, describes in some detail the fierce resistance put up by American and Filipino forces in defending the Philippine Islands. The document, dated "March 1943," apparently was written for the benefit of Japanese units expected to face U.S. troops for the first time in other theaters of operations. Except for editorial changes, the document is reproduced below in the same form as the original.


a. Fighting Spirit

The fighting spirit of the U.S. troops was unexpectedly high. Before our troops (Japanese 48th Division) landed on Lingayen Bay, they fought a tough battle with the Americans at the water line. We finally won, but only after the enemy had attempted to annihilate us completely.

After we had attacked Manila, we expected the Americans to surrender at a suitable time (after they had fought enough to save their reputation). However, continuing resistance on Bataan Peninsula, the enemy troops unexpectedly tried a strong offensive.

At the time of our second all-out attack on Bataan, we thought that the U.S. forces might surrender if we broke through their front-line positions. However, they did not stop resistance until the last stage of the fight.

We thought that they would give up when we occupied the Bataan Peninsula, but they continued fighting under our successive artillery and air bombardments at Manila Bay.

Also, on Corregidor Island, they executed several counterattacks before they were pressed into the entrance of the island's main base. They finally surrendered when everything was exhausted.

The main reasons why we won was because we landed a few tanks at a time when the Americans had no antitank guns with which to oppose us.

b. Command and Control

We admired the manner in which the Americans, under difficult conditions, commanded the Philippine forces until finally forced to stop resistance.

According to prisoners' notes, taken during the Bataan operations, there were many U.S. commissioned officers who bravely led native forces to the front lines. The rumor that only Philippine forces were used in the front lines is all false, because the Americans and Filipinos fought side by side.

c. Regarding Tanks

As a general rule, U.S. tank units moved forward bravely. In the vicinity of Carmen (Pangasinan), a certain U.S. tank officer, covering the retreat of enemy forces, resisted to the last and was taken prisoner with a mortar wound. On the Bataan Peninsula, our (Japanese) 16th Division suffered heavily from enemy tanks which moved through the jungle.

The front armament of U.S. tanks is so thick that our rapid-fire bullets do not penetrate. Also, the movement of enemy tanks was much superior to ours.

d. Regarding Weapons and Vehicles

U.S. rifles proved superior to ours. The enemy's automatic rifle was used very effectively against us. Soldiers equipped with the automatic rifle carried a large amount of ammunition.

The Americans have many different types of vehicles which are strong and superior. They transport all their weapons by vehicles, of which there are many special kinds.

e. Training

According to reports from Northern Tengen (Lingayen), native troops held rifle practice on the river lines prior to the invasion. We concluded that this training was very good because their shots were very effective all during the battle in that area.


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