Last 130 Days of the USAFFE

A chronological account of the Philippine defense campaign from January 1 to May 10, 1942. Focuses on the campaign in Ba

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Table of contents :
Delaying Actions
Jan 1 1942 - Battles Around Manila
Jan 2 1942 - Actions on the Guagua-Porac Line
Jan 3 1942 - Collapse of the Porac-Guagua Line
Jan 4 1942 - Withdrawal to Gumain River
Jan 5 1942 - Action at the Gumain River
Jan 6 1942 - Holding the Gate to Bataan
Jan 7 1942 - Battle of Layac Junction
Jan 8 1942 - On to Bataan
Jan 9 1942 - Japanese Prepares to Attack Bataan
Battles on the Abucay-Moron Line
Jan 10 1942 - Initial Attacks on the USAFFE Fronts
Jan 11 1942 - Probing Attacks on the II Corps
Jan 12 1942 - Girding for the Main Battle
Jan 13 1942 - First Battles on the Abucay Line
Jan 14 1942 - Japanese Shifts Attack from Right to Left and Vice Versa
Jan 15 1942 - Battle Actions in the Mabatang Sector
Jan 16 1942 - 'Rock of Bataan' Covers Itself with Glory
Jan 17 1942 - Patrol Heart of Lieutenant Marcos
Jan 18 1942 - Operations West of Mount Natib
Jan 19 1942 - Philippine Division Counterattacks
Jan 20 1942 - Fighting for the Moron-Bagac Road
Jan 21 1942 - Collapse of the Abucay Line
Jan 22 1942 - Lieutenant Marcos Wins Medal of Valor
Jan 23 1942 - Withdrawal of the I Corps
Jan 24 1942 - Heroes of the Battle of Abucay Line
Jan 25 1942 - Heroes of the I Corps
Jan 26 1942 - 'Fame and Glory' for the Men of Bataan
Battles of the Points and Pockets
Jan 27 1942 - Japanese Takes to the Sea
Jan 28 1942 - Battle of Mount Pucot
Jan 29 1942 - Falling Back to the Pilar-Bagac Road
Jan 30 1942 - Reducing the Aglaloma Beachhead
Jan 31 1942 - Heroic Stand at Orion Line
Feb 1 1942 - Battle Actions on the Orion Line
Feb 2 1942 - Japanese Landings at Anyasan Point
Feb 3 1942 - Japanese Penetrations in Western Sector
Feb 4 1942 - Closing Battles of the Points
Feb 5 1942 - Operations Within the Little Pocket
Feb 6 1942 - Mopping Up Operations at the Points
Feb 7 1942 - Battle of the Little Pocket
Feb 8 1942 - Final Battles of the Pockets
Feb 9 1942 - Japanese Breaks Contact with USAFFE
Activities During the Lull Period
Feb 10 1942 - The Question of a Counter-Offensive
Feb 11 1942 - Life in Bataan
Feb 12 1942 - Quezon's Proposal for Neutrality
Feb 13 1942 - Activities During the Lull Period
Feb 14 1942 - Actions of Men of Other Services
Feb 15 1942 - MacArthur Leaves Corregidor
Feb 16 1942 - Front-Line Activities During the Lull
Feb 17 1942 - Japanese Psychological Warfare
Feb 18 1942 - USAFFE Propaganda Efforts
Feb 19 1942 - The Matter of American Aid
Feb 20 1942 - More Front-Line Activities During the Lull
Feb 21 1942 - USAFFE Operations and Activities During the Lull
Feb 22 1942 - Japanese Activities During the Lull
Final Battle of Bataan
Feb 23 1942 - USAFFE Situation Before the Final Battle
Feb 24 1942 - Japanese Prepares for the Final Battle
Feb 25 1942 - Front-Line Activities Before the Final Battle
Feb 26 1942 - Last Effort to Send Aid to the USAFFE
Feb 27 1942 - Prelude to Battle
Feb 1 to Mar 31 1942 - Significant Events During the Lull Period
Mar 10 to Mar 31 1942 - The Calm Before the Storm
Apr 1 1942 - Preparatory Bombardment and Initial Assault
Apr 2 1942 - In Defense of Mount Samat
Apr 3-4 1942 - Enemy Capture of Mount Samat
Apr 5 1942 - Attempts at Counterattack
Death Throes of the USAFFE
Apr 6-7 1942 - Beginning of the End
Apr 8 1942 - Japanese Pursuit
Apr 8 1942 - Postscript to Battle
Apr 9 1942 - Surrender Negotiations
Apr 9 1942 - Requiem to a Dying Army
Apr 13-16 1942 - March to Captivity
Apr 17 to Jun 30 1942 - Concentration Camp
Operations on Other Fronts
Dec 8 1941 to May 6 1942 - Defense of Corregidor
Jan 1 to May 31 1942 - Conquest of the Visayas
Jan 1 to Apr 30 1942 - Last Target: Mindanao
Apr 30 to May 10 - Fight for Mindanao
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Copyright, 1982 by

Col. Uldarico S, Baclagon Printed by Astra lnk Corp. 8140 Sgt. F. Yabut Circle, Guadalupe Makati. Metro Manila, PhiliPPines

This book tells why we cannot forget Bataan and Corregi-

dor and other fronts and why, in the words of

President Bataan." own have his man must "every Ferdinand E. Marcos,



l, AFP

Chief of Staff (1962-1965)

Quezon City, PhiliPPines 1 April 1982

period that he produced the book "Lessons Learned from the Huk Campaign" which, as a material on counter-insurgency, earned recognition in the United States by being used as a textbook by the US Army Special Warfare School and being translated into five (5) languages for use in the Free World.

Colonel Baclagon has written several accounts of World War ll, namely in his books "Philippine Campaigns," "Military History of the Philippines," and "Filipino Heroes of World War ll." ln this book, "Last 130 Daysof the USAFFE, " he sets down on record the sacrifices, valor, and heroism of the Filipino soldier in the service of the USAFFE. Written chronologically, the author gives us a blow-by-blow account of what happened in the last phase of the delaying actions in Luzon, in the series of battles fought in Bataan, and in the subsequent campaigns of the Japanese in Corregidor, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

As Chief of the Office of Historical Activities in the AFP, I am for encouraging all men in the military service, active or retired, to engage in military historical work, for how else will the next generations of Filipino fighting men learn from our past military campaigns or operations than having available for them research materials, iike the "Last 130 Days of the USAFFE" which, besides its instructional value, is in itself a testimonial of the heroic achievementS of the Filipino soldiers in World War ll





Chief, Office of Historical Activities GHO, AFP


to get the book in the process of answer for the printing and binding expenses needed by the press. Thus the production of the book was assured.

Jose M. Crisol, in his desire

production, offered


"Last 130 Days of the USAFFE" would not have come out of the press if not for the invaluable assistance given by Colonel Cesar A. Mijares, President of Gregorio Araneta University Foundation, and by Colonel Eduardo Dimacali, Chief of the Office of Historical Activities of the AFP, who voluntarily gave his technical advice in the production of the book. express my profound gratitude to the for the use of the picture that we Magazine Times Sunday used as illustration in this book.

I would like, also to

The Author


January 23 ,1542 January 24,1942

January 25,1942 January 26,1942

Withdrawal of the I Corps Heroes of the Battle of Abucay Line


Heroes of the I Corps


"Fame and Glory" for the Men of Bataan



BATTLES OF THE POINTS AND THE POCKETS January 27,1942 January 28,1942 January 29,1942 January 30,1942 January 31,1942 February 1,1942 February 2,1942 February 3,1942 February 4,1942 February 5, 1942 February 6,1942 Feburary 7 ,1942 February 8,1942 February 9,1942

Japanese Takes to the Sea

Battle of Mount Pucot Falling Back to the Pilar-Bagac Road Reducing the Aglaloma Beachhead Heroic Stand at Orion Line Battle Actions in the Orion Line Japanese Landing at Anyasan Point Japanese Penetration in West Sector Closing Battles of the Points Operations Within the Little Pocket

Mopping Up Operations at the Points Battle of the Little Pocket Final Battles of the Pockets Japanese Break Contact with USAFFE

94 96 98 103 105 108 111 115 117

120 125 128 131


ACTIVITIES DURING THE LULL PERIOD February February February February Feburary February February February February February


10,1942 The Ouestion of a Counter-Offensive 11,1942 Life in Bataan

12,1942 Ouezon's Proposal for NeutralitY Activities During the Lull Period 14,1942 Actions of Men of Other Services 13,1942

15,1942 MacArthur leaves Corregidor 16,1942 Front-Line Activities During the Lull Japanese Psychological Warfare

17,1942 18,1942 USAFFE ProPaganda Efforts 19,1942 The Matter of American Aid


140 143 146

149 153 155




OPERATIONS IN OTHER FRONTS December 8, 1941 Mav 6,1942


of Corregidor


January 1,1942 Mav 31,1942


Conquest of the Visayas


Last Target: Mindanao


Fight for Mindanao



April 30, 1942

April30 May 10, 1942



Filipino troops "celebrated" New Year's Day of 1942 by deploying themselves in various formations around Manila. To the north, the 21st Division had managed to establish a strong line south of Bamban River; whilst the 91st and 71st Division, on the right, were reeling from the enemy main attack which hit them at Cabanatuan. South and east of the city, the 51st Division was hastily moving north, with the Philippine Constabulary troops valiantly putting up delaying actions at Alabang. Some sixth sense seemed to have alerted the Japanese to the USAFFE plan to consolidate its forces in Bataan. Orders were issued to accelerate the advance of the 48th Division

from the north, while the 16th Division pursues the withdrawing USAFFE troops from the south. This enemy maneuver was in effect a giant pincer aimed at crushit'tg Filipino-American forces somewhere in the Central Plains of Luzon.

Notwitstanding its being declared an open city, the Japanese still hankered after Manila. Their preoccupation with bringing about its capture indicated that they attached some symbolic significance to it. To the Japanese military authorities the fall of the capital city would deal a major psychological blow to the Allied strategy in the Pacific. Before starting out for Corregidor, President Ouezon ordered the resumption of normal activities in Manila. Blackout impositions were lifted and all shops were re-opened for business. Gamely, the people tried to shut their eyes to the grim realities of war and tried to enjoy the holiday season. 2

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was drowned by the explosions of milltary installations being destroyed by the armed forces. Alarmed by the show of panic in the city, government authorities spent most of New Year's

Day, hovering in radio stations calling out through the airfor the people to remain calm and not to fear the onrushing Japanese. Apprehensive of possible hostility and resistance that might be put up by the residents, the government officials took pains to explain that under international law occupation forces, although enemies, have complete powers and therefore must not be resisted. waves

Late in that afternoon of New Year's Day, 1942 a battalJapanese troops under Major General Koiso Abe swooped into [Vlanila and the remaining people of the city came face to face with the invaders for the first time.

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The USAFFE North Luzon Force now found itself confronted with an enormous responsibility. They have to wangle more time for the Bataan Defense Force to prepare the battle position in the peninsula. The avenues of approach opened for an enemy advance to Bataan were Route 74, which starts from Angeles and leads to Dinalupihan through Porac, and Route 7 which begins at San Fernando and continues to Olongapo through Guagua and Layac Junction. The line of defense to establish, therefore, would be along the road connecting Porac and Guagua and Sexmoan, a front of around fifteen miles. 6

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The 11th and 21st Divisions were promptly ordered to undertake the task of manning the line. The 1 ith Division, already in the vicinity of Guagua, was ordered to establish a line

from Santa Rita to Sexmoan. The 21sr Division, which

had taken Route 74 in its withdrawal from the D-5 line along Bamban River, set to work organizing detensive positions from west of Porac to the vicinity southeast of Floridablanca. Both divisions were backed up by tanks of the Provisional Tank Group, besides their organic artillery regiments. For additional support, the 26th Cavalry was deployeci behinrj

the 21st Division as force reserve. Aggrieved at having missed his chance to bring about a de-

cisive battle in the Central Plains, General Homma tried to make up by rushing his troops to Bataan with the intent of disrupting preparations for defense in tlre Peninsula. Knowing he had to deal with the Guagua - Porac line which had been organized on New Year's Day by the North Luzon Force, he threw in two detachments, each composed of a heavily reinforced regiment, supported by heavily artillery and the Japanese 5th Air Group. One detachrnent, the Takahashi Force, was to advance on Route l4 and take on General Capinpin's 21st Division, while the other, the Tanaka Force, was to proceed along Routc 7 towards a confrontation with the 1 1th Division.

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General Capinpin deployed two regiments on the line. The

21st lnfantry sat astride the sector to the left of Route74. while 22nd lnfantry occupied the right, behind the PoracGuagua Road. Riding herd in the vicinity of Pio was the 23rd lnfantry in reserve. Each front-line regirnent had an artillery battalion to provide fire support. Just behind the division re serve the 26th Cavalry had the mission of covering the division left f lank, and with it, the 192nd Tank Battalion. 8

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General Mareo Capinpin. DCS Formerly an officer of the Philippine Scout, General Capinpin joinerl the Philippine Army and first distinguished himself as an indefatiqabtI trainer of men. As commander of the 21st Division, he was a "soldier's general", well loved by his men and respected by his officers. For hi:,


in the

various combat actions o{ the 21st Division, he

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the Filipino troops were continually being harrassed by strafing from low-f lying enemy aircrafts which had full control of the air. Despite the violence and fury unleashed by the might of the Japanese forces, the 22nd lnfantry held on doggedly to its line, fired by General Capinpin's order to "hold the line or die where you are." With its left flank exposed by the with drawal of the 21st lnfantry, the 22nd lnfantry commander ordered his reserve battalion to counterattack. The attack was later to win for its battalion commander, Lt. Francisco Joves, the award of Silver Star.

On the right sector, the 11th Division essayed a counter' attack with the support of a tank-infantry team of the 13th lnfantry and Company A of the 192nd Tank Battalion. This was directed against the enemy force that had penetrated its line earlier in the day. The bold attempt stood no chance in the face of effective enemy f ire. Meanwhile, Japanese troops swept through the swamps south of Guagua and threatened to outflank the 1 1th Division.

That afternoon, General Capinpin himself personally led another counterattack with the 23rd Infantry in tow. The effort failed to restore the main line of resistance but it accomplished something significant, a minor victory. lt stalled the enemy advance, thus winning precious time.

The day ended with the two Filipino divisions facing The 11th Division was about to come aparl I and the 21st Division was able to maintain hold of a small portion of its original line. However, the two divisions I ( possible collapse.

together held the Porac-Guagua line long enough to allow thc remaining USAFFE troops from the south to slip into Bataan. 12





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to Predictably the enemy attack resumed in the morning of January 4. Having made a decision the previous night to withdraw the two divisions and to put up another line along the Gumain River, Wainwright now started putting into effect his plan the withdrawal scheme of which was for the 11th Division to retire along Route 7, with the 21st Division providing the covering shell. What followed was a nightmarish experience for the weary Filipino troops. As narrated by General Tan, then G-3 of the 11th Division "lt was a forced withdrawal during daylight hours. A long line of trucks and sundry vehicles - was on Highway 7 moving toward Bataan. About 1b00 hrs,three Japanese attack bombers, appeared and began alternately bombing and strafing this long line of troops. The column continued the movement stoically, stopping only when the planes were actually overhead. They then scattered and sought whatever cover they could find, to continue again when the bombers leveled off . We marvel now why this long line of motor and men convoy were never really demolished by the enemy - if the enemy had pushed its attack more vigorously, the rear guards would have been overrun, and the 11th Division entirely destroyed. lt should not have reached Bataan.


The 12th lnfantry, which had withdrawn earlier, had taken up positions astride Route 7, behind the Gumain River between Sta. Cruz and Lubao. The 13th lnfantry, on the other hand, badly battered as itwas, proceeded to Hermosa where it went into bivouac areas as division reserve. Meanwhile, the 14






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The Filipino line was stormed several times in the darkbut each time they succeeded in repulsing the assaults and even inflicted losses on their attackers. By clawn of the sth, the enemy retired from action leaving many dead behind. It was then when lVlajor Tan arrived for inspection and came upon the condition of the Filipino defenders. ness

Then in the process of occupying their positions at Gumain River, the 21st Division was as yet unmolested, but the 11th Division immediately came under heavy attack that rnorning. fhe 21st was promptly dispatched to a sector behind the 11th so as to provide more depth to the USAFFE defensive position. General Capinpin's troops assumed a stand behind Cuio River just below Layac Junction. At this juncture, both the 11th and the2lst divisions had taken a heavy toll irr casualties. Although the Japanese themseives had also incurred innumerable losses, General Homma must have sensed the state of demoralization and disorganiza

tion obviously prevailing among the Filipino units, considering their series of withdrawal actions. An all-out attack order from him became apparent when his artillery opened up with an intense and continuous barrage. Japanese infantry troops followed up the devastating bombardments with ferocious assaults on the Filipino lines. Against this, the defense, however valiant, could not stand up and soon several gaps were created through which the Japanese troops passed through. The 11th Division unit had no other recourse but to fall back. The 21st Division at Culo River which had by now been also at the receiving errd of heavy artillery and mortar fire had no alternative but to do likewise. As they scrambled over open and muddy rice paddies, the Filipino troopers had to duck and dive for cover from the harassing light bombs exploding and spraying earth around them and the strafing bullets from the enemy planes swooping low. 18

It was at this stage when acts of compassion and gallantry can bring out the best in man. This was the time when young Lieutenant Ferdinand E. fvlarcos, the combat intelligence officer of the 21st Division, then on rear guard detail at the Culo River bridge, saw Lieutenant primitivo San Agustin, the aide to the Division Commander staggering about with a chest wound. With hardly a second thought, Lt Marcos sprinted through the rain of fire, intent on rescue. Reaching San Agustin, he slung the wounded man,s arm around his neck and half-lugged, half-carried him to the nearest medicar station. Later, resuming his post on the steel bridge, he found it under a hail of intense mortar f ire. Going through it unharmed he soon became a casualty himself, however. A mortar shell exproded near him and drove a sprinter into his left knee - the first of five wounds he was to receive during the entire course of the war, but he turned down an offer of medical treatment and str.ibbornly stuck to his post. There he was needed and there he stayed.

The sanguinary rear guard actions of the 11th and 21st Divisions at Gumain and Culo rivers were costly in terms of men and ammunition spent but they afforded valuable time for the Bataan Defense force to prepare for the Japanese offensive against the USAFFE in the peninsula.












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Situation Map - Battle o{ Layac Junction Layac Junction assumed importance as the gateway lo Rataan when USAFF E troops were entering the peninsula. The troops clcfending this key point were overwhelmed by the preponderence of Japancse artillery fire that destroyed many of the USAFFE artillery. lt was an occasion for artillery men to rise to heroic heights in saving their guns Ironr (lestruction.





Layac is the nanre of the barrio at the junction of Routes 7 and 101, which latter route goes through Culis and Herrnosa and skirts along the eastern coast of Bataan. The junction is only about 2,004 yards to the northeast, where all the troops

coming from the central plains would have to pass after the rear guard actions at Guagua, Lubao and Gumain. As the gate to Bataan, Layac Junction became a key point which must be held at all costs.

A delaying action at Layac Junction had been previously provided for in War Plan Orange (WPO-3). The 31st lnfantry (US) had been assigned the vital mission of covering this critical point as early as December 28, 1941. When the 71st and 72nd lnfantry regiments arrived from Calumpit on January 2, 1942, General Wainwright directed the 71st Division to assume responsibility for holding Layac Junction. The 31st lnfantry (US) and the 26th Cavalry were attached to the 71st Division and in support were 71st Field Artillery, 1st Battalion of the 23rd Field Artillery (PS), the 1sr Battalion of the 88th Fieid Artillery (PS), the entire Provisional Tank Group, and two battalions of SPMs. The period January 3-4 was spent in setting up fortifications for the defensive position.

On January 3, the troops began to occupy and organize their positions. The battle line took the form of Letter L with the tip at the vicinity of the junction, one side running north-south, which was occupied by the 71st lnfantry on the right and the 72nd lnfantry on the left and the other side, running east-west, was occupied by the 31st lnfantry (US). nl


The 71st Division straddled Route 110, its right

lank anchored at thc swamps near Almacen and the left flank in the vicinity of Culis. Each regiment was backed by a battaf

lion of the 71st Field Artillery. Supporting the 31st lnfantry were the 1st Battalion, SSth Field Artillery on the west and the 1st Battalion, 23rd Field Artillery on the east. The two battalions of SPMs served as general support. The 26th Cavalry covered the left flank of the 31st lnfantry. The Tank Group took positions to the rear of the line, the 192nd Tank Battalion behind the 31st lnfantry and the 194th Tank Battalion behind the 71st Division. Consideriing the attachments of combat support units, the Layac Force was a formidable one. Although its position was relatively weak, the manpower and war equipment thrown in rendered it capable of delaying enemy entry into Bataan. On the night of January 5-6, the 11th and 21st Divisions withdrew from their positions at the Gumain River line and passed through the Layac Junction Line. When the movement was completed, the Culis bridge was blown up. The entrance of the 11th and 21st Divisions into Bataan marked the dissolution of the North Luzon Force. At 6:00 o'clock in the morning of the 6th, General Wainwright turned over command of the Layac Force to General Parker, Commander of the Bataan Defense Force. That very same morning, Bataan came under its first baptism of fire from a full concentration of Japanese artillery. Aided by observation planes, the enemy heavy artillery at long range hit the gun positions of the 71st Field Artillery. Wtihin a short time, half of the guns of the artillery units at Layac were out of action.



The mission of the Layac Force was primarily to delay the advance of the Japanese into Bataan and secondarily to keep the road open to USAFFE forces that might stiil be going to the peninsula. On the night of January b-6, 1942, the 11th and 21st Divisions broke contact with the enemy at the Gumain River line and passed through the Layac Junct_ ion line, on their way to positions in Bataan. Thetwo Firipino divisions being the rast to enter Bataan, Generar parker ordered the blowing up of the Culis Bridge. The Lrattle began in the morning of the 6th, when Japaartillery started pounding the Filipino defensive positions. lnitial targets of the enemy artiilery were the gun positions of the 71st Field Artillery, 23rd Field Artillery and BBth Field Artillery. The USAFFE artillery fired back but found themselves unable to neutralize the long-range enemy heavy artillery. By about B:00 o,clock, half of the guns of the USAFFE artillery were destroyed. nese

When Japanese infantry began advancing at 10:00 o,clock in the morning, only a few 75-mm guns were available to lay a barrage in front of their battle zone. This became the occasion for Filipino artillerymen to show their mettle in bringing guns back into operation. The most outstanding act of bra_ very was that of Sgt Jose Calugas, whose actions ,,above and beyond the call of duty,,, won for him the Congressional Medal,of Honor, the first to be awarded in World War ll.

Another act of heroism armost beyond berief was that of

Lt Julian O Chua who, after restoring

communications, 23

"became a one-man crew, maintaining effective fire from an artillery piece on enemy positions while under persistent bombing attack and shelling by the enemy". There was also the feat achieved by Lt Cecilio A Garcia who took over an abandoned gun position, repaired one of the guns and resumed firing." Both Lt Chua and Lt Garcia were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross from the United States Army and the Distinguished Conduct Star from the Philippine government.

Worthy of equal mention were the men of the 71st Artillery under Capt Carmelo Z Barbero who were almost inhuman in their supreme disregard of the shells raining on them and about them as they worked in quick and quiet desperation to restore their guns into operation. There was Lt Hilarion Sarcepuedes who rushed head-long into the fire - swept area and managed to establish the telephone system connecting the batteries of the 71st Field Artillery. For this courageous act, the Gold Cross Medal was awarded to Lt Sarcepuedes.

Such epic deeds as those done by Filipino cannoneers, enabled the remaining USAF F E artillery to immobilize over the enemy troops with their fire as soon as they came within range. the latter were forced to halt and deploy while their artillery retaliated with intensified shelling, supplemented by low-flying planes which bombed and strafed at will. At 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon, their troops crossed the Culo River and struck at the Filipino 31st lnfantry. An hour later, another enemy force turned south and hit the left flank of the 72nd lnfantry. The untried American troops on the left of the 71st Division fell back and eventually created a gap between the Filipino and American unitsThe Japanese immediately exploited the breakthrough and 24

Fi9.8. Deputy Minister Carmelo Z. Barbero, GC

The 71st Field Artillery played a vital role in the defense of the Guagua-Porac Line and again in the defense of Layac Junction. Already a top artilleryman before the war, then Capt. Carmelo Z. Barbero was Executive Officer of the 7'lst Field Artillery. As such, he distinguished himsel{ in combat and was awarded the Gold Cross fVledal for gallantry in action. 25


succeeded at warding off a counterattack by the 1st Battalion, 31st lnfantry. By nightfall, a sizable force had inf iltrated into the gap and was threatening the right flank of the 31st lnfan-

try and of the left flank of the 72nd lnfantry. A coordinated

attack was planned that night by the Fil-American forces but when they realized that there were no more American tanks to support the attack, they called off the effort'

The withering enemy air and artillery bombardment provided the scenario for further demonstrations of coolness under fire by Filipino officers, like Lt Venicio Jalandoni of the 72nd lnfantry, who, like the others, did not only maintain their positions but also, in complete indifference to the hazards, fought hard at pushing back the enemy without even flinching at the height of the battle.


January 8,1942

A report of General Selleck, the Layac Force Commander about the outcome of the Battle of Layoc said: "At about 9:00 P.Ml., the whole tank group withtlrcw without any information to me as to why they were ntoving and as to where they were going." Such was the r:orrlttsion then ensuing from that chaotic battle. On the night of January 7, General Scllct;l< recommended to ll Corps the withdrawal of the troot)s lrorrr Layac. The recommendation was first disapprovtxl lrrrt when Colonel Steel, commander of the 31st lnfantry, (:xl)r()ssed fear of a ZO

possible rout in the morning, the move for withdrawal was finally authorized.

At midnight, the 71st Division started down the road toward Pilar. The 31st lnfantry, after providing the covering shell, pulled out at 1:30 in the morning of th Bth. At 5:00 A.M., January B, the Japanese launched another attack and almost unopposed, occupied Hermosa. The losses suffered by the 31st lnfantry and the artillery units made the delaying action at Layac Junction the most costly opcration in the retrograde movement of the USAFFE. What it did accomplish was to give the Bataan Defense Force a day of grace, wherein to prepare its battle position. HowJ ever, by standards of retreats set by other armies in military \9 history, the withdrawal to Bataan, as a whole, had been t- orderly enough and, considering the odds against it and the + .y difficulties encountered, conducted with tactical skill. Above S) all. creditable were the valor and fortitude of the Filipino and


American troops. Why Bataan?

ln planning the defense of the Philippines, pre-war military planners foresaw the possibility of an enemy move to isolate the islands from the American mainland. ln that event, it was conceded that the offensive capabilities of the forces in the Philippines would be limited and that a holding action would have to be undertaken for at least six months. lt was hoped that within that period control of the line of commuqication would be regained and that reinforements wqlr{Sl_lt{vht1r such number so as to enable the defending {grye to launitfT ,."11--. counter-offensive. G(1 V'1- l-'1, r l, ;1i: f y \,o.


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On the assumption that the enemy would succeed in landing and driving back the Filipino-American forces from the beaches, an area would have to be selected in advance, to which the troops would withdrew, concentrate, and put up a final stand. Such an area must have three essential characteristics: good terrain for defense, good staging area for mounting an offensive, and good area of departure for the campaign of liberation. lt must, above all, help the "lnitiai Protective Force" accomplish its primary rnission of holding the entrance to Manila Bay, the point of ingress for the expected aid. Manila Bay may be controlled from three areas. One is the Bataan Peninsula, the other is Cavite, and the third is the Manila-Rizal area. The last two were inrmediately ruled out. A stand on Cavite would be untenable because of the threat from the rear by enerny landings on the Batangas coast. Holding the eastern side of the bay would be more hazardous clue to lack of nraneuver room, the possibility of attacks from both the north and south, and the destruction it would bring on Manila itself. This left Bataan, therefore, as the best of the three sites for a holding action. AlonE with Corregidor island, Bataan came to be regarded as the key to the control of Manila Bay" The strategic value of the Bataan peninsula lay on its being an ideal site for the landing of reinforcements. A landing on its southern shore could be covered by the guns on Corregidor and a landing on the northwestern area bry the coast artillery batteries on Grande lsland. From Bataan, an offensive could break out into Central Luzon and seize San Fernando, Pampanga, a vital strategic center from where further operations could be undertaken. ln consideration 28

these important features, it was resolved that Bataart would be defended to the "last extremity."



The Japanese [:ourteentlr Arrny had orders from High Command to reduce organized resistance in Luzon in fifty days. For his Philipplne operations, General Homma had two divisions, the 48th antl 16th Divisions -- as his attacking forces -- and the 6tith Brig;rde as his leserve. ln less thair a month after the lanriiitrl of L ingaytrl Gulf, they had occupied most of L.uzon and tvlanila irias in their hands. satisfied with the progress of the operatiorts, lmperial General Headquarters in Tokyo decided to pull out the 48th Division from the Philippines, leaving only thr: 65th Brigade to carry on the operations of the 48th" The 65th Brigade, r:nder Lt Gen Akira Nara (who had been a classmate of Brig Gerr Vieente Lim atthe US Army lnfantry School at Fort Benning before the war) was composed of conscripts, led by veterans of the Sino-Japanese war. By the time it was placed under the Fourteenth Army, its three infantry regiments, the 122nd, 131st and 142nd lnfantry, had only two battalions each and one year of training' reserve, the 65th Brigade was to garrison the occupied areas after organized resistance had ceased in Luzon, while the 16th Division would carry out mopping-up operations in other parts of the Philippines. However, the decision

lnitially in




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to advance the schedule by one month changed the mission of the 65th Brigade, from garrison duty to that of pursuit and seizure



Realizing that the 65th Brigade was not ready for combat against the USAFFE forces in Bataan, Homma reinforced it heavily with infantry, artillery, and service units. A fullstrength infantry regiment (9th lnfantry), an engineer regiment, a battalion of field artillery and a medical unit were attached f rom the 16th Division. lts artillery was further reinforced by the 1st Field Heavy Artillery (105-mm howitzers), the 8th Field Heavy Artillery (105-mm guns), the gth lndependent Heavy Artillery, and two battalions of 75-mm mountain guns. For its armored support, the 7th Tank Regiment was attached to the Brigade. These complements brought the strength of the 65th Brigade to around 16,000 men.

All the while the battle was going on at Porac and Guagua, the 65th Brigade was in Angeles, Pampanga. From there it was moved to Porac where it received the order to relieve the 48th Division on January 7, 1942. After the operation at Layac Junction, the 48th Division began to pull out and the 65th Brigade moved over to Dinalupihan. As it turned out,the plan was for the Brigade to advance in two columns - one from Hermosa to Balanga and the other from Moron to Bagac. After seizing initial objectives, the two columns where to move on further towards lVlariveles to complete the encirclement and annihilation of the USAFF E forces.

By the end of day of January 8, the stage was set for the first storming of the Bataan bastion by the lmperial Forces of Japan. 31

Beforehand, on January 6, Homma had issued the following order to the 65th Brigade: "The 65th Brigade will immediately advance on the Angeles-Dinalupihan road. After reaching the 1st line (of the 48th Division) it will take over command of and combine with Takahashi Detachment and

the gth lndependent Heavy Field Artillery Battalion to destroy the enemy on the immediate front. A part of the

unit will advance to the mouth of the pass east of Olongapo and the main force will advarrce to the vicinity of Balanga."

With the infantry and support units he had under him, General Na:'a organized three regimental combat teams: the 141st under Col lmai to drive down the East Road, the 9th commanded by Col Takechi to penetrate the eastern slope of Mt. Natib, and the 122nd under Col Watanabe to advance south from Olongapo. Having thus organized his attacking forces, Gen Nara issued his order shortly before his Brigade had completed the relief of the 48th Division at 6:00 P.lVl. of January 8. The attacking units began the approach march the following night. By noon of the gth the troops were at their respective zones of action.

At 3:00

P.M. the day, the Japanese began shelling areas Filipino along the ll Corps front. lt was particularly effective in the 43rd lnfantry sector. ll Corps and the 41st Division Artillery countered with barrages on likely avenues of enemy approach. Despite the punishing fire, Japanese infantry troops assaulted what they believed was the USAFFE main line of resistance. Actually it was merely the outpost line of resistance of the 41st Division at Calaguiman River. The pulling back of the outposts in the face of enemy assault caused Gen Nara to joyfully report a "ground withdrawal".




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Men from both the 21st and 41st Division were cited for gallantry in action in the battle of Mabatang. Aside from Major Espiritu of the 22nd lnfantry, Lieut ldelfonso padilla of the 41st lnfantry was also awarded the Gold Cross [Vledal. Valiant acts were not only confined to officers but also to enlisted men, like Sgt Jose H. Andaya, also of the 41st lnfantry, who were likewise awarded for conspicuous courage. The successful operations in the lVlabatang sector unfortunately did not relieve the deteriorating situation in the west flank of the ll Corps. General Albert Jones, in command of the 51st Division, was frantically calling for reinforcement to enable the 51st to hold the line longer but General Parker, the ll Corps commander, had already committed all the corps reserve. General Richard J. Marshall, officer in-charge of the Bataan echelon of USAFFE headquarters, took immediate steps to assist the ll Corps by releasing the Philippine Division (less the 57th lnfantry) and the 31st Division from USAFFE reserve and attaching them to ll Corps. General Parker decided to counterattack with the newly attached units.

Over at the 51st lnfantry Division sector, the 51st lnfantry and elements of 21st and 23rd lnfantry, even with all odds against them, went in for a counterattack. The ensuing action was replete with deeds of valor by Filipino officers who performed well beyond the call of duty. Again Lt [Vlarcos who had previously distinguished himself at Gumain River, did so again. For his outstanding bravery in action against the enemy in his capacity as Combat lntelligence of the 21st (Lightning) Division, Lieut Marcos was awarded the Gold Cross lVledal, the citation for which tells of his "aggressive and indomitable action, resultinq in the reestablistrrnent of the main line of resistance." 50

Other officers who won signal honors in the battle for Hacienda Abucay were Lieut Bienvenido Wilwayco of the 23rd lnfantry, who unhesitatingly exposed his own life to danger in an effort to save the lives of 50 others who died in the battle-field; Major Claro B. Lizardo, in command of the 42nd lnfantry line; Lieut Jose C. Guevarra who, as Assistant S-3 of the 41st lnfantry, led a section of the 41st Regimental Combat Company in counterattacking and dislodging the enemy's hold on the right flank of the regiment; and Lieut Teodoro Kalaw who undertook the hazardous task of coordinating the mission of the 41st lnfantry and the 31st lnfantry (US) without flinching under the intense enemy fire. All the four afore-mentioned officers were each awarded the Silver Star by the United States Army and subsequently the Gold Cross iVledal by the Philippine Army.




January 16,"1942

The 51st Division, reinforced by the 3rd Batallion of the 21st lnfantry, launched a counterattack at dawn of the 16th. The 51st lnfantry overran the heavy enemy resistance and went beyond the lvlLR, thus creating a bulge with its flanks exposed.

Before the 51st Division could adjust its line, the Japanese l-rad been unheard of for several days, suddenly surfaced from the west and struck at the left flank of the 51st lnfantry. The 51st lnfantry found itself in danger of being encircling and was thereby forced to beat a hasty

9th lnfantry, which





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withdrawal, thus uncovering the left flank of the 43rd lnfantry in the 51st Division sector.

The sudden appearance of the Japanese 9th lnfantry from the west was a shocking surprise to the 51st Division because of the apparently insuperable barrier offered by Mt. Natib to any troop movement. After several attempts to establish contact with the I Corps in this area produced no result, it was concluded that this was so because the enemy would not risk sending a force to traverse the area or that, if he did, such force would not succeed in negotiating the distance in such time as a few days. Actually it had taken the enemy's 9th lnfantry about a week's time to be able to contact the left f lank units of the I I Corps. lnstead of going in pursuit of the 51st lnfantry, the enemy's 141st lnfantry had veered towards the east and collided with the left flank of the 43rd lnfantry. Reinforced by the 41st Combat Engineer Battalion, the 43rd lnfantry held firm and refused to budge from its position. Even before that day, the 41st Division had already been subjected to terrific artillery shelling for several days. All day of the 1Sth, the Jdpanese kept throwing fresh troops into the sector of the 42nd lnfantry under Major Claro B. Lizardo. Totally unmindful of his casualties, the enemy would send wave after wave to go over the minefields and flung themselves on the wires in futile efforts to climb over. The succeeding waves would walk over the dead bodies only to be cut down by machine gun fire and met by the bayonets of the Filipino troops.

The next day, the 16th, in coordination with the attack of the 22nd lnfantry on its right, Major Fidel Cruz, Commander 53



of the 41st lnfantry ordered his 1st Battalion under Capt Jocobo Zobel, to counterattack. Jumping off at 5:00 AlVl, the counterattack bogged doWn only after having pushed back the enemy 2,5A0 yards. Capt Zobel's battalion held the enemy even then until a coordinated drive with the 22nd lnfantry restored the original tvlLR. For his gallant action in this battle, Capt Zobel was awarded his second Gold Cross lVledal.



the 51st Division was faced with the critical

of maintaining its position with the enemy's


lnfantry having penetrated to its right and the Japanese 9th lnfantry to its immediate front, facing the 53rd lnfantry. Unknown to General Jones, the Japanese 141st lnfantry was more concerned with its attack against lVlajor Salgado's 43rd lnfantry. He was also not cognizant and in no position to launch an attack yet. He then decided to withdraw the 53rd lnfantry to the south. Some of the 53rd lnfantry lost themselves in the thick jungles that covered lvlt. Natib but most reached Guitol eventually. Fortunately, the Japanese did not pursue the withdrawing 51st Division but instead continued on with its enveloping maneuver against the 41st Division. General Lim saw that his division was hard-pressed by two enemy drives against it, by the Japanese 141st lnfantry to his left and the other by the 142nd lnfantry to his right. The 41st Division had all its regiments on the line and the only divison reserve was a provisional battalion built around the 41st Combat Engineers commanded by Capt Rigoberto Z. Atienza. ln ingenious moves, General Lim shifted this battallion several times from one flank to another to meet the enemy f lanking attacks and each time its intrepid men succeeded in stopping the enemy advance. 54

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