Battle of Baguio (1945)

Capture of Baguio
Part of World War II and the Allied Liberation of the Philippines
Surrender of Japanese Forces in the Philippines 1945.jpg
Date21 February – 26 April 1945[1]
Result Allied victory
Allied forces liberate Baguio from Japanese occupiers

 United States


Commanders and leaders
General Walter Krueger
Major General Innis P. Swift[2]
Major General Percy W. Clarkson[3]
Major General Robert S. Beightler[4]
Colonel Russell W. Volckmann[5][6]
General Tomoyuki Yamashita[2]
Lieutenant General Fukutaro Nishiyama[7]
Major General Noakata Utsunomiya[2]
Major General Bunzo Sato[7]
Units involved

United States Sixth Army[2][8][9][2][10]

United States Commonwealth of the Philippines United States Army Forces in the Philippines – Northern Luzon[2]

  • 11th Infantry Regiment, USAFIP-NL[2]
  • 66th Infantry Regiment, USAFIP-NL[2]

Empire of Japan Fourteenth Area Army[2][2]

Casualties and losses
Over 2,000 killed[2]

The Battle of Baguio (Filipino: Labanan sa Baguio Ilocano: Gubat ti Baguio) occurred between 21 February and 26 April 1945, and was part of the greater Luzon campaign during the Allied liberation of the Philippines at the end of World War II.[2] During the battle, American and Philippine forces recaptured the city of Baguio on the island of Luzon from a Japanese occupation force. One of the last tank engagements of the Philippine campaign took place during the battle. Baguio later became the scene of the final surrender of Japanese forces in the Philippines in September 1945.[11]


Prior to World War II, Baguio was the summer capital of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, as well as the home of the Philippine Military Academy.[12] In 1939, the city had a population of 24,000 people, most of whom were Filipinos, along with other nationalities, including about 500 Japanese.[13] Following the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1941, the Japanese used Camp John Hay, an American installation in Baguio, as a military base.[13] In October 1944, American soldiers landed on Leyte, beginning the liberation of the Philippines.[14]

General Tomoyuki Yamashita, the commander of the Japanese Fourteenth Area Army, transferred his headquarters to Baguio in December 1944, planning to fight a delaying action against the Americans to give time for Japan to defend itself.[5] In early January 1945, American forces landed at Lingayen Gulf.[7] Thereafter, the American Sixth Army conducted two campaigns, one against the Japanese forces east of Manila, and the second against Yamashita's forces in northern Luzon.[6]


Between late February and early April 1945, the Allied forces, primarily consisting of the United States Army's 33rd Infantry Division, with assistance from regiments of the Philippine guerrilla force United States Army Forces in the Philippines – Northern Luzon, advanced towards Baguio.[2] By late March, the city was within range of American artillery.[7] President José P. Laurel of the collaborationist Second Philippine Republic, having moved to Baguio from Manila in December 1944, departed Baguio on 22 March, reaching Taiwan on 30 March;[15] the remainder of the Second Republic government in the Philippines, along with Japanese civilians, were ordered to evacuate Baguio on 30 March.[2] Yamashita and his staff relocated to Bambang.[7][16] A major offensive to capture Baguio did not occur until mid-April, when United States Army's 37th Infantry Division, minus the 145th Infantry Regiment, was released from garrisoning Manila to launch a two-division assault into Baguio from the west and south.[2]

During the Allied drive towards Baguio from the west, a six-day battle was fought at Irisan Gorge and the nearby Irisan River.[2][17] This battle involved one of the last tank-versus-tank engagements of the Philippines campaign, between M4 Shermans of the U.S. Army's Company B, 775th Tank Battalion and Type 97s of the IJA's 5th Tank Company, 10th Tank Regiment.[18]

In mid-April, 7,000 civilians, including foreign nationals, made their way from Baguio to American lines.[19] Among them were five cabinet members of the Second Republic; Brigadier General Manuel Roxas was "freed",[19] the other four were captured as collaborators.[20] On 22 April, Major General Noakata Utsunomiya, who had been left in command of the defense of Baguio by Yamashita, ordered a withdrawal from Baguio. On 24 April, the first Allied forces – a patrol of the 129th Infantry Regiment – entered Baguio.[2]


General Yamashita (center, on the near side of the table) at the surrender ceremony at Camp John Hay on 3 September 1945.

Yamashita, along with 50,500 men of the Shobu Group, held out against the American advance in northern Luzon until 15 August 1945.[7][16][21] On 3 September 1945, one day after the official Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay, Yamashita formally surrendered Japanese forces in the Philippines at Camp John Hay's American Residence in the presence of lieutenant-generals Arthur Percival and Jonathan Wainwright.[11]


  1. ^ "33d Infantry Division". U.S. Center of Military History. United States Army. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2014. Baguio and Camp John Hay fell on 26 April, under the concerted attack of the 33d and the 37th Divisions.
    "37th Infantry Division". U.S. Center of Military History. United States Army. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2014. After garrison duty in Manila, 5–26 March, the Division shifted to the hills of Northwest Luzon, where heavy fighting culminated in the capture of Baguio, 26 April.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Smith, Robert Ross (1993). "Chapter XXV: The Collapse of the Baguio Front". Triumph in the Philippines (PDF). Department of the Army. pp. 468–490. ISBN 978-0-16-023810-9. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  3. ^ "Maj. Gen. Percy W. Clarkson". U.S. Army Pacific. United States Army. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  4. ^ "37th Infantry Division". U.S. Army Center of Military History. U.S. Army. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b Morison, Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot (2002). History of United States Naval Operations in World War II: The Liberation of the Philippines – Luzon, Mindanao, The Visayas, 1944–1945. University of Illinois Press. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-252-07064-8.
    Barnett, Louise (21 January 2010). Atrocity and American Military Justice in Southeast Asia: Trial by Army. Routledge. p. 138. ISBN 978-1-135-17236-7.
  6. ^ a b Leary, William M. (1 May 2004). We Shall Return!: MacArthur's Commanders and the Defeat of Japan, 1942–1945. University Press of Kentucky. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-8131-9105-8.
  7. ^ a b c d e f MacArthur, General of the Army Douglas (2006). "Chapter XV: Battle on Luzon". Reports of General MacArthur. Center of Military History. pp. 467–527. ISBN 978-1-78266-037-8. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  8. ^ Salecker, Gene Eric (2008). Rolling Thunder Against The Rising Sun. Mechanicburg, PA: Stackpole Books. p. 260. ISBN 978-0-8117-0314-7. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  9. ^ "Toward Baguio". 33rd Infantry Division Association. 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  10. ^ Williams, Mary H. (1999). Special Studies, Chronology, 1941–1945. Government Printing Office. p. 501. ISBN 978-0-16-001876-3. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
  11. ^ a b General Staff of General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (1966). "Chapter XIV: Japan's Surrender". Reports of General MacArthur: The Campaign of MacArthur in the Pacific, Volume I. United States Army. p. 464. ISBN 978-1-78266-035-4. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
    "The American Residence in Baguio". Embassy of the United States, Manila, Philippines. United States Department of State. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
    Farrell, Brian; Hunter, Sandy (15 December 2009). A Great Betrayal: The Fall of Singapore Revisited. Marshall Cavendish International Asia Pte Ltd. p. 163. ISBN 9789814435468.
    Tucker, Spencer (21 November 2012). Almanac of American Military History, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 1727. ISBN 978-1-59884-530-3.
  12. ^ Sakakida, Richard; Kiyosaki, Wayne S. (3 July 1995). A Spy in Their Midst: The World War II Struggle of a Japanese-American Hero. Madison Books. p. 165. ISBN 978-1-4616-6286-0.
  13. ^ a b "Flowers, new song for 72nd year of Baguio war bombings". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 9 December 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  14. ^ "60th Anniversary Battle of Leyte Gulf". United States Department of Defense. 20 October 2004. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
    "U.S. forces land at Leyte Island in the Philippines". History Channel. A&E Television Networks, LLC. Archived from the original on 5 July 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  15. ^ Jose, Ricardo T. "Government in Exile" (PDF). Scalabrini Migration Center. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 October 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
  16. ^ a b Zeiler, Thomas W. (2004). Unconditional Defeat: Japan, America, and the End of World War II. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-8420-2991-9.
  17. ^ Mathias, Frank F. (1999). GI Jive: An Army Bandsman in World War II. University Press of Kentucky. p. 170. ISBN 978-0-8131-2785-9.
    Spector, Ronald H. (11 December 2012). Eagle Against the Sun: The American War with Japan. Simon & Schuster. p. 561. ISBN 978-1-4767-2742-4.
    Ohl, John Kennedy (2001). Minuteman: The Military Career of General Robert S. Beightler. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 202. ISBN 978-1-55587-923-5.
    Caluza, Desiree (28 April 2009). "Gratitude, roses for liberators of Baguio". Inquirer Northern Luzon. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
    Nalty, Bernard C. (1999). War in the Pacific: Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay : the Story of the Bitter Struggle in the Pacific Theater of World War II, Featuring Commissioned Photographs of Artifacts from All the Major Combatants. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 222. ISBN 978-0-8061-3199-3.
  18. ^ Zaloga, Steven J. (2012). M4 Sherman Vs Type 97 Chi-Ha: The Pacific 1945. Osprey Publishing. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-84908-638-7.
  19. ^ a b "M'Arthur Frees 7,000 Civilians In Luzon Drive: Troops Reach Edge of Baguio". Chicago Tribune. Manila. Associated Press. 18 April 1945. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  20. ^ Harris, Reg (19 April 1945). "Secret Trek Saves 7000". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
    Dexter, Frank (19 April 1945). "7,000 Rescued From Baguio – "Puppet" Ministers Seized". The Argus. Melbourne. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
    Chapman, Abraham (2001). "Notes on the Philippine elections". In Krotaska, Paul H. (ed.). South East Asia, Colonial History: Peaceful transitions to independence (1945–1963). Taylor & Francis. p. 376. ISBN 978-0-415-24784-9.
    Rovere, Richard Halworth (1992). General MacArthur and President Truman: The Struggle for Control of American Foreign Policy. Transaction Publishers. p. 83. ISBN 978-1-4128-2439-2.
    Karnow, Stanley (24 November 2010). In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines. Random House Publishing Group. p. 626. ISBN 978-0-307-77543-6.
  21. ^ "Luzon 1944–1945". Center of Military History. United States Army. 3 October 2003. Retrieved 25 September 2014.

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