Japanese invasion of Batan Island

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For the following Japanese invasion of Bataan Peninsula, see Battle of Bataan.
Japanese invasion of Batan Island
Part of Philippines Campaign (1941–42), Pacific Theater
A map of Luzon Island showing Japanese landings and advances from 8 December 1941 to 8 January 1942.
Date 8 December 1941
Location Batan Island, Philippines
Result Japanese victory
 Empire of Japan  Commonwealth of the Philippines


The Japanese had been officially planning a strike on Pearl Harbor since early 1941, but high brass in the Japanese Navy had been toying with the idea for quite some time.[1] In fact, the idea was common enough that there were several science fiction books on the attack of Hawaii by Japan written in the 1920s and 1930s. One such book was Morgan Robertson's Beyond the Spectrum[2]

After the fall of France to the Axis, Japan began to look towards the south with renewed energy, specifically French Indochina. After a very brief invasion, French Indochina was under Japanese control. The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was a plan made by the Japanese in 1940 to control much of Eastern Asia.

After much planning for the Attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese finally abandoned their principle of Kantai Kessen ("Decisive Battle"), which had been steadily declining in popularity since the 1930s. A plan to lure the enemy in and attack them with all of Japan's might, and decided to make a great strike in the Pacific. They struck Pearl Harbor, followed by almost simultaneous invasions of Thailand, the Dutch East Indies, Malaya, and the Philippines, followed closely by an invasion of Burma. Batan Island was the first part of the Philippines invaded by the Japanese. The Japanese attack on Batan Island was set up an air base for future operations.[3]


The Japanese invasion of Batan Island was the first step in their invasion of the Philippines. The invasion was mainly launched from the Japanese ports of Takao and Hozan on Formosa (also known as Taiwan), but some invaded from Palau,[4] which was under Japanese control at the time. Japan started the invasion just hours after its attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack on Batan Island was one of several other advance landings; the other landings took place at Aparri, Vigan, Legaspi, Davao, and Jolo Island.[5]


  1. ^ Prange, Gordon. At Dawn We Slept. Penguin Books. ISBN 0140064559. 
  2. ^ "Beyond The Spectrum". readbookonline.net. Retrieved 10 April 2014. 
  3. ^ United States Strategic Bombing Survey. United States Government Printing Office. pp. 26–51. 
  4. ^ Interrogation of Japanese Officials (OPNAV-P-03-100). p. 275. 
  5. ^ "The First Landings". Retrieved 18 March 2014.