The Japanese began their invasion of the Philippines on 8 December 1941, starting with Batan Island. After claiming the small island, they used its airstrip as a small airbase, to help launch attacks on other islands of the Philippines.
Vigan was invaded on 10 December 1941, at the same time as Aparri and Camiguin Island. There was a small attack by the US Air Force against the Japanese carriers and transports, damaging the transports Oigawa Maru and Takao Maru, which were beached to prevent sinking. The minesweeper W-10 was also sunk. There were also injuries aboard other ships. Bad weather hampered the landings and only a portion of the crew was able to land on the island.