Philippine resistance against Japan

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Philippine resistance against Japan
Propaganda poster depicts the Philippine resistance movement.jpg
Date 1941-1945
Location Southeast Asia
Result Filipino victory
 Empire of Japan Communist Party of Vietnam flag.svg Hukbalahap

 Second Philippine Republic

TaiwanChinese irregulars

United States American stragglers

Commanders and leaders
Japan Masaharu Homma

Empire of Japan Tomoyuki Yamashita

Communist Party of Vietnam flag.svg Luis Taruc

Commonwealth of the Philippines Ramon Magsaysay

Commonwealth of the Philippines Ferdinand E. Marcos

Commonwealth of the Philippines Lt. Col. Manuel Enriquez

Commonwealth of the Philippines Lt. Col. Claude Thorp

Commonwealth of the Philippines Lt. Col. Martin Moses

Taiwan Huang Chieh

United StatesColonel Wendell Fertig

United StatesColonel Hugh Straughn to

344,000 260,000
Casualties and losses
100,000 70,544 overall

During the Japanese occupation in World War II, there was an extensive Philippine resistance movement, which opposed the Japanese with active underground and guerrilla activity that increased over the years. Fighting the guerrillas were a Japanese-formed Bureau of Constabulary (later taking the name of the old Philippine Constabulary during the Second Republic),[1][2] Kempeitai,[1] and the Makapili.[3] Postwar studies revealed that around 260,000 persons were organized under guerrilla groups and that members of anti-Japanese underground organizations were more numerous. Such was their effectiveness that by the end of World War II, Japan controlled only twelve of the forty-eight provinces.[4]

Also by the end of the war, some 277 separate guerrilla units made up of some 260,715 individuals fought in the resistance movement.[5] Select units of the resistance would go on to be reorganized and equipped as units of the Philippine Army and Constabulary.[6]


The Attack on Pearl Harbor (called Hawaii Operation or Operation AI[7][8] by the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters (Operation Z in planning)[9] and the Battle of Pearl Harbor[10]) was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan and the Philippines). The attack was intended as a preventive action in order to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with military actions the Empire of Japan was planning in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States.

Immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese pushed on the operations to invade the Philippines. 43 planes bombed Tuguegarao and Baguio in the first preemptive strike in Luzon.[11] The Japanese forces then quickly conducted a landing at Batan Island, and by December 17, General Masaharu Homma gave his estimate that the main component of the United States Air Force in the archipelago was destroyed.[11] By January 2, Manila was under Japanese control and by January 9, Homma had cornered the remaining forces in Bataan.[11] By April 9, the remaining of the combined Filipino-American force was forced to retire from Bataan to Corregidor. Meanwhile, Japanese invasions of Cebu (April 19) and Panay (April 20) met enormous successes.[11] By May 7, after the last of the Japanese attacks on Corregidor, General Jonathan M. Wainwright announced through a radio broadcast in Manila the surrender of the Philippines. Following Wainwright was General William F. Sharp, who surrendered Visayas and Mindanao on May 10.[11]

Then came the Bataan Death March (Japanese:Batān Shi no Kōshin (バターン死の行進?)) (1942) was the forcible transfer, by the Imperial Japanese Army, of 60,000 Filipino and 15,000 American prisoners of war after the three-month Battle of Bataan in the Philippines during World War II.[12] The death toll of the march is difficult to assess as thousands of captives were able to escape from their guards (although many were killed during their escapes), and it is not known how many died in the fighting that was taking place concurrently. All told, approximately 2,500–10,000 Filipino and 300–650 American prisoners of war died before they could reach Camp O'Donnell.[13]

Hukbalahap resistance[edit]

As originally constituted in March 1942, the Hukbalahap was to be part of a broad united front resistance to the Japanese occupation of the Philippines.[14] This original intent is reflected in its name: "Hukbong Bayan Laban sa mga Hapon", which was "People's Army Against the Japanese" when translated into English. The adopted slogan was "Anti-Japanese Above All".[15]

The Huk Military Committee was at the apex of Huk structure and was charged to direct the guerrilla campaign and to lead the revolution that would seize power after the war.[15] Luis Taruc; a communist leader and peasant-organizer from a barrio in Pampanga; was elected as head the committee, and became the first Huk commander called "El Supremo".[15]

The Huks began their anti-Japanese campaign as five 100-man units. They obtained needed arms and ammunition from Philippine army stragglers, which were escapees from the Battle of Bataan and deserters from the Philippine Constabulary, in exchange of civilian clothes. The Huk recruitment campaign progressed more slowly than Taruc had expected, due to U.S. Army Forces Far East (USAFFE) guerrilla units, of which Ramon Magsaysay was included. The U.S. units already had recognition among the islands, had trained military leaders, and an organized command and logistical system.[15] Despite being restrained by the American sponsored guerrilla units, the Huks nevertheless took to the battlefield only 500 men and much fewer weapons. Several setbacks at the hands of the Japanese and with less than enthusiastic support from USAFFE units did not hinder the Huks growth in size and efficiency throughout the war, developing into a well trained, highly organized force with some 15,000 armed fighters by war's end.[15]

USAFFE and American sponsored guerrillas[edit]

After Bataan and Corregidor, many who escaped the Japanese reorganized in the mountains as guerrillas still loyal to the U.S. Army Forces Far East (USAFFE). One example would be the unit of Ramon Magsaysay in Zambales, which first served as a supply and intelligence unit. After the surrender in May 1942, Magsaysay and his unit formed a guerrilla force which grew to a 10,000-man force by the end of the war.[16] Another was the Hunters ROTC which operated in the Southern Luzon area, mainly near Manila. It was created upon dissolution of the Philippine Military Academy in the beginning days of the war. Cadet Terry Adivoso, refused to simply go home as cadets were ordered to do, and began recruiting fighters willing to undertake guerrilla action against the Japanese.[17][18] This force would later be instrumental, providing intelligence to the liberating forces led by General Douglas MacArthur, and took an active role in numerous battles, such as the Raid at Los Baños. When war broke out in the Philippines, some 300 Philippine Military Academy and ROTC cadets, unable to join the USAFFE units because of their youth, banded together in a common desire to contribute to the war effort throughout the Bataan campaign. The Hunters originally conducted operations with another guerrilla group called Marking's Guerrillas, with whom they went about liquidating Japanese spies. Led by Miguel Ver, a PMA cadet, the Hunters raided the enemy-occupied Union College in Manila and seized 130 Enfield rifles.[19]

Also, before being proven false in 1985, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos claimed that he had commanded a 9,000-strong force of guerrillas known as the Maharlika Unit. Marcos also used maharlika as his personal nom de guerre, depicting himself as the most bemedalled anti-Japanese Filipino guerrilla fighter during World War II.[20][21]

Guerrilla armies[edit]

A variety of guerrilla organizations sprang up in the Philippine Islands during the Japanese occupation. The following list begins with the LGF, the first major guerrilla organization in the Philippine Islands, then lists the major units on Luzon, Panay, and Mindanao, arranged in order of their locations, approximately north to south. Other units also existed on Luzon and almost every inhabited Philippine island.

  • Communist Party of Vietnam flag.svg Hukbalahap. The Hukbalahap (literally, "the army to fight Japan") was formed by a Francisco Lava (or Lara) and Luis Taruc as a union of the Philippine communist and socialist parties at the outset of the war. It was a large, well organized and most ruthless guerrilla organization numbering 100,000 members at its maximum strength. The Huks had on-going contact with members of the Free Philippines underground in Manila, although there was no formal relationship with that group. Based at Mount Arayat in Pampanga Province, the Huks made it clear that they intended to form a communist government in Pampanga and eventually to take over the government of the Philippines. Disagreements, and even battles, between the Huks and the USAFFE guerrillas were common. After the war, the Huks refused to disarm and continued to fight the Philippine government forces well into the 1950s. The Huk district political leaders were:

South Pampanga, Maj. Jose Banal (aka Jose Poblete). East Pampanga, Felipe Culala (aka Dayang-Dayang), a female guerrilla. North of Mt. Arayat, Esuebio Aquino. Nueva Ecija, Jose "Dimasalang" de Leone. West Pampanga, Abelardo Dabu. Bulacan, Ramon Robles. Laguna, Pedro Villegas (aka Carlos Hassim).

Militarily the Huks fielded combat "Squadrons" of 100 men each, divided into platoons and squads. Two squadrons = a battalion, and two battalions = a regiment. Each squadron had a commander, a vice-commander, a political instructor, a supply officer, and an intelligence officer, although there were no ranks. Sqdn 25, Nueva Ecija, commander Leon Estares. Sqdn 48, Manila, a Chinese squadron called "Wa Chi," commander Col. Ong. Sqdn 58, Manila, a Chinese squadron, commander Alfonso de la Rosa. Sqdn 77, Bulacan-Pampanga, commander Dante. Sqdn 104, Pampanga, commander Guerrero (a woman who often dressed as a man).

  • PhilippinesUnited States Luzon Guerrilla Force (LGF). During the Battle of Bataan in January 1942, Lt. Col. Claude Thorp, former Provost Marshall of Fort Stotsenberg, was authorized by General MacArthur to take a party of volunteers and infiltrate through enemy lines to establish a spy station in the Zambales Mountains above Clark Field. Thorp and his men observed Japanese activity on Clark Field and radioed reports of Japanese bombers taking off to attack Bataan and Corregidor. Thorp was also authorized to organize Filipino guerrillas to sabotage Japanese operations. After the American surrenders of Bataan and Corregidor, he formed the LGF, the original "USAFFE guerrilla" organization in the Philippines. Col. Thorp divided Luzon Island into four areas and appointed over each a commander, who was charged with recruiting guerrillas and forming an effective anti-Japanese guerrilla movement in his area of responsibility:
    • North Luzon Military District, Capt. Ralph Praeger until his capture in August 1943.
    • East Central Luzon Guerrilla Area (ECLGA), Captain Joe Barker until the Japanese captured Colonel Colonel Thorp in October 1942, then Lieutenant Edwin Ramsey.
    • Western Luzon Guerrilla Area, Captain Ralph McGuire until he was killed in April 1943, then Captain Gualberto Sia (aka Ernest Neuman).
    • Southern Luzon, Captain Jack Spies. However, Spies was killed on his way to South Luzon, and this part of the organization never materialized.

The Japanese captured Colonel Thorp in October, 1942 and his deputy, Captain Joseph R. Barker took command of LGF. In January 1943, Barker went into Manila disguised as a Catholic priest and was also captured, after which the LGF began to fall apart. There was never a unified guerrilla command in the Philippines after Barker's capture. Even though Colonel Thorp and all of his appointed commanders were captured and executed by the Japanese, several of the guerrilla organizations he established continued to grow and became quite effective in intelligence gathering and in harassing the Japanese. The story of Colonel Claude A. Thorp and his men is included in Bataan Diary.

  • PhilippinesUnited States North Luzon Military District. Capt. Ralph Praeger, 26th Cavalry, was commanding officer of Troop C near Baguio in northern Luzon. After the Japanese landings at Lingayen Gulf in December 1941, he marched his troop to Tuguegarao Airfield in the Cagayan Valley and attacked, destroying several Japanese aircraft. He and his men refused to surrender to the Japanese in May 1942, and Col. Thorp appointed him to organize Filipino guerrillas in North Luzon. He established his headquarters in Kabugao, Apayao and joined Marcelo Adduru's Cagayan-Apayao Force in July 1942. Praeger made radio contact with General MacArthur's headquarters in Australia late in 1942, and came under the nominal control of Lt. Col. Martin Moses in February 1943, until Moses was captured on June 3, 1943. Praeger was captured by the Japanese in August 1943. The remnants of his guerrilla organization were picked up and re-organized by Major Russell Volckmann and Capt. Donald Blackburn. Ralph Praeger was executed in Manila in December 1944, as General Mac Arthur's forces approached Luzon. More information on Ralph Praeger can be found in Bernard Norling's The Intrepid Guerrillas of North Luzon.
  • Philippines Cagayan Force. Founded Dec. 10 1941, immediately after the Japanese attack, by Major Marcelo Adduru who was governor of Cagayan province in north Luzon. Adduru's guerrillas consisted primarily of Cagayan Philippine Constabulary personnel. Adduru was captured and imprisoned in April 1943. As soon as he was paroled in October 1943, Adduru revived the Cagayan Force. He was re-captured on July 5, 1944, and a Col. Gonzalo took over, but most of the personnel went over to the 11th Infantry Regiment under Volckmann.
    • Cagayan-Apayao Force – Governor Marcelo Adduru formed this organization on July 6, 1942, by combining his guerrilla force, men from the 14th Infantry Regiment, PA, and Capt. Ralph Praeger's 26th Cavalry, PS, Troop C.
  • Philippines United States Army Forces in the Philippines–Northern Luzon (USAFIP-NL). Having escaped from Bataan, Lt. Col. Martin Moses and Lt. Col. Arthur "Maxie" Noble founded their guerrilla command in the northern mountains near Baguio. They contacted Philippine Army commanders in the area who had refused to surrender and guerrilla organizers from Col. Thorp's organization, and began to plan a major strike against the Japanese. On October 15, 1942, they attacked the Japanese-owned Itogon Mines near Baguio and held the area for more than a week. The Japanese counter-attacked with infantry and tanks and drove the guerrillas back into the mountains, then took heavy reprisals on the civilian villages in the area. Moses and Noble retreated into headhunter country, and began to collect intelligence data to send to General MacArthur. They were tracked down by the Japanese and captured in June 1943, then executed. Elements of their command became independent units or were taken over by Russell Volckmann's USFIP-NL and Bernard Anderson's Kalayaan Command. Their officers and commanders included Capt. Ralph B. Praeger, Maj. Thomas S. Jones, Col. Marcelo Adduru, and Ali Al-Rashid. The story of Colonels Moses and Noble is included in Bataan Diary.
  • Philippines 14th Infantry Regiment. After the Japanese attack in 1941, Capt. Guillermo Nakar and his Philippine Army battalion held out in the mountains of north Luzon until General Wainwright surrendered. Nakar refused to surrender and developed his unit into a guerrilla force of about 1100 men. He was in radio contact with General MacArthur's headquarters until August 1942, and MacArthur promoted Nakar to Lt. Col. Nakar was betrayed and captured in September 1942, and subsequently executed by the Japanese. His organization was taken over by Capt. Manuel Enriquiez, then Capt. Romulo Manriquez, and continued to operate independently until November 1943 when it was absorbed by Major Russell Volckmann's USFIP-NL.
  • United States United States Forces in the Philippines--Northern Luzon (USFIP-NL). Organized by Major (guerrilla Colonel) Russell Volckmann, USFIP-NL became one of the largest and best organized guerrilla operations on Luzon, and one of the most ruthless. In August 1943, when Capt. Ralph Praeger was captured, Volckmann took over his North Luzon Military District. In November 1943 Volckmann took over the remnants of Capt. Guillermo Nakar's 14th Infantry after Nakar was captured. In August 1944 he made radio contact with General MacArthur's headquarters, and in the fall of 1944 received 35 tons of supplies brought in by the submarine Seawolf. On January 9, 1945, Volckmann and his men met General MacArthur's invading forces on the beaches of Lingayen Gulf.
    • 11th (guerrilla) Infantry Regiment, Maj. Donald Blackburn; Cagayan Valley

14th (guerrilla) Infantry Regiment, Maj. Romulo Manriquez; Nueva Vizcaya 15th (guerrilla) Infantry Regiment, Maj. Robert Arnold; Ilocos Norte 66th (guerrilla) Infantry Regiment, Maj. Dennis Molintas; Baguio area 121st (guerrilla) Infantry Regiment, Capt. Walter Cushing, Capt. William Peryam, Lt. Col. Manuel Enriquez, Maj. George Barnett; Ilocos Sur

  • PhilippinesUnited States Luzon Guerrilla Armed Forces (LGAF) (Lapham's Raiders). 1st Lt. (guerrilla Major) Robert Lapham was a member of Lt. Col. Claude Thorp's original infiltration party. Thorp placed him in charge of recruiting guerrillas in Western Tarlac and Pangasinan provinces. When the Japanese captured Thorp, Lapham kept his own guerrilla organization intact and independent. When Volckmann claimed him as part of USFIP-NL, Lapham told General MacArthur's headquarters that he reported to Major Bernard Anderson's Kalayaan Command. At its peak, Lapham's organization was reported to include about 10,000 men. Lapham's Raiders, by Robert Lapham and Bernard Norling documents the activities of the LGAF. Behind Japanese Lines, by Ray Hunt and Bernard Norling documents Ray Hunt's escape from the Japanese and subsequent union with Robert Lapham.

Nueva Ecija, Capt. Harry McKenzie Western Tarlac, Capt. Albert S. Hendrickson Pangasinan, Capt. Ray Hunt.

O'Donnell Regiment, Elisio V. Mallari.

  • PhilippinesUnited States East Central Luzon Guerrilla Area (ECLGA). After the fall of Corregidor on May 6, 1942, Lt. Col. Claude Thorp appointed Captain Joseph R. Barker, 26th Cavalry, to recruit Filipino guerrillas in the Luzon central provinces. Barker's organization was dubbed the East Central Luzon Guerrilla Area. When the Japanese captured Thorp in October 1942, Barker took command of Thorp's organization, turning ECLGA over to Lieutenant (guerrilla Major) Edwin Ramsey. The Japanese captured and executed Barker, but Ramsey continued to expand ECLGA and by October, 1944 may have had command of as many as 45,000 Filipino volunteers, including the Bulacan Military District and the Bataan Military District, one of the largest guerrilla organizations in the islands. ECLGA had continuing problems with the Hukbalahap, who were also located in central Luzon, and their differences erupted into gunfire on multiple occasions. The Huks attempted to assassinate Ramsey, and on at least one occasion Ramsey issued orders that Huks be shot on sight. Ramsey was in regular contact with the Manila underground, including Manuel Roxas in Manila, and had frequent courier contact with Major Jesus Villamor's "Planet" spy network and radio station on Negros Island. Colonel Ramsey has documented his activities and the history of the ECLGA in his book Lieutenant Ramsey's War. The relationship between Major Ramsey and John Boone's Bataan guerrillas is described in Bataan Diary.
    • Pampanga Military District, Col. Abelardo de Dios

Bataan Military District, Cpl. (guerrilla Col.) John P. Boone Bulacan Military District, Col. Fausto Alberto

  • PhilippinesUnited States Squadron 155. Formed by Lt. Henry Clay Conner, an Air Corps signal officer who escaped from Bataan with Major Bernard Anderson, Squadron 155 was composed primarily of Negrito natives who lived along the east rim of the Zambales mountains above Clark Field and Fort Stotsenburg. Conner originally reported to Maj. Edwin Ramsey's ECLGA, but transferred his allegiance to Col. Gyles Merrill's LGF USFIP, nearby, when the latter became active during 1944. Conner ingratiated himself into the Negrito community and organized the spear and bow and arrow carrying natives into an anti-Japanese force. In 1944 he was joined by Lt. Felipe Maningo who headed a group of 150 Philippine Scouts. These men gathered intelligence data from Clark Field where many of them worked as laborers for the Japanese air corps, and passed it to Lt. Conner who passed it in turn to Col. Merrill, Al Bruce in Tarlac to his north, or to John Boone in Bataan to his south. Much of Squadron 155's data defined bombing targets for U.S. planes during the liberation, and their reports of Japanese fortifications in the Zambales Mountains led U.S. troops to root out the Japanese defenders, averting a deadly ambush of the U.S. 6th Army. Squadron 155 is described in On a Mountainside, by Malcolm Decker.
    • First Pampanga Regiment, Northwest Pampanga, Julian Mercado
    • Second Pampanga Regiment, Northwest Pampanga, Francisco Ocampo
    • Provisional Battalion of Negrito Scouts, Kojario Laxamana
    • 1st Provisional Battalion of Philippine Scouts, Lt. Felipe Maningo
  • PhilippinesUnited States Western Luzon Guerrilla Area (Zambales Military District) (Zambales guerrillas). Colonel Thorp appointed red-headed Captain Ralph McGuire, a pre-war mining engineer, to organize guerrillas in Zambales Province. McGuire was reasonably successful until the Japanese crackdown on guerrillas in April 1943, when he was betrayed for Japanese reward money. The Japanese cut off McGuire's head, mounted it on a pole, and paraded it through the villages of Zambales as a symbol of American weakness. However, the Zambales guerrilla organizations continued, headed by Gualberto Sia, who reported to Maj. Bernard Anderson's Kalayaan Command. During 1944, most of the 6,000 Filipino-led guerrillas in Zambales switched from Anderson's command to Col. Gyles Merrill, who was hiding in the Zambales Mountains and who outranked Major Anderson. In January, 1945, Capt. Ramon Magsaysay's guerrillas were successful in driving the Japanese off of the Zambales coast, enabling MacArthur's XI Corps to land on the beaches of Zambales unopposed. Once the area was under U.S. control, Col. Gyles Merrill recommended that Magsaysay be appointed provisional governor of Zambales. Magsaysay went on to become President of the Philippine Republic.

United States Philippine Islands Forces (USPIF)--Zambales, Gualberto Sia Subic Bay Area, Earnest Johnson Castillejos and San Marcellino, Antonio Francisco Coastal Zambales, Capt. Ramon Magsaysay Squadron D, H. S. Johnson.

  • PhilippinesUnited States Luzon Guerrilla Forces, United States Forces in the Philippines (LGF USFIP). Colonel Gyles Merrill escaped from the Death March and in August 1942 gathered a small group of officers who had been in hiding at the Fassoth Camp. He briefly offered his services to Lt. Col. Thorp (Merrill outranked Thorp), but when Thorp was captured in October 1942 Merrill and his men moved back into the Zambales Mountains and hid out until MacArthur's forces approached the Philippines in 1944. During this period Merrill made contact with and assumed nominal command of the Zambales guerrilla organizations, and made contact with the Chinese underground in Manila. As American forces began working their way through the Pacific in 1944, Merrill, as the highest ranking officer in the Philippines, issued orders that all guerrilla commanders on Luzon were to report to him. A conflict developed, and only the guerrilla leaders in his immediate geographical area agreed to follow his orders When U.S. forces landed on the Zambales coast, they found the coast cleared of Japanese—the Zambales guerrillas acting under Merrill's orders had forced the Japanese off the coastline and back to the Subic Bay area. Colonel Merrill and his organization are described in Bataan Diary. Zambales Guerrillas, Gualberto Sia Mountain Group Command, Lt. Col. Eddie Wright:Provisional Regiment of Philippine Scouts, Lt. Col. Eddie Wright
  • PhilippinesUnited States Provisional Regiment of Philippine Scouts. Lt. Col. Eddie Wright, 45th Infantry (PS), refused to surrender to the Japanese and hid out in northern Bataan expecting that General MacArthur would return to the Philippines with reinforcements within a few months. When that did not happen, Wright at first became discouraged but then resolved to raise a battalion of former Philippine Scouts to attack the Japanese from the rear when Mac Arthur's army did return. Late in 1944, he approached Col. Gyles Merrill, LGF USFIP, for authorization to proceed with his plan and to solicit Merrill's logistical support. Merrill expanded Wright's planned battalion into a full regiment by assigning Philippine Scout organizations that had joined Al Bruce's South Tarlac Military District and Clay Conner's Pampanga Military District. Merrill assigned Wright's Scouts to prevent Japanese troops from crossing the Zambales mountains from the interior of Luzon to the coast. Wright got his regiment organized, but had no weapons with which to fight the Japanese until after the American forces landed at Lingayen beach and on the Zambales coast. After the American forces arrived and supplied them with arms in January 1945, the Philippine Scouts rejoined the regular U.S. Army and participated in operations against the Japanese until the war ended in August. The Provisional Regiment of Philippine Scouts is described in Bataan Diary.
    • 1st Battalion, Lt. Felipe Maningo

2nd Battalion, Sgt. (guerrilla Capt.) Alfred Bruce 3rd Battalion, Maj. Royal Reynolds

  • PhilippinesUnited States Bataan Military District. Formed by Corporal (guerrilla Colonel) John Boone, 31st Infantry, the Bataan Military District grew slowly in northern Bataan throughout the Japanese occupation. Boone was helped by, and reported to, Major Edwin Ramsey of ECLGA. He had regular contact with the Manila underground, specifically with Claire Phillips at Club Tsubaki, and he obtained intelligence reports from Manila Bay and from the Subic Bay area which he passed on to Major Ramsey. When General MacArthur's forces returned to Luzon in January 1945, Boone's forces sabotaged Japanese infrastructure on Bataan and conducted harassing attacks on the Japanese forces in the Zig-zag Pass. The Bataan Military District is described in detail in Bataan Diary.

1st (guerrilla) Infantry Regiment, Lt. Col. Ceferino Regala, Dinalupihan area 2nd (guerrilla) Infantry Regiment, Lt. Col. Victor Abad, bayside 3rd (guerrilla) Infantry Regiment, Lt. Col. Andres Megano, seaside 4th (guerrilla) Infantry Regiment, Lt. Col. Federico Lumbre, southern Bataan

  • PhilippinesUnited States Bulacan Military District/Area. Captain Joe Barker appointed Captain Alejo Santos to recruit guerrillas in Bulacan and form the Bulacan Military District. Major Edwin Ramsey succeeded to Barker's command after Barker was captured in 1942, and Santos decided to set up an independent guerrilla organization. Two regiments stayed in Ramsey's organization, under the command of Col. Fausto Alberto, and kept the name Bulacan Military District. Santos' regiment was thereafter designated the "Bulacan Military Area", and he worked loosely under the leadership of Major Bernard Anderson.
  • PhilippinesUnited States Kalayaan Command. Air Corps Major Bernard Anderson formed this organization of about 15,000 men in Tayabas (now Quezon) Province west of Manila after Col. Claude Thorp and Capt. Joe Barker were captured. Anderson had refused to surrender to the Japanese on Bataan, and found his way to Col. Thorp's camp where he was assigned to assist Barker in recruiting and organizing guerrillas in central Luzon. Anderson concentrated on intelligence gathering and propaganda. To avoid reprisals on the civilian population he refrained from attacking the Japanese until four days before General MacArthur's 6th Army landed at Lingayen Gulf.
    • Ball Military Area (aka Bulacan Military Area), Bulacan, Maj. Alejo Santos.

Ohio Military Area, Bicol, Maj. Russell Barrios. Texas Military District, Lingayen Area. Salt Military Area, Tayabas, Pedro Redor. York Military District, Manila.

  • Republic of China (1912–1949) Chinese Anti-Japanese Guerrilla Force. Manila and the surrounding areas had a substantial population of Chinese merchants who had migrated into the area over the years. Japan attacked China in 1937 and committed horrible atrocities there, so there was no love lost between the Chinese and Japanese. Under the leadership of Huang Chieh and a Col. Sheng, among others, the Chinese population of the Philippines actively opposed the Japanese as best they could. They raised money for relief efforts in China and for Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek's army, gathered intelligence information for General MacArthur, and fought as guerrillas in central Luzon.
  • PhilippinesUnited States South Luzon Military District. Colonel Thorp appointed Captain George J. "Jack" Spies, 26th Cavalry, to recruit Filipino guerrillas in Southern Luzon. As he traveled south from Thorp's headquarters in the Zambales mountains he was betrayed by a pro-Japanese Filipino and killed by the Japanese. The South Luzon Military District, therefore, never actually got off the ground. However, another guerrilla command was organized in South Luzon by Col. Hugh Straughn. See Fil-American Irregular Troops (FAIT), below.
  • PhilippinesUnited States Fil-American Irregular Troops (FAIT). During the siege of Bataan, General Douglas MacArthur authorized retired Spanish-American War veteran Colonel Hugh Straughn to organize the FAIT in the southern mountains near Antipolo, Rizal. As MacArthur left the Philippines and Bataan fell, Straughn extended his command to cover all of the area south and east of Manila. His was the only large, unified guerrilla command besides Col. Thorp's, and within the FAIT several other guerrilla organizations were born, including President Quezon's Own Guerrillas (PQOG), Terry Hunter's ROTC Guerrillas, and Marking's Guerrillas. When Straughn was captured in August, 1943, most of these organizations became independent under their respective leaders. Portions of FAIT remained intact under nominal control of "Col. Elliot P. Ellsworth" (General Vincente Lim) in Manila, until Lim was captured. Straughn and Lim were both executed by the Japanese.
  • Philippines Marking's Guerrillas. Two of the most colorful[according to whom?] guerrilla leaders in World War II were Marcos Villa Augustin (Marking), a former cab driver and boxer from Manila, and his deputy-mistress-wife-biographer Yay Panlillio, an American mestizo and former newspaper reporter. Marking's guerrillas formed in the Sierra Madre mountains east of Manila under Col. Straughn's umbrella, and became an independent organization when Straughn was captured in August 1943. Marking's organization developed a reputation for ruthlessness, and was often in open conflict with the nearby Hunters ROTC guerrillas.
    • 1st Army Corps, Rizal, Laguna, Batangas, Tayabas

2nd Army Corps, Manila, Bulacan, Cavite 3rd Army Corps, north Bulacan, Tarlac and Pangasinan Associated groups: Oldtimers, Col. Leon Z. Cabalhin, Laguna-Rizal Batanguenos, Col. Daud Mangkon, Batangas Texans, Maj. Patricio Emi (famous ex-bandit), Cavite and Mindoro Highlanders, Maj. Carlos Crisostomo Saboteurs, Col. Pablo Alora McKinley Brigade, Col. Ortega Anilao, Maj. Juan Santiago

  • Philippines Hunters ROTC Guerrillas. One of the more effective south Luzon guerrillas, Terry's Hunters were composed primarily of military academy and ROTC cadets. They were founded in Manila in January 1942 by Miguel Ver of the Philippine Military Academy, and moved in April to Rizal Province, where they came under Col. Hugh Straughn's FAIT. After the Japanese captured Straughn and Ver, the executive officer, Eleuterio Adevoso (aka Terry Magtanggol), also a Philippine Military Academy cadet, took over. They were among the most aggressive guerrillas in the war and made the only guerrilla raid on a Japanese prison, Muntinglupa (New Bilibid), to free their captured members and to obtain arms. They also participated in the liberation of Los Banos prison camp during liberation. Captain Bartolomeo Cabangbang, leader of the central Luzon penetration party, said that the Hunters supplied the best intelligence data on Luzon. The history of the unit is detailed in the book Terry's Hunters, by Proculo L. Mojica.
    • Manila & Rizal, CO: Amado Bagalay (Corporal, Philippine Constabulary)
    • Pasay, Pateros-Muntinglupa, CO: Juanito Ferrer (Philippine Military Academy)
    • San Pedro, Tuason-Caluan, CO: Justiniano Estrella (politician)
    • Lumbang-Pallita, CO: Lt. Col. Emanuel Ocampo (ROTC, Far Eastern University)
    • Tiaong-Antimonan, CO: Vincente Eustacio (ROTC, Jose Rial College)
    • Santo Tomas, Batangas, CO: Catalino Nera (PMTB)
  • Philippines President Quezon's Own Guerrillas (PQOG). Formed by General Vincente Umali, former mayor of Tiaong, Tayabas, this organization was located in Batangas, central Laguna and west central Tayabas. They were one of the better armed guerrilla organizations with as many as 7,000 of the 10,000 members in possession of firearms of one sort or another. Ferdinand Marcos reportedly started out with this group, and they maintained contact with guerrilla organizations in central Luzon, Manila and the Visayan islands. Once U.S. forces returned to the Philippines and began bombing Luzon, the PQOG was successful in rescuing a number of downed fliers and returning them to the U.S. Navy alive.
  • Philippines Fourth Philippine Corp. (Panay). Colonel Marcario Peralta and the 8,000 men of his 61st (guerrilla) Infantry Regiment controlled most of Panay Island except for the coastal towns occupied by the Japanese. He captured Governor Hernandez, accused him of being a Japanese collaborator, and installed Tomas Confessor as governor. He established an intelligence network that covered all of the Visayan Islands and established regular courier routes to Luzon to pick up intelligence data from the Manila underground. He competed with Colonel Wendell Fertig on Mindanao for control of neighboring islands until General MacArthur ordered all guerrilla commanders to stay within their established areas and cease expanding and competing with one another.
  • United States U.S. Forces in the Philippines (USFIP) (10th Military District) (Mindanao). Colonel Wendell Fertig, a pre-war mining engineer, evaded the Japanese after the surrender and in August 1942, pretending to be a general sent in by MacArthur, took command of the Mindanao guerrilla organizations. His guerrillas controlled the mountainous, jungle-covered interior of Mindanao for much of the war while the Japanese held the inhabited coastal areas. He established radio contact with General MacArthur's headquarters, and received the first submarine contact and supplies sent out from Australia. He competed with Peralta on Panay for MacArthur's attention and for overall command of guerrilla forces in the area. In 1943 and again in 1944, the Japanese launched expeditions to suppress Fertig, and they were fairly successful although Fertig continued to operate from the interior of Mindanao for the rest of the war. They Fought Alone by John Keats tells Colonel Fertig's story on Mindanao, although the accuracy of the book has been challenged by Mindanao guerrilla leader Clyde Childress.[22]

Japanese Army[edit]

The Japanese Army had some 300,000 to 400,000 troops stationed in the major islands of the Philippines especially in Luzon with an estimated 200,000 troops. They were first commanded by Masaharu Homma but later on by Tomoyuki Yamashita[23]

Japanese Army units

16th infantry division

48th infantry division

65th Brigade


  1. ^ a b "The Guerrilla War". American Experience. PBS. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Jubair, Salah. "The Japanese Invasion". Maranao.Com. Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "Have a bolo will travel". Asian Journal. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  4. ^ Caraccilo, Dominic J. (2005). Surviving Bataan And Beyond: Colonel Irvin Alexander's Odyssey As a Japanese Prisoner Of War. Stackpole Books. pp. 287. ISBN 978-0-8117-3248-2. 
  5. ^ Schmidt, Larry S. (1982). American Involvement in the Filipino Resistance Movement on Mindanao During the Japanese Occupation, 1942–1945 (Master of Military Art and Science thesis). U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  6. ^ Rottman, Godron L. (2002). World War 2 Pacific island guide. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 318. ISBN 978-0-313-31395-0. Retrieved 7 May 2011. 
  7. ^ Prange, Gordon W., Goldstein, Donald, & Dillon, Katherine. The Pearl Harbor Papers (Brassey's, 2000), p.17ff; Google Books entry on Prange et al.
  8. ^ For the Japanese designator of Oahu. Wilford, Timothy. "Decoding Pearl Harbor", in The Northern Mariner, XII, #1 (January 2002), p.32fn81.
  9. ^ Fukudome, Shigeru, "Hawaii Operation". United States Naval Institute, Proceedings, 81 (December 1955), pp.1315–1331
  10. ^ Morison 2001, pp. 101, 120, 250
  11. ^ a b c d e The Fall of the Philippines – U. S. Army in World War II. 
  12. ^ Bataan Death March. Britannica Encyclopedia Online
  13. ^ Lansford, Tom (2001). "Bataan Death March". In Sandler, Stanley. World War II in the Pacific: an encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. pp. 157–158. ISBN 978-0-8153-1883-5. 
  14. ^ Saulo, Alfredo B., Communism in the Philippines: an Introduction, Enlarged Ed., Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1990, p. 31
  15. ^ a b c d e The Fall of the Philippines - Chapter 2. 
  16. ^ Manahan, Manuel P. (1987). Reader's Digest November 1987 issue: Biographical Tribute to Ramon Magsaysay. pp. 17–23. 
  17. ^ "Philippine Resistance: Refusal to Surrender". Asia at War. 2009-10-17. History Channel Asia.
  18. ^ Mojica, Proculo (1960). Terry's Hunters: The True Story of the Hunters ROTC Guerillas. 
  19. ^ "Remember Los Banos 1945". Los Banos Liberation Memorial Scholarship Foundation, Inc. 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-17. 
  20. ^ Paul Morrow (January 16, 2009). "Maharlika and the ancient class system". Pilipino Express. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  21. ^ Quimpo, Nathan Gilbert. Filipino nationalism is a contradiction in terms, Colonial Name, Colonial Mentality and Ethnocentrism, Part One of Four, "Kasama" Vol. 17 No. 3 / July–August–September 2003 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network,
  22. ^
  23. ^

Further reading[edit]