Battle of Manila

Battle of Manila

Miguel Miranda
ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
Nearly four years of brutal Japanese occupation in WW2 has dimmed Manila's lustre. The Philippine capital, surrounding an old Spanish fortress, was once a glittering jewel among America's overseas possessions. And now a vast Allied army led by the indomitable MacArthur is ready to take it back from the Japanese. It is a necessary mission and an urgent one for trapped within the old University of Santo Tomas are thousands of ailing prisoners: men and women, young and old, at risk of torture and death by their captors. But the token Japanese garrison has other ideas as desperate units of the Japanese navy dig in to fight to the death against the advancing Americans. Caught in this cruel vice are thousands of Filipinos still trapped in the metropolis, with no hope of escape. From the closing days of January until early March 1945, Manila is to endure the most bitter fighting in the Pacific theater, leaving it a charred wasteland littered with the bodies of the dead, soldier and civilian alike, the latter deliberately targeted by Japanese death squads. Such is the carnage and conquest of Manila.

What a darling little book, a compact but full account of General Macarthurs' failure to protect the Philippines,his ignominious departure of the state, leaving a sacrificial General to provide the American surrender. The Japanese failure to take advantage of the lack of defences. The civilians also took the brunt of this campaign being caught in the epicentre of battles or being taken to prisoner of war camps despite not being combatants.

Then of course the Japanese were not fully prepared for Macarthur's return to retake the Philippines being under supplied with both arms and soldiers. Macarthur then followed the Japanese when he failed to take advantage of their unprepardness. The roles were reversed and repeated. However the splendid rescue of the people in the PoW camps before the planned massacres shines out from this sorry saga. Both army's soldiers showed a terrific amount of courage in this remarkable campaign.

This gem of book is excellently produced by an author whose family were caught in these battles, the campaigns of both belligerents are clearly and concisely presented. After reading this book you wont need to buy another, all you need to know is here. Just one small quibble, there are a lot of words cut in half at the page ends making it a wee bit uncomfortable to read; apart from this I fully recomend this book as a good read and a must-have for your World War Two library. Five mushroom heads.

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