Here's a new addition to my historical collection. The January 12, 1942 issue of Newsweek Magazine. It has an article about the Philippines and Bataan but was pessimistic in tone especially regarding the fall of Manila. Ironically the date itself was the first time the Japanese got stopped cold in their tracks by the 57th Infantry PS dug in along the Abucay line, their first meeting with the 57th Infantry.
Below is my transcribed "opinion" section that present day Time or Newsweek magazines still have. There is a longer news article about the Philippines where this opinion article is embedded into. Apparently even back then, there were already retired army general pundits writing for the media
Contrary to this writer's opinion, Bataan was an ideal defensive position and the army was far from beat. In fact, the date of the magazine issue was the day when the Japanese first ran into a non-delaying action position and got beat back.
----------------- WAR TIDES section:
THE TRAGEDY OF THE PHILIPPINES By Maj. Gen. Stephen O. Fuqua, USA Retired
Manila has fallen, and with it has crashed America's Far Eastern outpost. It may soothe the pain of defeat to minimize the catastrophe, or to hold out hope for MacArthur's battered forces now hemmed in on Corregidor and the Bataan peninsula. But let us not delude ourselves with the thought that the defense of the Philippine Islands reflects any credit upon us. And, in or thirst for good news, let us not give undue importance to the continuance of Philippine struggle, now virtually ended.
Unquestionably, time will unfold the fact that most of the effects in the Philippine tragedy came from causes running back into the years, involving our national policy and our peacetime muffling of war preparations. The fall of the islands was long foreseen by those who knew the defense problem of the archipelago. But few saw the defenses of these islands toppling over like a house of cards in less than a month. The army was expected at least to hold the enemy for a considerable time and inflict the greatest possible injury upon him with sea, air, and land forces.
Surprised by the enemy as to time, place, manner and speed of attack, and in the magnitude of the enterprise, the Philippine garrison had a crippling handicap from the start. Add to these factors, with their consequent perplexities, the enemy's initial gaining and holding control of the air and sea, and the plight of the garrison can be understood.
At this time we do not know why our air and sea power was so impotent. We do not know if the air and sea forces were ordered out of danger, leaving the land troops to fight it out as best they could, but we do know that the "delaying action" caused by our "stubborn resistance" in these islands popped like a bubble.
Headlines may bolster our pride by claiming that Japanese timetables were thrown off by the "stubborn defense: of Manila. But to the Japanese, the collapse of the Philippines has probably thrown them off schedule only because their systematic program for the transfer of troops southward now must be speeded up.
No value, moreover, will accrue from Pollyanna claims that the army of Luzon is holding a "strong position in its gallantdelaying acion on Corregidor Island and the Bataan peninsula." For the truth, as seen by anyone who knows the Philippines, is that no more faulty last-stand position could be found than these spots to which the army has been forced to refuge.
Corregidor, standing as an island gateway at the entrance of Manila Bay, could not present a more well-defined or more vulnerable target from the air. The fortress, about 2 miles off the south point of the Bataan peninsula, contains the main coast-artillery defenses for the harbor, but its firepower could have little or no effect on land operations. It is no anchor for a land defense, but more of a trap. The garrison may hold out indefinitely, but its fate is sealed as long as the enemy has control of the sea and air around it and occupies Manila and the bay shores to the east and south.
Bataan peninsula, isolated from all supply and communications centers, and covered by criss-cross mountain ranges, is more of a hideout than a defensive battleground. This roadless terrain is traversed by deep ravines whose tortuous streams canalize the area, dividing it into segments unsuited for defensive positions. The peaks rise in the Mariveles sector, in the south, to more than 4,600 feet and whittle down to under 3,000 feet in the Olongapo nava-station area. The whole peninsula is controlled from the sea of from the one road-way along the east side facing Manila Bay.
As to the "expected guerrilla warfare" to be waged by the Filipinos, the chance is slight for such action, except perhaps on a small scale and in some isolated sections of the islands. Certainly, no such guerrilla tactics as employed by the irregulars of China and Russia may be expected in Luzon, where the hinterland is occupied and controlled by the invader. Moreover, the mountains of North Luzon from which a guerrilla war could be launched are not only in the hands of the Japs but their troops lie between this area and the remnants of the MacArthur forces in the Bataan Peninsula.
I can agree with a lot of the article. The US failed in its responsiblity to the RP. Pre-war defense planning and training/equipping of the new Philippine Army was not given the priority it deserved. America was too slow to wake up to the Japanese threat and Roosevelt was too focused on Europe.
He is right about the Guerilla action too. I am reading Ramsey's book at the moment and for most of the occupation it was an intellegence gathering organization not a fighting army on the scale of Mao's in China or the Soviet Partisans.
I guess he sounded more despairing about losing Manila. We just have the luxury now of knowing what happened and that they held for 4 more months. But back then, it was all bad news and they probably expected Bataan and Corregidor to fall in just a couple more weeks. After all, Manila fell in less than a month.
I like Lt. Ramsey's War book. I wish it had a little bit more about the Bataan campaign and the 26th Cavalry but it really was just a setup for the guerrilla story which was the main part of the book. I heard some movie company bought the movie rights for the book. I wonder if it will ever get made.
Last Edit: Sept 24, 2006 22:22:24 GMT -5 by VeeVee