Three airstrips at Luzon were taken very quickly, while the Lingayen Gulf region fell on 22 Dec. Between 22 and 28 Dec, an additional 43,110 Japanese troops arrived via the beaches at Lingayen Gulf despite poor weather and rough seas. As an open city Manila fell quickly, giving Japan the use of the naval bases at Manila Bay. The troops who landed at Mindanao marched toward Davao, which was captured on 20 Dec. A seaplane base was immediately set up at Davao to provide local air superiority, and then the work to establish Davao as the staging point for the next invasions further south began; the Japanese landing force at Mindanao only consisted of 57,000 men, but it had little difficulty fighting American and Filipino forces.
On 24 Dec, 7,000 troops from Japanese 16th Division landed at Mauban, Atimonan, and Siain on the shores of Lamon Bay at eastern Luzon island. The Filipino 1st Regular Division opposed the Lamon Bay landings fiercely and slowed the Japanese advance, but ultimately would not be able to hold the line.
While Japanese troops advanced across Luzon, President Manuel Quezon of the Philippines requested President Roosevelt to grant the Philippine Islands their independence so that he could announce Philippine neutrality. Quezon's 8 Feb message said that:
after nine weeks of fighting not even a small amount of aid has reached us from the United States. Help and assistance have been sent to other belligerent nations,... but seemingly no attempt has been made to transport anything here.... [T]he United States has practically doomed the Philippines to almost total extinction to secure a breathing space.Despite the harsh truth told from his Filipino counterpart, Franklin Roosevelt refused the request for independence and neutrality. Partly, Roosevelt turned down the request knowing the Japanese would not acknowledge such a late statement of neutrality. However, he did grant MacArthur the permission to surrender Filipino troops (but not Americans).
Immediately following capturing key cities, naval bases, and airstrips, nine ships with 4,000 troops departed from the main Philippine Islands for Jolo of the Sulu archipelago on 22 Dec. Jolo would fall on Christmas Day, 25 Dec, providing a forward base for supporting the attacks on Borneo. Another seaplane base was also set up at Jolo to form local air superiority. (Read more.)Share