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Battle of Baguio (1945)

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Title: Battle of Baguio (1945)  
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Subject: Military history of the Philippines during World War II, United States Army Forces in the Philippines - Northern Luzon, Battle of Bessang Pass, Convoy Hi-71, Invasion of Lingayen Gulf
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Battle of Baguio (1945)

Capture of Baguio
Part of World War II and the Allied Liberation of the Philippines
Date 21 February – 26 April 1945[1]
Location Baguio City, Luzon, Philippines
Result Allied victory, Allied forces liberate Baguio
United States Empire of Japan
Commanders and leaders
General Walter Krueger
Major General Innis P. Swift[2]
Major General Percy W. Clarkson[3]
Major General Robert S. Beightler[4]
Colonel Russell W. Volckmann[5][6]
General Tomoyuki Yamashita[2]
Lieutenant General Fukutaro Nishiyama[7]
Major General Noakata Utsunomiya[2]
Major General Bunzo Sato[7]
Units involved
United States Army

United States Army Forces in the Philippines – Northern Luzon[2]

  • 11th Infantry Regiment, USAFIP-NL[2]
  • 66th Infantry Regiment, USAFIP-NL[2]
Imperial Japanese Army
Casualties and losses
Over 2,000[2]

The Battle of Baguio occurred between 21 February and 26 April 1945, and was part of the greater Luzon campaign during the Allied liberation of the Philippines at the end of World War II.[2] During the battle, American and Philippine forces recaptured the city of Baguio from its Japanese occupiers.


Prior to World War II, Baguio was the summer capital of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, as well as the home of the Philippine Military Academy.[11] In 1939, the city had a population of 24,000 people, most of whom were Filipinos, along with other nationalities, including about 500 Japanese.[12] Following the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1941, the Japanese used Camp John Hay, an American installation in Baguio, as a military base.[12] In October 1944, American soldiers landed on Leyte, beginning the liberation of the Philippines.[13]

General Tomoyuki Yamashita, the commander of the Japanese Fourteenth Area Army, transferred his headquarters to Baguio in December 1944, planning to fight a delaying action against the Americans to give time for Japan to defend itself.[5] In early January 1945, American forces landed at Lingayen Gulf.[7] Thereafter, the American Sixth Army conducted two campaigns, one against the Japanese forces east of Manila, and the second against Yamashita's forces in northern Luzon.[6]


Between late February and early April 1945, the Allied forces, primarily consisting of the United States Army's 33rd Infantry Division, with assistance from regiments of the Philippine guerrilla force United States Army Forces in the Philippines – Northern Luzon, advanced towards Baguio.[2] By late March, the city was within range of American artillery.[7] President José P. Laurel of the collaborationist Second Philippine Republic, having moved to Baguio from Manila in December 1944, departed Baguio on 22 March, reaching Taiwan on 30 March;[14] the remainder of the Second Republic government in the Philippines, along with Japanese civilians, were ordered to evacuate Baguio on 30 March.[2] Yamashita and his staff relocated to Bambang.[7][15] A major offensive to capture Baguio did not occur until mid-April, when United States Army's 37th Infantry Division, minus the 145th Infantry Regiment, was released from garrisoning Manila to launch a two-division assault into Baguio from the west and south.[2]

A significant battle of the drive towards Baguio, lasting six days, from the west, was the battle at Irisan Gorge and the nearby Irisan River.[2][16] This battle involved one of the last tank-versus-tank engagements of the Philippines campaign, between the U.S. Army's Company B, 775th Tank Battalion and the IJA's 5th Tank Company, 10th Tank Regiment.[17]

In mid-April, 7,000 civilians, including foreign nationals, made their way from Baguio to American lines.[18] Among them were five cabinet members of the Second Republic; Brigadier General Manuel Roxas was "freed",[18] the other four were captured.[19] On 22 April, Major General Noakata Utsunomiya, who had been left in command of the defense of Baguio by Yamashita, ordered a withdrawal from Baguio. On 24 April, the first Allied forces – a patrol of 129th Infantry Regiment – entered Baguio.[2]


General Yamashita at the surrender ceremony at Camp John Hay on 3 September 1945.

Yamashita, along with 50,500 men of the Shobu Group, held out in northern Luzon until 15 August 1945.[7][15][20] On 3 September 1945, Yamashita formally surrendered Japanese forces in the Philippines at Camp John Hay's American Residence in the presence of lieutenant generals Arthur Percival and Jonathan Wainwright.[21]


  1. ^ "33d Infantry Division". U.S. Center of Military History. United States Army. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2014. Baguio and Camp John Hay fell on 26 April, under the concerted attack of the 33d and the 37th Divisions. 
    "37th Infantry Division". U.S. Center of Military History. United States Army. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2014. After garrison duty in Manila, 5-26 March, the Division shifted to the hills of Northwest Luzon, where heavy fighting culminated in the capture of Baguio, 26 April. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Smith, Robert Ross (1993). "Chapter XXV: The Collapse of the Baguio Front". Triumph in the Philippines. Department of the Army. pp. 468–490.  
  3. ^ "Maj. Gen. Percy W. Clarkson". U.S. Army Pacific. United States Army. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "37th Infantry Division". U.S. Army Center of Military History. U.S. Army. 20 May 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  5. ^ a b  
    Barnett, Louise (21 January 2010). Atrocity and American Military Justice in Southeast Asia: Trial by Army. Routledge. p. 138.
  6. ^ a b Leary, William M. (1 May 2004). We Shall Return!: MacArthur's Commanders and the Defeat of Japan, 1942–1945. University Press of Kentucky. p. 83.  
  7. ^ a b c d e f  
  8. ^ Salecker, Gene Eric (2008). Rolling Thunder Against The Rising Sun. Mechanicburg, PA: Stackpole Books. p. 260.  
  9. ^ "Toward Baguio". 33rd Infantry Division Association. 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  10. ^ Williams, Mary H. (1999). Special Studies, Chronology, 1941–1945. Government Printing Office. p. 501.  
  11. ^  
  12. ^ a b "Flowers, new song for 72nd year of Baguio war bombings". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 9 December 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "60th Anniversary Battle of Leyte Gulf".  
    "U.S. forces land at Leyte Island in the Philippines". History Channel. A&E Television Networks, LLC. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  14. ^ Jose, Ricardo T. "Government in Exile". Scalabrini Migration Center. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Zeiler, Thomas W. (2004). Unconditional Defeat: Japan, America, and the End of World War II. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 134.  
  16. ^ Mathias, Frank F. (1999). GI Jive: An Army Bandsman in World War II. University Press of Kentucky. p. 170.  
    Spector, Ronald H. (11 December 2012). Eagle Against the Sun: The American War with Japan. Simon & Schuster. p. 561.

    Ohl, John Kennedy (2001). Minuteman: The Military Career of General Robert S. Beightler. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 202.
    Caluza, Desiree (28 April 2009). "Gratitude, roses for liberators of Baguio". Inquirer Northern Luzon. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
    Nalty, Bernard C. (1999). War in the Pacific: Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay : the Story of the Bitter Struggle in the Pacific Theater of World War II, Featuring Commissioned Photographs of Artifacts from All the Major Combatants. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 222.
  17. ^ Zaloga, Steven J. (2012). M4 Sherman Vs Type 97 Chi-Ha: The Pacific 1945. Osprey Publishing. p. 73.  
  18. ^ a b "M'Arthur Frees 7,000 Civilians In Luzon Drive: Troops Reach Edge of Baguio". Chicago Tribune (Manila). Associated Press. 18 April 1945. Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  19. ^ Harris, Reg (19 April 1945). "Secret Trek Saves 7000". The Courier-Mail (Brisbane). Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
    Dexter, Frank (19 April 1945). "7,000 Rescued From Baguio – "Puppet" Ministers Seized". The Argus (Melbourne). Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
    Chapman, Abraham (2001). "Notes on the Philippine elections". In Krotaska, Paul H. South East Asia, Colonial History: Peaceful transitions to independence (1945–1963). Taylor & Francis. p. 376.  
    Rovere, Richard Halworth (1992). General MacArthur and President Truman: The Struggle for Control of American Foreign Policy. Transaction Publishers. p. 83.

    Karnow, Stanley (24 November 2010). In Our Image: America's Empire in the Philippines. Random House Publishing Group. p. 626.
  20. ^ "Luzon 1944–1945". Center of Military History. United States Army. 3 October 2003. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  21. ^ General Staff of General of the Army  
    "The American Residence in Baguio". Embassy of the United States, Manila, Philippines. United States Department of State. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
    Farrell, Brian; Hunter, Sandy (15 December 2009). A Great Betrayal: The Fall of Singapore Revisited. Marshall Cavendish International Asia Pte Ltd. p. 163.

    Tucker, Spencer (21 November 2012). Almanac of American Military History, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 1727.

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