Destroyed Japanese 2nd Tank Division on Luzon
1945 Photos by S/Sgt Carl R. Thien, 201st CIC
2005 Photos by (grandson) Justin Taylan

When the US Army landed at Lingayen Gulf on January 9, 1945, General Yamashita's 14th Area Army and 2nd Tank Division defended Luzon. The 2nd Tank Division previously served in the Kwangtung Army (China) and was transferred to Luzon on July 24, 1944. Despite the loss of equipment and troops to US submarines in transit, conflicting orders, shortages of fuel, lack of air supremacy and guerilla activities, the tanks fought a series of battles against the American. Brief but intense tank battles occurred in Pangasinan Province in the towns of Malasiqui, Pozorrubio, Potpot, Urdaneta, Binalonan and San Manuel. Afterwards, more battles occurred in adjacent Nueva Ecija Province near the towns of Munoz and Lupao.

Thien Photo Collection
My grandfather took these photos on combat assignments in the Luzon area. With his unit based at Rosales, he photograph disabled tanks (often still smoldering) for G-2 evaluation of tactics and weapons. He remembers visiting Potpot and San Manuel.

     Carl R. Thien  201st Counter Intelligence Corps

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Type 97 Chi-Ha Tank dug
into a fighting position.
Jeep passes burnt hulk of
out Type 97 Chi-Ha
Type 97 Chi-Ha along roadside
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Open turret of a tank exposed above rice paddy field Type 97 Chi-Ha dug into fighting position Detail of markings Abandoned Type 97 Chi-Ha
on the roadside Detail of marking

Retracing The Tank Battles
In October 2005, I retraced the path of these battles, visiting Binalonan, San Manuel and Urdaneta. Although I could discover no traces of any of these tank hulks in the initial visit, I am constantly surprised by the relics on private property or when on starts asking around. One former police officer told me about at least one 'Japanese tank' still in the area.

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The same general area
near San Manuel today
Binalonan town welcome sign Binalonan `street, lined with
tricycles today, not tanks.
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Taylan with San Manuel sign Entrance to San Manuel town 'Woodpecker' machine gun

References & Thanks
AFV News, May 1982, Vol. 17 No. 3 via David C. Clarke
AFV News, September 1982 Vol. 17 No. 4 via David C. Clarke
History of Battles of Imperial Japanese Tanks by A. Takizawa

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