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    Davao (Davao City) Davao de Sur Province | Mindanao Philippines

Lat 7° 3′ 52″ N Long 125° 36′ 28″ E  Port city and harbor located on the southeast coast of Mindanao bordering Davao Gulf (also known as Davao Harbor). Known as "Davao" or "Davao City". Prior to the war, this city had the largest expatriot Japanese popluation living in the Philippines.

Wartime History
On December 8, 1941 Japanese aircraft from Ryujo attacked Davao Harbor, but found no targets or opposition.  This was the first air raid in the Philippines, hours before the air raid on Clark Field. News of the raid did not seem to reach Luzon or American commanders. Returning, one bomber ditched due to engine trouble, and the crew was recused. At the start of the Pacific War, many Japanese residents were imprissoned and a few killed by Filipinos.

On December 20, 1941 destroyer Amatsukaze landed Japanese troops at Davao, supported by aircraft from Ryujo. Sporatic resistance met the landing at the shore, but was dispersed by fire from the destroyer, which dispersed the opposition and set a fuel tank on fire. By February, life had returned to normal, aside from the Japanese ships using the harbor.

Captain Hara recalls in Japanese Destroyer Captain:
"The streets of Davao had not been damaged they were crowded with crews from other warships anchored in the harbor.  Housewives of Japanese residents in the city set up refreshment stands with signs reading 'please help yourself to coffee and tea Served by your fellow contrymen."

Japanese & American missions against Davao
December 8, 1942 - May 8, 1945

During April 1945, the bulk of Japanese on Mindanao were defend the southeast corner of the island, including the 35th Army's 100th Division and Naval units. On May 3, 1945 the US Army 24th Infantry Division advancing from Digos occupied Davao, meeting only scattered resistance. With the liberation of Davo, the last major port held by the Japanese in the Philippines was liberated. In total, the 24th Infantry Division covered 115 miles in fifteen days.

The Japanese opted not to defend Davao and instead defended to the north and northwest of Davao, where fighting continued through June 1945. Reinforcing elements from the 41st Infantry Division at Zamboanga were required and fighting continued until the middle of June 1945 when American forces overwhelmed the enemy, and the remaining Japanese fled to the north further inland.

In 1967, Davao Province was subdivided into three provinces and Davao City became part of Davao del Sur Province, and was no longer the capital. Today a center of trade for southern Mindanao and the seecond largest city on the island.

Davao Airfield (Sasa, Francisco Bangoy)
Prewar airfield occupied by the Japanese, still in use today

Matina Airfield (Navy No. 2)
Japanese airfield

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Last Updated
June 15, 2019



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