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.
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
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
"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."
& 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)
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
May 22, 2017