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    Manila (City of Manila) National Capital Region (NCR) | Luzon Philippines
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IJA c1942

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Salternik February 1945

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U. S. Army 1945
Location
Lat 14° 31' 0N Long 121° 0' 0E  Manila is the largest city and capital located in the National Capital Region (NCR) on Luzon in the Philippines. Borders Manila Bay to the west, Navotas and Caloocan City to the north, Quezon City to the northeast, San Juan and Mandaluyong City and Pasig City to the east, Makati City and Taguig City to the southeast and Pasay City to the south. Prewar, Manila was dubbed "Pearl of the Orient".

In Tagalog spelled Maynilà. The Metro Manila area is the is the national capital of the Philippines and considered the most densely populated cities in the world as of 2018. Today officially known as the City of Manila.

History
During the 14th century, Luzon was part of the Hindu Majapahit Empire. Around 1485, invaded by the Sultan Bolkiah and became a part of the Sultanate of Brunei and was part of the the Islamic Kingdom of Maynila as a puppet state ruled by Rajah Sulayman.

In 1570, Spanish explorers Martín de Goiti and Juan de Salcedo were ordered by Miguel López de Legazpi to sail from Cebu and became the first Europeans to reach Manila and Luzon. The Spanish immediately had disagreements with the native population after several months of warfare to defeat them and then negotiated peace with the Muslim leaders. On June 24, 1571 Legazpi declared Manila to be the new capital of the Spanish colony that was recognized by King Philip II of Spain as a "Distinguished and Ever Loyal City". During 1574 Manila was attacked by Chinese pirates led by Limahong and sacked before the Spanish repelled them and promoted the need for fortifications. The first was Fort Santiago and later Intramuros.

Wartime History
On August 13, 1898 after the Battle of Manila during the Spanish-American War, the Spanish surrendered Manila the U. S. flag was raised over Fort Santiago in Intramuros and in 1901 became the headquarters of the U. S. Army Philippine Division. During 1935–1941 General Douglas MacArthur lived in the penthouse of the Manila Hotel while serving as a military advisor to the Philippines.

Wartime History
After the Japanese attack on December 8, 1941 panic gripped Manila about Japanese air raids and landings in northern Luzon.

On December 24, 1941 Christmas Eve, General Douglas MacArthur ordered U. S. and Filipino military forces to begin withdrawing from Manila to defensive positions on the Bataan Peninsula. On December 26, 1941 declared an "Open City" by General MacArthur to make Manila a demilitarized in hopes of saving the city from being bombed or causing civilian casualties. Regardless of the demilitarized status, the Japanese bombed Manila on December 27, 1941. On January 2, 1942 the Japanese again bomb the city and begin occupying Manila.

Japanese missions against Manila
December 27, 1941–January 2, 1942

During the Japanese occupation of Manila, civilian expatriates were detained at Santo Thomas University and Bilibid Prison. The Philippine treasury was sacked and material wealth extracted for the Japanese war effort. By late 1944, as the Pacific War began to turn against the Japanese, Manila was within range of U. S. Navy (USN) carrier aircraft and U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) heavy bombers.

American missions against Manila
September 21, 1944–1945

On January 9, 1945 the U. S. Army landing at Lingayen Gulf and began advancing southward towards Manila. Defending Japanese Army General Tomoyuki Yamashita ordered his troops to withdraw from Manila into the northern mountains of Luzon in hopes of fighting a protracted battle to tie down as many American forces and resist indefinitely. Despite Yamashita's order, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) under the command of Japanese Navy Rear-Admiral Sanji Iwabuchi opted to remain in the city and planned to defend ferociously with approximately 20,000 personnel.

The Battle of Manila began on February 4, 1945 when U. S. troops liberated the northern outskirts of the city. On February 6, 1945 Manila was declared liberated by General Douglas MacArthur even though most of the city was still occupied by the Japanese. On February 7, 1945 MacArthur toured the northern part of the city that was under U. S. control.

The task of liberating the rest of the city was the responsibility of the 37th Infantry Division under the command of General Robert Beitler. Advancing, the battle devolved into costly and destructive street-to-street and often house-to-house combat urban combat. Defending, the Japanese practiced a scorched earth policy in the city and committed atrocities against the civilian inhabitants and used them as human shields. Bitter fighting was required to liberate the rest of the city, climaxing with the fanatical Japanese resistance at Intramuros.

During the Battle of Manila an estimated 100,000 Filipinos, mostly civilians died. This was one of the highest civilian casualties rates for urban combat in World War II, second only to the Battle of Stalingrad in Russia.

Afterwards, Manila slowly rehabilitated as civilians returned to normal life and American forces worked to repair infrastructure while the U. S. Navy (USN) 7th Fleet worked to clear obstacles before Manila Bay was deemed safe for use in April 1945. Manila was designated "Base X" in the US Army Letter Base designation. For the remainder of the Pacific War and postwar period, thousands of American serviceman were stationed in and around Manila.

Manila Districts
Binondo District  located in central Manila bordering Pasig River to the south.
Ermita District  located in southern Manila bordering Manila Bay to the west.
Intramuros District  located in the Intramuros District of central Manila bordering the Pasig River.
Malate District  located in southern Manila bordering Manila Bay to the west.
Paco District  located in central Manila bordering Pasig River to the north.
Pandacan District  located in central Manila bordering Pasig River to the north.
Port Area District  located in south Manila borders Manila Bay to the west.
Quiapo District (Kiyabo)  located in central Manila bordering San Miguel.
Sampaloc District  located to the northeast of Manila.
San Andrés District (San Andrés Buki)  located in southeastern Manila.
San Miguel District  located in central Manila San Miguel Brewery and Malacañang Palace (Presidential Palace).
San Nicolas District  located in central Manila bordering Pasig River to the south.
Santa Ana District (Sta. Ana)  located in eastern Manila bordering Pasig River to the north.
Stanta Cruz District (Sta. Cruz)  northern central Manila borders Pasig River to the south.
Santa Mesa District (Sta. Mesa)  located in eastern Manila bordering the Pasig River to the south.
Tondo District  located in northwest Manila bordering Manila Bay to the west.

Manila Area Airfield
Balara Airfield (Quezon New Airfield)  located near University of the Philippines (UP) and Balara water reservoir.
Dewey Boulevard Airfield  located in Manila on Dewey Boulevard (Roxas Boulevard).
Grace Park Airfield (Manila North)  located in Caloocan in northern Manila.
Mandaluyong East Airfield (Mandaluyong Airfield)  located at Mandaluyong east of Highway 54 (Shaw Blvd).
Mandaluyong West Airfield (Wack Wack)  located at Mandaluyong in Manila parallel to Highway 54 (Shaw Blvd).
Marikina Airfield  located in Marikina built prewar as a civilian airfield and disused since the Pacific War.
Nichols Airfield (Nichols Field, Manila Airport, Ninoy Aquino Airport)  located in southern Manila present day airport
Nielson Field (Nielson Airfield)  located in Makati in southern Manila today commercial area owned by Ayala Corp.
North Avenue Airfield (Quezon Airfield)  located in Quezon City and disused since the Pacific War.
Pasig Airfield  located in Pasig at the eastern edge of Manila disused since the Pacific War.
Zablan Field (Manila East, Camp Murphy Airfield)  located east of Highway 54 (EDSA) and Cubao in Quezon City.
Zablan Auxiliary Airfield   located one mile east of Zablan Field today alongside C5 near Eastwood City.

References
U. S. Army in World War II - Chapter XIV: The End of an Era pages 232-242

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February 21, 2020

 

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