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    San Manuel Pangasinan Province | Luzon Philippines
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Justin Taylan 2005

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Carl R. Thien 1945

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Carl R. Thien 1945

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Carl R. Thien 1945

Lat 16° 3' 56N Long 120° 40' 0E  Inland town in Pangasinan Province. To the east is San Nicolas and the foothills and the start of the Villa Verde Trail.

Wartime History
After the American liberation landing, the town was occupied by the 'Shigemi Detachment', named after Brigadier General Shigemi. This detachment had over 1,000 men, mortars and machine guns. They withdrew to San Manuel on January 17, 1945 with 33 tanks.

Battle of San Manuel
After the battles at Urdaneta and Binalonan, the 7th Tank Regiment 'Shigemi Detachment' , dug in at San Manuel. Shigemi resolved to fight to the death and his forces dug in along a fan-shaped defensive line, converting most of their 40 Type 97 Chi-Ha tanks and five Type 95 light tanks into fortified bunkers, by digging them into the ground with the turret above, to serve as fixed positions. A total of 75 earthen emplacements, protected by rifle and machine gun pits established at key points around the outskirts of the town, with 30 tanks assigned to them, and the remainder as mobile reserves in the town. In support was the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Mobile Infantry Regiment with fifteen 75mm guns, some 47mm anti-tank guns and 15 mortars.

San Manuel began on January 19, 1945 with a five day bombardment. The American assault began on January 23rd by the the US Army 25th Division, 161st Infantry Regiment, supported by tanks of the 716th Tank Battalion, capturing the hills to the south of town.

First Attack Halted
The main attack on the town began on January 24th, by the 1st Battalion supported by six Shermans but was halted by a drainage ditch and 47mm anti-tank fire. One tank was lost, 4 disabled and one immobilized, and 8 KIA 63 WIA.

Southern Attack & House-To-House Fighting
The 2nd Battalion attacked from the south towards the town. The first assault was stopped by three Japanese tanks. A second attack gained a foothold in town and destroyed 5 tanks. The next day the attacked reinforced by the 1st and 3rd Battalions, and slow house-to-house fight took place. On January 26, 1945 the morning a dozen M4 Sherman tanks assaulted the area, firing on the Japanese from a safe distance, destroying most of the enemy armor.

Banzai Attack & End of the Battle
By the 27th, the remaining tanks were pushed back to the hills. Knowing they had no route of escape, the 7th Tank Regiment carried out a Banzai attack at 0100 on January 28th with remaining 13 tanks. Ten were destroyed with before breaking the American lines, the remaining three retreated towards the hills.

By 1330 on the 28th the Japanese had abandoned San Manuel and lost all their tanks, heavy weapons and 750 killed. Commander Shigemi and 7th Tank Regiment commander Colonel Maeda were both killed in the battle. After four days of intense close-combat the 161st Infantry Regiment had liberated the town. For their gallantry in the battle for San Manuel, both Company E and Cannon Company were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. After the battle, the US Army 32nd Infantry Division arrived at San Manuel, then proceeded to San Nicolas.

M7 Priest
Destroyed by Japanese sapper suicide attack on January 27, 1945

Type 95 Ha Go
Disaled and abandoned in San Manuel at the end of the battle

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Last Updated
November 16, 2018


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