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Uploaded on Mar 17, 2009
WORLD WAR II- SUBSCRIBE TO EXCELLENT WORLD WAR II VIDEOS The Japanese decision to fight a passive war of attrition set the tone for the entire campaign. Had Yamashita conducted a more active defense, one that did not meekly surrender the initiative to the Americans, the struggle might have been shorter but much sharper. In such a case, MacArthur's single-minded drive on Manila might have been judged a risky venture and the diversion of troops to liberate other minor islands a dangerous practice. And had the Americans suffered even minor reverses on the battlefield in the early days of January and February, the struggle might also have been prolonged until August at an even heavier cost in American lives. Taken altogether, MacArthur's offensive had contained or taken out of the war over 380,000 Japanese, rendering them unavailable for the defense of the homeland. In the final analysis, the fall of Luzon meant once and for all that the Japanese Empire was doomed. The battles of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf had left its fleet in tatters, and the ground campaigns that followed turned the once-proud Japanese Army into a shadow of its former self. Casualties on both sides were staggering. Except for those forces surrendering at the end of the war, the Japanese lost virtually all of the 230,000 military personnel on Luzon, in addition to some 70,000 casualties from the previous battle on Leyte Island. By the summer of 1945, the Americans had thus destroyed nine of Japan's best divisions and made another six combat-ineffective. Losses stemming from the battle so drastically reduced Japanese air power that the use of kamikaze operations was necessary throughout the rest of the war. American casualties were also high. Ground combat losses for the Sixth and Eighth Armies were almost 47,000, some 10,380 killed and 36,550 wounded. Non-battle casualties were even heavier. From 9 January through 30 June 1945, the Sixth Army on Luzon suffered over 93,400 noncombat casualties, including 260 deaths, most of them from disease. Only a few campaigns had a higher casualty rate. For the first time during the Pacific war, American troops were deployed in field army strength, making for a sometimes unwieldy command structure. In earlier campaigns throughout the Pacific, the U.S. theater commanders had generally employed one or two divisions at a time to seize small islands or small portions of coastline. In contrast, the Luzon Campaign saw extended operations inland which demanded the deployment of multi-corps forces supported by greatly expanded logistical and communications systems. Fortunately for the Americans, all but one of the participating U.S. divisions had had previous experience in fighting the Japanese, particularly on Leyte only a few months before. In fact, except for the urban fighting in Manila, American units were in the enviable position of applying past lessons to the battlefield. The Americans also had the advantage of superior weapons, equipment, and supplies and by January, control of both the local seas and air. Finally, the flat open plains of central Luzon were conducive to the Americans' advantage in maneuverability and firepower. During earlier battles on the Pacific's small jungle islands, the terrain often worked to the Japanese advantage; on Luzon, the reverse was so. But again, due to the scope of the battlefield, it was the American ability to perform effectively at the larger, operational level of war that was tested for the first time in the Pacific during the Luzon Campaign. (Excerpt from History.army.mil)