Chapter II: U.S. Army Forces, Far East

By the middle of 1941 international developments had heightened the tension between the United States and Japan and made the defense of the Philippines an urgent problem. The Nazi-Soviet pact, followed by the German Army's march into Poland in September 1939, had destroyed completely any hope for a peaceful settlement in Europe. The events of the following year made it evident that the United States might soon be involved in war with the Axis in Asia as well as Europe. Denmark and Norway had been invaded by Hitler's armies in April, Holland and Belgium were conquered in May, and on 21 June France surrendered. Not long after, Japanese troops, with the acquiescence of the Vichy Government, moved into French Indochina. In September, Germany, Italy, and Japan concluded the Tripartite pact, and the following April, Russia and Japan reached agreement and signed a neutrality pact, thus freeing the latter for extension of her empire southward.

American efforts to halt Japanese aggression in Asia had met with little success. On 26 July 1940 Japan was notified that the commercial treaty of 1911 would be abrogated. On the same day Congress granted the President authority to control export to Japan. Immediately he put the export of oil and scrap iron under government license and banned the shipment of aviation gasoline to that country. By the early part of 1941 shipments of scrap iron, steel, gasoline, and other important war material from the United States to Japan had practically ceased.

While the United States market was being closed to Japan, American economic support to China was increased. In November 1940 Chiang Kai-shek's government was lent $50,000,000 through the Export-Import Bank; by the end of that year loans to China had reached a total of $170,000,000. Despite these moves, perhaps because of them, Japan continued to exert pressure on the French and Dutch colonies in Southeast Asia to "co-operate" in economic matters.

The possibility of war in the Far East was too real to be ignored and a reluctant Congress began to loosen the purse strings. But the years of neglect could not be remedied quickly. The demand for planes and weapons was great and the supply was limited. The Philippines was only one of many bases that had to be protected. Hawaii, Alaska, and Panama--which formed a strategic triangle whose defense was considered essential to the safety of the continental United States--had also been neglected and their needs had to be filled first. "Adequate reinforcements for the Philippines at this time," wrote Gen. George C. Marshall, "would have left the United States in a position of great peril should there be a break in the defense of Great Britain."[1]


What the United States needed more than anything else was time. But Japan's occupation of naval and air bases in southern Indochina on 22 July 1941 gave warning that time was short. The Philippine Islands, already almost entirely surrounded, were now further threatened and America's position in the Far East rendered precarious. Measures to strengthen the defense of the Philippines could be put off no longer.

The Recall of General MacArthur

The establishment of a new American command in the Far East and the recall of General MacArthur to active duty in the U.S. Army were already under consideration when Japan moved southward in July 1941. A month earlier Joseph Stevenot, a prominent American businessman in Manila and president of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, in an interview with Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson in Washington, had urged a closer relationship between the Military Advisor and the commander of the Philippine Department. Stimson had relayed this suggestion to General Marshall at a meeting during which both men discussed MacArthur's status and agreed he was the logical man to command in the Far East in the event of an emergency.[2]

By a coincidence, on the same day that Stimson talked with Stevenot, Maj. Gen. George Grunert, the Philippine Department commander, asked permission from the War Department to include representatives of the Commonwealth Government in conferences then being held in Manila. The purpose of these meetings was to formulate plans, based on the expected use of $52,000,000 in sugar excise funds, for improving the defenses of the Islands. The reason for Grunert's request was to permit him to work more closely and directly with General MacArthur without going through official government channels. Close contact between the department commander and the Military Advisor, he pointed out, was an obvious necessity in making defense plans. General Marshall approved Grunert's request without question, adding that "MacArthur's support will be invaluable to you in the accomplishment of the difficult task with which you are confronted."[3]

The first direct bid for the recall of General MacArthur came from the former Chief of Staff himself and was contained in a letter to General Marshall.[4] In this letter


MacArthur stated that since the Philippine Army was to be absorbed by the U.S. Army in the near future--a step not yet contemplated by the War Department--he intended to close out the office of Military Advisor. A new American military command embracing all U.S. Army activities in the Far East, comparable to the British command in that area, should be established, he told the Chief of Staff, and he, MacArthur, be named commander.

The idea of creating a high command in the Far East had been broached before, but never by so influential a source. In January 1941 the intelligence officer of the Philippine Department had recommended to his superior in Washington that such a command be established. This proposal differed from MacArthur's in that the department commander was to be designated commander in chief of such a command, while MacArthur put forward his own nomination.[5] The Philippine Department G-2 continued to urge this move during the first six months of 1941, but there is no evidence that it was ever considered by the General Staff in Washington until June of that year, after General MacArthur's letter to the Chief of Staff.[6]

MacArthur's proposal was sent to the War Plans Division of the General Staff for study. On 6 June Brig. Gen. Leonard T. Gerow, acting chief of the division, sent his recommendations to the Chief of Staff. He agreed that the British had created such a command, but pointed out that their situation was quite different from that faced by the Americans. The British had accepted strategic direction of naval forces in the Far East, and their troops were scattered throughout the area. U.S. Army forces were concentrated in the Philippines and had responsibility only for the defense of the Islands. Gerow therefore recommended against the establishment of a new command in the Far East. If MacArthur was called to active service, he wrote, it should be as commander of the Philippine Department.[7]

Despite the recommendations of the chief of War Plans, the official reply to MacArthur's letter expressed a sentiment entirely favorable to the proposal. This reply was contained in a letter dated 20 June from the Chief of Staff to General MacArthur. In it Marshall told the Military Advisor that the War Department's plans for the Philippine Army were not as broad as MacArthur believed, but that the decision to close out his office rested with him. All that the U.S. Army planned to do at the present time, he said, was to train about 75,000 Filipinos for a period of from three to nine months, contingent upon the appropriation by Congress of the sugar excise and currency devaluation fund.

Both the Secretary of War and I [Marshall continued] are much concerned about the situation in the Far East. During one of our discussions about three months ago it was decided that your outstanding qualifications and vast experience in the Philippines make you the logical selection for the Army Commander in the Far East should the situation approach a crisis. The Secretary has delayed recommending your appointment as he does not feel the time has arrived for such action. However, he has authorized me to tell you that, at the proper time, he will recommend to the


President that you be so appointed. It is my impression that the President will approve his recommendation.[8]

The appointment of General MacArthur as commander of all Army forces in the Far East was part of the larger problem of mobilization and training of the Philippine Army. By July 1941 it was clear that some decision on the use of the Philippine Army would soon have to be made. On 7 July MacArthur presented his views on the mobilization and training of the Philippine Army in a personal letter to the Chief of Staff, adding that the creation of a high command for the Far East "would results in favorable psychological amd morale reactions."[9] A week later General Gerow summarized for the Chief of Staff the steps being taken for improving the defenses of the Philippine Islands, and on 17 July made the following specific recommendations:

  1. That the President, by executive order, call into the service of the U.S. for the period of the emergency all organized military forces of the Commonwealth.
  2. That General MacArthur be called to active duty in the grade of Major General and assigned as commander of Army Forces in the Far East.
  3. That $10,000,000 of the President's Emergency Fund be allotted to cover the costs of mobilization and training of the Philippine Army for a period of three months.
  4. That the training program of the Philippine Army for an additional six to nine months be financed from the sugar excise fund, or from other funds appropriated for this purpose.
  5. That 425 Reserve officers be sent to the Philippines to assist in the mobilization and training of the Philippine Army.[10]

Within a week these recommendations had been approved by the Chief of Staff and the Secretary of War. The Secretary immediately requested President Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue the necessary executive order, already drafted and approved, for calling the military forces of the Commonwealth into active service of the United States. "Due to the situation in the Far East," Stimson wrote, "all practical steps should be taken to increase the defensive strength of the Philippines Islands." One of the most effective measures to accomplish this would be to call the Philippine Army into active service for a year's training. Such a program, Stimson estimated, would involve about 75,000 men and would cost about $32,000,000, which would be met by the sugar excise fund. Pending appropriation by Congress, the funds to initiate the program could be met from the President's emergency fund.[11]

Stimson's recommendations reached the President at a time when he was thoroughly aroused by Japan's occupation of air and naval bases in Indochina on 22 July. Already he had broken off negotiations with Japan for a settlement of Far Eastern problems and was considering economic reprisals in the form of a freeze on Japanese assets in the United States. On 27 July, the day after Stimson made his recommendations, the President put the freeze into effect and issued the military order which would


bring into the service of the United States the armed forces of the Philippines.[12]

The President's military order did not mention General MacArthur by name; it was carefully worded so as to place the forces in the Philippines under a general officer of the United States Army, "to be designated by the Secretary of War from time to time." The actual induction of Philippine Army units was to be accomplished by orders issued by that general officer.

The War Department immediately followed up the President's action by establishing, that same day, a new command in the Philippines, with headquarters in Manila. This command, to be called U.S. Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), would consist of the Philippine Department, those military forces of the Commonwealth ordered into active service for the period of the emergency, and such other forces as might be assigned. At the same time, MacArthur was recalled to active duty, effective on 26 July, with the rank of major general, designated as the general officer referred to in the military order, and put in command of U.S. Army Forces in the Far East.[13] With the establishment of USAFFE and the simultaneous induction of the military forces of the Commonwealth Government, the two separate military establishments which had existed in the Philippine Islands since 1935 were placed for the first time under one command.

The recall of Douglas MacArthur to active duty at the age of 61 brought back into the U.S. Army one of its most able and experienced senior officers. Son of General Arthur MacArthur of Philippine fame, he had graduated from the military Academy in 1903 as a second lieutenant of engineers. Since then his record had been one of rapid advancement and brilliant achievement. His first assignment had been in the Philippines as a construction officer and he had been aide to his father when the senior MacArthur was chief military observer with the Japanese Army in the war against Russia. In 1907 he served as aide-de-camp to President Theodore Roosevelt. After various assignments in the United States he was ordered to Washington in 1913 for duty with the Chief of Engineers. The following year he accompanied the Mexican expedition to Vera Cruz as assistant engineer officer.

In World War I Douglas MacArthur's record was outstanding. Transferring to the infantry, he served as chief of staff of the 42d Division, the Rainbow Division, and as commander of the 84th Brigade of that division. He was wounded twice, served briefly in the occupation and returned to the United States in 1919 as a brigadier general of the National Army. That year, at the age of 39, he was appointed Superintendent of the Military Academy at West Point over a number of senior generals. From West Point he went to the Philippines where he commanded in turn the District of Manila and the 23d Brigade. In January 1925 he was appointed a major general and returned to the United States the following month.

For the next three years General MacArthur commanded a corps area in the United States. In 1928 he returned to Manila as commander of the Philippine Department. Upon completion of this assignment he was brought back to the United


States where he commanded the Ninth Corps Area on the west coast for a month and on 1 November 1930 was appointed Chief of Staff, U.S. Army. He held this post five years before going to the Philippine Commonwealth. On 31 December 1937, after thirty-eight years' service, eighteen of them as a general officer, MacArthur retired from the Army with the rank of general to become field marshal in the Philippine Army a short time alter. His return to active duty on 26 July 1941 was as a major general, his permanent rank before retirement. The next day action to promote him to the rank of temporary lieutenant general was initiated and approved two days later, effective 27 July.

The Organization of USAFFE

The immediate tasks facing General MacArthur were, first, to establish his headquarters and organize his command on an efficient basis; second, to induct and train the Philippine Army; and third, to secure the necessary supplies and reinforcements to put his forces on a war footing.

The first task was quickly accomplished. From the small group of Army officers who had been detailed to the Office of the Military Advisor and from U.S. Army organizations in the Philippines, MacArthur secured enough officers to form a nucleus for his headquarters. By mid-August he had a small and highly efficient staff in Headquarters, USAFFE, located at No. 1, Calle Victoria in the walled city in Manila. His principal staff officers were men who had been with him for some time. For the most part they were men in the prime of their lives. The chief of staff and deputy chief of staff were 47 and 46 years old respectively at the time USAFFE was organized and had already served under MacArthur for several years. All the officers on the general staff were under 50 years of age, and of the three special staff officers who had been requested specifically by name, the youngest was 43 and the oldest 52.

For his chief of staff, General MacArthur selected the senior officer of the military mission, Lt. Col. Richard K. Sutherland. Entering the army as a private after his graduation from Yale in 1916, Sutherland rose to the rank of captain before the end of World War I. During the peace years, he attended the Infantry School, Command and Staff School, Ecole Supériure de Guerre, and the Army War College. Conceded by most to be a brilliant, hard-wording officer, he was selected for MacArthur's staff in 1938 after a tour of duty in Shanghai. Gen. George C. Kenney, who served with him for four years, remarked, "He knew so many of the answers that I could understand why General MacArthur had picked him for chief of staff." But he also noted that among Sutherland's traits were egotism and "an unfortunate bit of arrogance."[14] Promoted directly to brigadier general in August 1941, Sutherland remained MacArthur's chief of staff until 1946, rising finally to the rank of lieutenant general.

For the next important post in USAFFE, the deputy chief of staff, MacArthur chose Lt. Col. Richard J. Marshall who had occupied a similar position in the Military Advisor's office. Promoted rapidly, first to colonel and in December 1941 to brigadier general, Marshall had, in MacArthur's opinion, "no superior as a supply officer in the Army."[15]


PHILIPPINE SCOUTS at Fort McKinley firing a 37-mm. antitank gun in training, above; below, engineers preparing sections for a pontoon bridge.


U.S. Army in the Philippines

When General MacArthur assumed command of U.S. Army Forces in the Far East, the Philippine Department consisted of 22,532 men, 11,972 of whom were Philippine Scouts.[16] Of the 1,340 officers, 775 were reservists on active duty. The largest group of men--7,293--was assigned to the infantry, and the Coast Artillery Corps was next with 4,967. Almost the entire strength of the command was stationed on Luzon.

The largest single U.S. Army unit in the Philippines was the Philippine Division, commanded by Maj. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright. Theoretically, it was a square division, but was not equipped as such, and lacked a brigade organization and some of its organic elements. All of the enlisted men in the division, except those in the 31st Infantry and a few military police and headquarters troops, were Philippine Scouts; the 31st was the only American infantry unit in the Islands composed entirely of Americans. In addition to this regiment, the Philippine Division contained the 45th and 57th Infantry (PS).[17] Authorized strength for these Scout regiments was 2,435 officers and men, and for the 31st, 1,729. In July 1941 the former were slightly below strength and the latter was 402 overstrength in officers and enlisted men.[18]

Field artillery components of the Philippine Division consisted of the two-battalion 24th Regiment (truck-drawn British 75-mm. guns) with 843 officers and enlisted men, and one battalion of the 23d, with 401 men and armed with 2.95-inch mountain guns (pack). Plans existed for the organization at a later date of the 25th Field Artillery and a separate battalion of 155-mm. guns for use with the division. The division also included the standard engineer, ordnance, signal, military police, medical, and quartermaster units. The total strength of the Philippine Division on 31 July was 10,473 men, distributed as shown in Table 1.

The Philippine Division rarely functioned as a division, for its elements were scattered. Headquarters and the bulk of the division were at Fort William McKinley, just south of the city. The 31st Infantry was stationed at the Post of manila, in the city itself, and a battalion of the 12th Quartermaster Regiment was located in the Manila port area. The 1st Battalion, less one company, of the 45th Infantry was stationed at the Post of Limay on the southeast coast of the Bataan peninsula. The rest of the division, including the artillery components, the 12th Ordnance Company, and a platoon of the quartermaster regiment, was at Fort Stotsenburg, about fifty miles north of Manila, close to Clark Field.

The major nondivisional U.S. Army ground elements in the Philippines in July


Table 1--Strength of Philippine Division, 31 July 1941

Unit Total Officer Total American Philippine
    All Units 10,473 *516 9,957 2,036 7,921
Hq and Hq Co 181 30 151 4 147
Special Troops 5 5 0 0 0
31st Infantry 2,100 114 1,986 1,986 0
45th Infantry 2,265 117 2,148
57th Infantry 2,279 118 2,161 0 2,161
23d FA Regt 401 10 391 0 391
24th FA Regt 843 39 804 0 804
12th MP Co 136 5 131 45 86
12th QM Regt 592 18 574 0 574
12th Med Regt 421 22 399 0 399
12th Ord Co 142 3 139 0 139
12 Sig Regt 227 10 217 0 217
14th Engr Regt 870 24 846 0 846
4th Vet Co 11 1 10 0 10
* Includes 15 Philippine Scout Officers: 2 Hq, 2 Sp Trs, 3 45th Inf, 1 57th Inf, 5 24th FA Regt, 1 12th QM Regt, and 1 14th Engr.
Source: Phil Dept, Machine Rcds Unit Station Strength and Misc., Officer and Enlisted Men, Jul 41.

1941 included the Harbor Defenses of Manila and Subic Bays, a cavalry regiment, two field artillery regiments, and quartermaster, signal, and military police units. The Harbor Defenses were commanded by Maj. Gen. George F. Moore, who had his headquarters at Fort Mills on Corregidor. They included not only the defenses of Corregidor, but also those on Caballo Island (Forth Hughes), El Fraile (Fort Drum), and Carabo (Fort Frank)--all at the entrance to Manila Bay--and Fort Wint on Grande Island at the entrance to Subic Bay.

The 26th Cavalry was a Philippine Scout organization with two squadrons of three troops each. It was considerably smaller than a similar regiment in the United States and had a strength of 784 enlisted men and 54 officers. The home station of the regiment, except for one troop, was at Fort Stotsenburg; Troop F was stationed at Nichols Field, south of Manila.[19] Also at Fort Stotsenburg were two Philippine Scout field artillery regiments, the 86th and 88th the first with a strength of 388 and the second with 518 men.

Service and supply elements in the Philippine Department at the end of July 1941 totaled approximately 2,500 officers and men, exclusive of those serving with the Air Forces. The largest part of these troops were assigned to quartermaster and medical units, stationed at the various posts on Luzon, and at Pettit Barracks in Zamboanga


(Mindanao). A military police company, the 808th, was stationed in Manila, as were the headquarters of the Philippine Department and of USAFFE. (See Table 2.)

On 4 August, the air forces in the Philippines were brought under the control of MacArthur's headquarters, "except for routine administration and supply," and redesignated the USAFFE Air Force. It was only a token force. Of the 210 aircraft in the Islands, only the thirty-one P-40Bs could be considered modern aircraft; the others, consisting of P-26s, P-35s, B-10s, B-18s, A-29s, C-39s and observation planes, were largely obsolescent. One field alone, Clark Field near Fort Stotsenburg, could accommodate heavy bombers.[20]

Air Forces headquarters was located at Nielson Field on the outskirts of Manila; the majority of the planes were based at either Nichols, also near Manila, or Clark Field. The 4th Composite Group at Clark Field had under it a headquarters squadron, three pursuit squadrons, one bombardment squadron, and an observation squadron. The 20th Air Base Group at Nichols Field contained miscellaneous supporting units, including the 27th and 28th Materiel Squadrons, and the 19th Air Base Squadron. Total strength of the air forces was 254 officers and 2,049 men.[21]

With the establishment of USAFFE, the Philippine Department became a subordinate command. The headquarters staff was left largely intact, although General MacArthur designated some of its members to serve on his staff in addition to their regular duties, but the mission of the Department was narrowed until its principal task became the training and supply of the Philippine Army. In effect, it became a service command, "and administrative echelon," MacArthur explained, "analogous to a Corps Area."[22] Planning and the tactical control of field troops, organized into task forces, were now centered in USAFFE.

Under the circumstances, there seemed little need for the services of so senior an officer as General Grunert, and MacArthur recommended that he be relieved and another officer, "who had not enjoyed such high command" be appointed to the position. Pointing out that Grunert would complete his tour of duty in less than four months, MacArthur declared, "It would be advantageous to relieve him, as I am loath, as long as he is here, to contract the functions of the Department Commander. ..."[23] The War Department accepted this suggestion and on 23 October named MacArthur commander of the Philippine Department, relieved Grunert, and ordered him back to he United States.[24] Thus, the Philippine Department, which had been for so long the highest Army command in the Far East, became, in fact first and later in name, a service command. The headquarters


Table 2--Strength and Composition of U.S. Army Troops in Philippine Islands, 31 July 1941

Unit Total Officers Total American Philippine Scouts
   All Units 22,532 a1,434 21,098 9,161 11,937
Hq USAFFE 5 5 0 0 0
Hq and Hq Det Phil Dept 289 125 164 163 1
Philippine Division 10,473 516 9,957 2,036 7,921
26th Cavalry 838 54 784 0 784
43 Infantry 329 16 313 0 313
86th FA 388 12 376 0 376
88th FA 518 17 501 0 501
808th MP Co 69 4 65 65 0
Harbor Defenses (Ft Mills) 5,360 204 5,156 3,698 1,458
     Hq and Hq Btry 418 32 386 316 70
     59th CA 1,415 34 1,381 1,381 0
     60th CA 1,896 41 1,855 1,855 0
     91st CA 783 26 757 0 757
     92d CA 653 26 627 0 627
     USAMPb Harrison 47 7 40 36 4
     Station Hospital 144 35 109 109 0
     Chemical Warfare Det 4 3 1 1 0
Air Corps 2,407 275 2,132 2,132 0
     Headquarters 109 18 91 91 0
     4th Composite Group 1,393 232 1,161 1,161 0
     20th Air Base Group 842 19 823 823 0
     Tow Target Det 42 1 41 41 0
     Weather Det 21 5 16 16 0
Service Detachments 1,836 188 1,648 1,065 583
     Quartermaster Corps 505 31 474 182 292
     Medical Dept 526 132 394 233 161
     Ordnance Dept 173 9 164 164 0
     Corps of Engineers 196 7 189 189 0
     Signal Corps 348 6 342 224 118
     Chemical Warfare Service 68 2 66 54 12
     Finance Dept 20 1 19 19 0
Otherc 20 18 2 2 0
a Includes 26 Philippines Scout Officers.
b U.S. Army Mine Planter.
c Includes officers and enlisted men for which no specific unit was indicated.
Source: Phil Dept, Machine Rcds Unit Station Strength and Misc., Officers and Enlisted Men, Jul 41.


which had made the plans and preparations for war had no tactical control when war came.

CEREMONY AT CAMP MURPHY, RIZAL, 15 August 1941, marking the induction of the Philippine Army Air Corps. Behind Lt. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, from left to right, are Lt. Col. Richard K. Sutherland, Col. Harold H. George, Lt. Col. William F. Marquat, and Maj. LeGrande A. Diller.

Philippine Army: Mobilization and Training

The major task of the hurriedly assembled staff of Headquarters, USAFFE, was to work out a plan for the mobilization, training, and supply of the Philippine Army. Within a few days of his appointment, General MacArthur had selected 1 September as the day when mobilization of the Philippine Army would start. This left thirty days in which to select camp sites, enlarge and improve existing camps for the first reservists, and build new camps.

The integration of the armed forces of the Philippine Commonwealth into the service of the United States was to be gradual. Elements of the ten reserve divisions were to be called into service at regular intervals until 15 December 1941, when the mobilization would be complete. The Philippine Army Air Corps would be inducted separately. Reserve units engaged in their normal yearly training were not to be inducted unless war came. It was hoped in this way to continue the development of the Commonwealth's defense program and at the same time mobilize and train the Philippine Army. Commonwealth forces coming under United States control would retain their national integrity; they would have their own uniforms, rations, military law, scale


of pay, and promotion list; would requisition through their own supply channel until 1 December; but would be paid by the U.S. Army. The Regular Army of the Philippine Commonwealth and the Constabulary were not to be inducted immediately.

A construction program was to be started immediately since there was only enough housing for about one third of the 75,000 men scheduled for induction. Camp sites would have to be selected and facilities for training built. The first units called would use existing or temporary quarters and, as camps were completed, additional units would be inducted. By 15 December, when the last units would be mobilized, the entire construction program would be completed.[25]

On 15 August, less than three weeks after he had assumed command of USAFFE, General MacArthur incorporated into the American forces the Philippine Army Air Corps of six squadrons and approximately 500 men. A few days later he issued orders calling into the service by 1 September ten infantry regiments--one from each of the reserve divisions--and the cadres of most of the other divisional units.[26]

As housing facilities became available, USAFFE brought other elements of the Philippine Army into service. Early in November the second infantry regiment of each of the divisions was called up, to be joined before the end of the month by the division headquarters and the service elements. But time was running out. When war came not a single division had been completely mobilized and not one of the units was a full strength. None of the antitank battalions was ever organized because of the lack of equipment, and the shortage of organic artillery forced many of the divisions to go into battle without full artillery components.[27]

To each division were assigned about forty U.S. Army officers and twenty American or Philippine Scout noncommissioned officers who served as instructors. The officers were usually attached to division and regimental staffs; the enlisted men served in battalions and companies. The position of the instructor was an anomalous one. When one instructor asked for a clarification of his status he was told: "You have no command status. You have no authority. But you are directly responsible for the success or failure of the regiment."[28]

While it is not possible to state definitely the strength of the Philippine Army by mid-December 1941, an estimate of the number of Filipinos available for combat can be


made. On the basis of the authorized strength of a Philippine Division (7,500 men), the total divisional strength of the Philippine Army reserve would be 75,000 men. To this figure must be added the strength of the 1st Regular Division, a part of the regular establishment, and the Constabulary, plus nondivisional and provisional units formed after the start of war. A rough estimate of the number of men in the Philippine Army, therefore, would be approximately 120,000, a figure which is confirmed by later reports on the number of men surrendered and by postwar claims for back pay and pensions.[29]

Upon mobilization of the first elements of the ten reserve divisions, schools were established to provide special training for officers and selected enlisted men of the Philippine Army who in turn would train other Filipinos as the mobilization progressed. At Baguio a command and staff school was established to train a few American colonels and senior Philippine officers who were to command Philippine Army divisions, as well as certain key officers slated for the staffs of these divisions. Schools for the training of infantry cadres were established in each division mobilization district. Americans and Philippine Scouts served as instructors, and the students consisted of the cadres of the infantry elements of the divisions, regimental and battalion staffs, company commanders, platoon leaders, first sergeants, cooks, and company clerks. In addition to specialized training, each student took the basic infantry course.[30]

Coast artillery schools were established at Fort Mills (Corregidor) and Fort Wint (Grande Island), and field artillery cadres were trained at the Philippine Army training center at Camp Dau, near Fort Stotsenburg, Two engineer schools were established, with instructors from the 14th Engineer Regiment (PS), the engineer component of the Philippine Division. A signal and a medical school were organized at Fort William McKinley; a second medical school was established for the training of nondivisional cadres; and in the port area of Manila was a quartermaster motor transport school.[31]

The training of the Philippine Army was beset with numerous difficulties. In many units there was a serious language barrier, not only between the American instructors and the Filipinos but also among the Filipinos. The enlisted men of one division spoke the Bicolanian dialect, their Philippine officers usually spoke Tagalog, and the Americans spoke neither.[32] In the Visayas the problem was even more complicated since most of the officers were Tagalogs from central Luzon and the men spoke one or more of the many Visayan tongues. Transfers were made to alleviate the situation, but no real solution to the problem was ever found.[33]


Discipline in Philippine Army units left much to be desired, according to U.S. Army officers. Until war was declared there were no courts-martial. Since the Philippine Army retained its national integrity after induction, Philippine Army headquarters was responsible for discipline and punishment. Many of the officers and noncommissioned officers were untrained and unqualified for their assignments. There were some first sergeants and company clerks who could neither read nor write.

Training facilities and equipment were almost nonexistent. Target ranges had been hurriedly improvised but many units went into battle without ever having fired their weapons. There was a serious shortage in almost all types of equipment. The clothing was old and much of it not fit for use; shoes were rubber soled and quickly wore out. The uniform usually consisted of the blue fatigue suit, and when that wore out, anything that could be found. There were serious shortages in personal equipment, blankets, mosquito bars, and shelter halves. The supply of Enfield and Springfield '03 rifles was adequate but that of many other weapons, entrenching tools, gas masks, and steel helmets was not. After the outbreak of war, units secured supplies wherever and whenever they could, and the amount was usually dependent upon the initiative and energy of the individual supply officers.[34]

The difficulties of mobilizing and training the Philippine Army can best be shown by following the experiences of a single division. The 31st Division (PA) was organized on 18 November at a camp near San Marcelino in Zambales Province, Luzon.[35] An American Army officer, Col. Clifford Bluemel, who had commanded the 45th Infantry (PS) and later the staff and command school at Baguio, was assigned as division commander with a staff consisting of Philippine Army and Scout officers.

When the division was organized, in camp was still under construction. The buildings were about 80 percent complete, and in the absence of a water system a few shallow wells were used. Work on sanitary installations had just begun.

One of the division's regiments, the 31st Infantry (PA), had been mobilized on 1 September and was already in camp when Colonel Bluemel arrived. The 32d Infantry had been inducted on 1 November but did not join the division until 6 December. Starting on 25 November the third infantry element of the division, the 33d Infantry, began arriving in camp. Between 18 and 30 November, the medical battalion, motor transport, service, and division headquarters companies were mobilized. The signal company was organized on 1 December when a cadre which had been in training at Fort McKinley for three months arrived at camp. The 31st Field Artillery Regiment began mobilizing on 12 December, after the outbreak of war, and was finally organized with two battalions on 26 December, after the division had already moved to Bataan.

The 31st Division, like the other Philippine Army divisions, suffered from shortages in personal and organizational equipment.


Every man was equipped with a rifle, the .30-caliber Enfield rifle used by American troops in World War I. The stock was too long for the small Philippine soldier and the weak extractor often broke and could not be replaced. Of the other infantry weapons, there was one Browning automatic rifle for each infantry company and eight .30-caliber Browning water-cooled machine guns for each machine gun company. Each infantry regiment had two .50-caliber machine guns and six 3-inch trench mortars, 70 percent of the ammunition for which proved to be duds. Artillery equipment for the division consisted of eight World War I model 75-mm. guns which were delivered to the division on the evening of 7 December, without sights or fire control equipment. The 31st Field Artillery, therefore, could only organize two of the six firing batteries it was authorized.

Organic transportation was virtually nonexistent. Division headquarters and the motor transport company could muster only one sedan, one command car, one bantam car, one 1 1/2-ton truck and one 1/2-ton truck. The 31st Infantry had only one command car and eight 1 1/2-ton trucks, which was more than the other regiments had. The division was deficient also in communications and engineer supplies, office equipment, spare parts, and tools.

The personal equipment of the Philippine soldier in the 31st Division left much to be desired. His uniform consisted of shorts, short-sleeved shirt, and cheap canvas shoes with a rubber sole that wore out in about two weeks. Some of the men were fortunate enough to draw leather shoes. For warmth and protection against mosquitoes, the Filipino wore his blue fatigue uniform. There were no surplus stocks for issue or replacement. The division received no steel helmets, but did have gas masks.

Rations were purchased by the individual organizations with funds furnished the unit commanders by the Philippine Army. Zambales Province, where the 31st Division was located, did not produce enough food for its own needs, and as additional units joined the division the procurement of food became a difficult problem. The division railhead scheduled to open on 1 December did not begin operations until a week later, after the war had started, because of the inexperience of Filipino supply officers.

The training program of the division began theoretically on 1 September, when the 31st Infantry was mobilized, but it was not until 24 November that the men first fired their rifles on the target range at the Olongapo Naval Station. One battalion fired fifty rounds per man, and another twenty-five rounds. The third battalion never fired at all, for permission to use the range was withdrawn by the Navy when the 4th Marine Regiment arriving from China, was stationed at Olongapo. No other range was available for the division, and the one under construction was not completed when war came.

The men in the 31st Infantry were more fortunate than those in the other regiments, many of whom never even fired a rifle before entering combat. Nor had their previous five and a half months' training under Philippine Army supervision been of much value, according to Colonel Bluemel. Practically none of the men, he observed, had fired as many as five rounds with the rifle or the .30-caliber machine gun. None had fired the .50-caliber machine gun or the mortar. Bluemel's judgment of the value of the early training program was borne out


by the experience of other Philippine Army division commanders.[36]

The field artillery units received even less training than the infantry. As soon as the two batteries were organized, they fired two rounds per gun. Most of the men had never fired a 75-mm. gun and many had never even seen one fired. The engineer battalion had been constructing a road since its arrival in camp and received no other training. The cadre of the signal company was commanded by a Filipino who had received inadequate training at Fort McKinley. This man, who was to be division signal officer, was unable to establish radio communication with units a mile away in the same camp.

All officers in the division, with few exceptions, were Filipinos with little or no knowledge of tactics or of the method of training troops for combat. In some cases, their understanding of English was inadequate. As the war progressed, it became necessary to replace many of the Filipino battalion commanders with American officers. The enlisted men seemed to the division commander to be proficient in only two things; "one, when an officer appeared, to yell attention in a loud voice, jump up and salute; the other, to demand 3 meals per day."[37]


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[1] Biennial Report of the Chief of Staff of the United States Army, July 1, 1941 to June 30, 1943 to the Secretary of War (Washington, 1943), p. 6.

[2] Henry L. Stimson, Diary, entry of 21 May 41; memo, Brig Gen Leonard T. Gerow for Chief of Staff, 29 May 41, sub: Consultation with Mil Advisor ..., WPD 3251-49; ltr, Marshall to MacArthur, 20 Jun 41, OCS 20850-15, Chief of Staff is hereafter referred to as CofS and the Office of the Chief of Staff as OCS. General Gerow was at the time acting chief of WPD. The relevant portion of Mr. Stimson's diary was made available to the author by Mr. Rudolph A. Winnacker, formerly historian of the Office of the Secretary of War and the author of a forthcoming volume in this series on the history of that office.

Frazier Hunt, in his book MacArthur and the War Against Japan (New York, 1944), page 12, states that MacArthur offered his services to President Roosevelt early in the spring of 1941. The author has been unable to find the documentary evidence in the files of the Department of the Army to support this assertion.

[3] Ltr, Marshall to Grunert, 29 May 41, WPD 3251-49.

[4] The author has been unable to find a copy of this letter in the files of the War Department but its contents are summarized in a memorandum written by General Gerow and addressed to the Chief of Staff on 6 June 1941 (WPD 3251-50). From internal evidence it appears that MacArthur on the same day wrote a letter covering the same subjects to the President and the Secretary of War. See also ltr, Marshall to MacArthur, 20 Jun 41, WPD 3251-50.

[5] Ltr, G-2 Phil Dept to G-2 WD, 18 Jan 41, sub: Comments on Current Events, 8-18 Jan 41, Military Intelligence Division 10641-374-50. Military Intelligence Division is hereafter referred to as MID with appropriate file number.

[6] Ibid.; see also ltrs, 13 and 26 Mar 41, MID 10641-374-58, -59.

[7] Memo, Gerow for CofS, 6 Jun 41, WPD 3251-50.

[8] Ltr, Marshall to MacArthur, 20 Jun 41, OCS 20850-15; see also unused draft of this letter in WPD 3251-50. The last paragraph of the copy sent stated: "This letter is also an acknowledgment of your letters to the President and to the Secretary of War. Please keep its contents confidential for the present."

[9] The writer has been unable to find a copy of this letter. A summary of its contents can be found in a memo, Gerow for CofS, 14 Jul 41, sub: Philippine Islands [P.I.], WPD 3251-52.

[10] Ibid.; Gerow for CofS, sub: Emergency Mobilization and Tng of Phil Army, 17 Jul 41, WPD 3251-52.

[11] Ltr, Stimson to President, 25 Jul 41, OCS 18136-34.

[12] The military order and other material relating to this subject are filed in WPD 3251-52.

[13] Rad, Marshall to MacArthur, 26 Jul 41, OCS 18136-35; ltr order, CofS to MacArthur, sub: Active Duty, Tab C, Incl 4, WPD 3251-52.

[14] Gen. George C. Kenney, General Kenney Reports (New York, 1949), p. 26.

[15] Rad MacArthur to Marshall, No. C-62, 10 Jul 42, OPD Strategy File, III.

[16] Unless otherwise noted, this and subsequent material on the strrength of American and Philippine troops is taken from Phil Dept., Machine Rcds Unit Station Strength Rpts, 31 Jul 41, Strength Accounting Branch, and from Phil Dept War Plan ORANGE, 1940 Rebision (Short title HPD WPO-3). Flyleaf of Copy No. 6 has an AG strength report of 21 Jul 41 attached.

Up to January 1941 the Scouts had had a strength of 6,500; at that time the President of the United States had authorized an increase in their strength to 12,000. Telg, TAG to CG Phil Dept, No. 635, 28 Jan 41, AG 320.2 Phil Dept (1-19-41).

[17] The 43d Infantry (PS) is also listed in some reports. Actually, this unit consisted of 329 men, formerly part of the 45th Infantry, who had been detached for duty at Zamboanga in Mandanao and at Camp John Hay, near Baguio on Luzon.

[18] HPD WPO-3, G-1 Annex, Exhibit F. Strength figures in this source were computed from tables and are the estimated strengths as of Mobilization (M) Day. Those figures are close to the actual strength at the beginning of 1941 when the plan was prepared, but some of the units listed in Table 1 were not yet organized.

[19] Lt. Col. William E. Chandler, "26th Cavalry (PS) Battles to Glory," in three parts, Armored Cavalry Journal, LVI, Nos. 2-4 (March-August 1947).

[20] USAFFE GO 4, 4 Aug 41, copy in History of Fifth Air Force (and Its Predecessors), Air Hist Off; Army Air Action in the Philippines and the Netherland East Indies, p. 11, prepared by the Asst Chief of Air Staff Intel, Hist Div, and filed in Air University Hist Off.

[21] Army Air Action in Phil and NEI, p. 11. The aircraft in the 4th Composite Group at this time were as follows: 21 P-26s, 56 P-35s, 31 P-40Bs, 10 O-46s, 3 O-19Es, 10 A-9s, 1 C-39, 9 A-27s, 14 B-10Bs, and 18 B-18s.

[22] Extract of rad from CG USAFFE in memo, Jah Gen William Bryden, DCofS for ACofS G-1, 13 Oct 41, OCS 18136-78; see also memo, Bryden for WPD, 7 Oct 41, OCS 18136-71.

[23] Extract of rad from CG USAFFE in memo, Bryden for ACofS, G-1, 13 Oct 41, OCS 18136-78.

[24] Memo, Bryden for TAG, n.d., sub: Order for Gens Grunert and MacArthur, AG 210.311. Note on memo: "Action taken, October 23, 1941."

[25] Notes on the Philippine Army, 1941-1942, p. 2; Sixth Annual Report of the U.S. High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands, 1 July 1941-30 June 1942 (Washington, 1943), p. 16; Admin Plan for Ten Reserve Divs ..., Hq USAFFE, 10 Aug 41, OCMH; Report of Operations of USAFFE and USFIP [U.S. Forces in the Philippines] in the Philippine Islands, 1941-1942, pp. 3 ff. This last report with its eighteen annexes constitutes the basic Army report on the various aspects of the Philippine campaign and was prepared in 1946 by a staff under General Wainwright, formerly commander of USFIP. Each of the annexes is separately titled and paginated and was prepared by officers in the relevant headquarters. The basic report is cited hereafter as USAFFE-USFIP Rpt of Opns; its annexes will be referred to by their own titles, listed in The Sources, page 588, below.

This report was prepared in five copies, one of which is on file in AG and another in OCMH. The author has used throughout this volume the copy in OCMH.

[26] USAFFE GO 6, 19 Aug 41, copy in OCMH; Sixth Annual Report of High Commissioner, p. 15.

[27] USAFFE-USFIP Rpt of Opns, pp. 13, 14.

[28] Col Richard C. Mallonée, senior instructor of 21st FA (PA), Bataan Diary, 2 vols., I, 23. The diary was borrowed by the author and a photostat copy is on file in OCMH. See also South Luzon Force (SLF) and II Corps Rpt of Opns, p. 4, Annex V, USAFFE-USFIP Rpt of Opns.

[29] Memo, CofS for Secretary of War (SW), n.d., sub: Reinforcement of the Philippines, OCS, 18136-124; memo, Col Joseph k. Evans, Chief, SE Asia Sec, for Maj Thomas R. Clarkin, SW Pacific Sec, OPD, 5 Aug 42, sub: US and PA Divs in Phil Campaign, OCMH; memo, Col John R. Deane for Admiral Harold R. Stark, 7 Feb 42, OCS 18136-232; intervs, author with numerous officers on the division and corps level who served in the Philippine campaign. The author had been unable to find any strength reports of the Philippine Army by USAFFE, after 31 October 1941.

[30] USAFFE-USFIP Rpt of Opns, pp. 3-4; interv, author with Brig Gen Clifford Bluemel, 14 Apr 48, OCMH. General Bluemel commanded the 31st Division (PA).

[31] USAFFE-USFIP Rpt of Opns, p. 8.

[32] SLF and II Corps Rpt of Opns, p. 6.

[33] Visayan-Mindanao Force (V-MF) Rpt of Opns, 0. 17, Annex XI, USAFFE-USFIP Rpt fof Opns.

[34] Ibis., pp. 17-20; SLF and II Corps Rpt of Opns, pp. 6-7; USAFFE-USFIP Rpt of Opns, pp. 19-20.

[35] This accounts is drawn from the Report of General Bluemel on the 31st Division Philippine Army. It was borrowed from the author and a copy is on file in OCMH. Cited hereafter as Bluemel, 31st Div (PA) Rpt of Opns.

[36] In addition to General Bluemel's report, see Col. Clyde A. Selleck, Notes on the 71st Division, pp. 2-8, and Col. Ray M. O'Day, History of the 21st Division (PA), 2 vol., I, 1-5. Colonel Selleck commanded the 71st Division (PA) and Colonel O'Day was the senior American instructor with the 21st Division (PA). Both documents were borrowed from the authors and copies are on file in OCMH.

[37] Bluemel, 31st Div (PA) Rpt of Opns, p. 4.

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