The end nears on Bataan
6th April 1942: Three month fighting retreat down the Bataan peninsula on Luzon in the Philippines ends with a bitter defeat for American and Philippine forces
The long struggle to resist the Japanese invasion of the Philippines was now coming to an end. A combination of Philippine and American troops had put up a determined resistance as they withdrew down the Bataan peninsula. The original, pre-war, plan had been for such resistance to provide time for the U.S. to assemble a much larger force which would come to relieve them.
The U.S. was unable to produce a relieving force. But the defenders had still fought on, even though eventual defeat had been fairly apparent for most of the last month or so. How much their sacrifice achieved, in holding down Japanese forces and preventing their deployment elsewhere, remains controversial to this day.
Felipe Buencamino III1, an officer attached to the Philipine Army HQ, describes the conditions on the 5th and 6th as the last lines of resistance begin to crumble:
5th April 1942
Dead men everywhere. Uniforms red with blood. Guns red with blood. Bataan is a sea of blood.
Some troops still fighting but contact with the main line has been lost. Most of the boys are retreating, firing, retreating, firing – dying.
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