Dear Members of the 6th Infantry Division:
I have had the occasion to search for available statistics over the internet regarding World War II and have discovered that the Battle for Luzon is commonly and, unfortunately, overlooked by the public when we recall World War II. Luzon was the second largest battle of the Pacific, surpassed, only by Okinawa.
Here is some information for comparison:
I. Normandy Invasion And Battle.
On D-Day, the Allies landed around 156,000 troops in Normandy. The American forces landed numbered 73,000: 23,250 on Utah Beach, 43,250 on Omaha Beach, and 15,500 airborne troops. In the British and Canadian sector, 83,115 troops were landed (61,715 of them British): 24,970 on Gold Beach, 21,400 on Juno Beach, 28,845 on Sword Beach, and 7900 airborne troops.
Total Allied casualties on D-Day are estimated at 10,000, including 2500 dead. British casualties on D-Day have been estimated at approximately 2700. The Canadians lost 946 casualties. The US forces lost 6603 men. Note that the casualty figures for smaller units do not always add up to equal these overall figures exactly, however (this simply reflects the problems of obtaining accurate casualty statistics).
Casualties on the British beaches were roughly 1000 on Gold Beach and the same number on Sword Beach. The remainder of the British losses were amongst the airborne troops: some 600 were killed or wounded, and 600 more were missing; 100 glider pilots also became casualties. The losses of 3rd Canadian Division at Juno Beach have been given as 340 killed, 574 wounded and 47 taken prisoner.
The breakdown of US casualties was 1465 dead, 3184 wounded, 1928 missing and 26 captured. Of the total US figure, 2499 casualties were from the US airborne troops (238 of them being deaths). The casualties at Utah Beach were relatively light: 197, including 60 missing. However, the US 1st and 29th Divisions together suffered around 2000 casualties at Omaha Beach.
The total German casualties on D-Day are not known, but are estimated as being between 4000 and 9000 men.
Naval losses for June 1944 included 24 warships and 35 merchantmen or auxiliaries sunk, and a further 120 vessels damaged.
Over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing during the Battle of Normandy. This figure includes over 209,000 Allied casualties, with nearly 37,000 dead amongst the ground forces and a further 16,714 deaths amongst the Allied air forces. Of the Allied casualties, 83,045 were from 21st Army Group (British, Canadian and Polish ground forces), 125,847 from the US ground forces. The losses of the German forces during the Battle of Normandy can only be estimated. Roughly 200,000 German troops were killed or wounded. The Allies also captured 200,000 prisoners of war (not included in the 425,000 total, above). During the fighting around the Falaise Pocket (August 1944) alone, the Germans suffered losses of around 90,000, including prisoners.
II. The Invasion And Battle for Luzon.
Ultimately ten U.S. divisions and five independent regiments would see action on Luzon, making it the largest campaign of the Pacific war and involving more troops in any invasion than the United States had used in North Africa, Italy, or southern France.
The weather on 9 January (called S-day) was ideal. A light overcast dappled the predawn sky, and gentle waves promised a smooth ride onto the beach. At 0700 the preassault bombardment began and was followed an hour later by the landings. With little initial Japanese opposition, General Krueger’s Sixth Army landed almost 175,000 men along a twenty-mile beachhead within a few days. While the I Corps, commanded by Lt. Gen. Innis P. Swift, protected the beachhead’s flanks, Lt. Gen. Oscar W. Griswold’s XIV Corps prepared to drive south, first to Clark Field and then to Manila. Only after the Manila area had been secured was Swift’s I Corps to push north and east to seize the vital road junctions leading from the coast into the mountains of northern Luzon.
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 93,422 non-combat casualties, including 260 deaths, most of them from disease. During that same period, the battle casualties for the 6th Army, alone, totalled 37,854 of which 8,140 were killed in action. (This from Page 7, of the Assistant Chief of Staff Report, of the Sixth United States Army, Luzon Campaign, Vol. III, (restricted)(I have an original of this report). Only a few campaigns had a higher casualty rate.
The largest American Battle Monument Commission Cemmetary outside of Arlington Virginia, is on Luzon where over 17,000 Americans are buried.
III. The Invasion And Battle of Okinawa:
This is the only Campaign in the Pacific I could find that surpassed the Battle for Luzon. Iwo Jima and Guadacanal, even combined, are only about half the casualties of either Luzon or Okinawa.
The Battle of Okinawa, fought on the island of Okinawa in the Ryukyu Islands (south of the four big islands of Japan) was the largest amphibious assault during the Pacific campaign of World War II. (In which over 60,000 troops were involved in the landing). [ Statement does not seem to be accurate if compared with Luzon] It was noted as the largest sea-land-air battle in history, running from April through June, 1945.
American losses were were over 72,000 casualties, of whom 12,000 were killed or missing, over twice Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal combined. Compare this with Luzon.
About a quarter of the civilian, and Japanese and American populations about the island in spring 1945 were killed. There were about 100,000 Japanese killed or captured; many preferred suicide to the disgrace of capture.
The battle of Okinawa (and for that matter the Battle of Luzon) have landed in a strange black hole, as far as the United States in concerned. The war was over (or nearly over at the outset) in Europe; the end in Japan was in sight, and American’s were returning to peacetime pursuits; president Franklin Delano Roosevelt died on April 12, the end of an era. The horrific carnage often draws blank stares from Americans.
The land campaign was controlled by 10th Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner.
The army had two corps under its command, III Amphibious Corps, consisting of 1st and 6th Marine Divisions, with 2nd Marine Division as an afloat reserve, and XXIV Corps, consisting of the 7th, 27th, 77th and 96th Infantry Divisions.
The battle took place over about 82 days after April 1, 1945. The American’s swept across the thin part of the south-central part of the island with little difficulty, soon taking the entire north, and Kadena Air Base, which at present writing (August, 2003) is still the largest American air base in Asia.
The island fell on about June 21, though some Japanese continued fighting, including the future governer of Okinawa Prefecture, Masahide Ota.
Admittedly, nothing in history compares to Europe and the Normandy campaign for the United States in World War II. Especially, considering the greater threat of Hitler and Germany and this battle as the turning point for the allies along with Stalingrad. And there is a battle to surpass all of these I’ve just mentioned.
However, if we objectively examine the Pacific Theater of operations during World War II, the Battles for Okinawa and Luzon rank #1 and #2, respectively, for the shear size of the operations and the loss in terms of casualties. Certainly, Iwo Jima and Guadacanal were significant and horrific battles, but they tend to overshadow even Okinawa and Luzon in our imagination as if the two never existed.
The symbol of the Pacific continues to be the raising of the flag on Mt. Surabachi on Iwo Jima where 70,000 Marines landed and suffered over 26,000 casualties of which 5,521 were killed in action; or it tends to be the Guadalcanal campaign in which there were a total of only 5,775 casualties, of which 1,592 were killed in action (1,042 Marines and 550 US Army soldiers). Yet even if we combine these two campaigns, they represent significantly fewer casualties compared with either the battles of Luzon or Okinawa.
The reason for this over-focus on Iwo Jima and Gudalcanal seems to be because of several factors including the fact that Guadalcanal was America’s first major battle in the Pacific and Iwo Jima had such a high casualty rate. Other reasons seem to be that Okinawa and Luzon took place against the backdrop of: (1) the end of the War in Europe; and (2) the death of FDR. This is partially why the larger campaigns of Luzon and Okinawa became secondary news. Then, in the wake of the use of the Atomic Bomb, much of the story was largely forgotten. Most Americans will give you a blank stare if you mention the subject. American dignitaries follow suit and visit and mention the Pacific with references to Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima as do many journalists and historians with little mention of the rest of the Pacific Theater.
Another problem was the Army’s inability or unwillingness to engage in public relations. By contrast, the United States Marines had then and have now a terrific public relations arm to tell the story of their service. The Army at the time had very little of that and what it had was unfortunately, overshadowned by focus on Douglas MacArthur. It is unfortunate also that many of the Armyâ€™s service records for World War II were destroyed in a fire in the 1970s at their repository in St. Louis Missouri. In my opinion, that even is a further example of neglect, incompetence, and disrespect for the branch of the service that actually did most of the fighting and dying in the War and in the Southwest Pacific.
I cannot even count the number of times I have had to tell some relative of an Army veteran of the Pacific that, unfortunately, their loved one’s service records may be gone. We must never forget that the largest American Cemetery outside of Arlington, VA, is near Manila on Luzon in the Philippines. It is not in Normandy, France.
Soon, a new Stephen Spielberg film is coming out to retell the story of Iwo Jima. I am all for it because it is a great story that in many respects symbolizes, and exemplefies the heroic sacrifices of all of the troops in the Pacific which is difficult to fathom it its enormous scale. I will certainly want to see the film. However I am still disappointed that, the largest stories of the Pacific War: Okinawa and Luzon still go largely untold. American dignitaries and politicians visit and revisit Normandy, but when was the last time a Senator, Congressman, or President showed up at the Manila Cemetery in the Philippines to pay homage to these fallen heros of the Pacific?
It is a sad oversight and needs to change, especially for the sake of those who fought and died there and the over 36,000 unknowns who were never found and who can only be memorialized at the cemetery. To see an image and read a description about the Manila Cemetery go to the second page of our photo gallery under the topic “Memorial To The War Dead Of The Pacific.” or go to the American Battle Monuments Commission’s website.
(Son of Robert E. Price, (63rd Inf. Cos. L, D & Med. Det.)).
Dear Mr. Price,
I am enjoying your website and, as a Marine veteran of VN, sympathize with your lament about the lack of recognition given to deserving troops. In your comments comparing the various Pacific campaigns, you may want to consider that in the Guadacanal Campaign, there were more US Navy than USMC battle deaths, according to the US Government statistics I have seen. Thus the battle deaths for Guadalcanal would be increased as a basis for comparison, unless you are considering only ground battle casualties. I don’t recall whether you included Navy deaths for Okinawa.
Another point I think is worth considering is the significant disparity in the European Theater between battle deaths suffered by the Russians in fighting the Axis powers and those suffered by the other Allied powers. I was certainly no admirer of the Soviet regime, but looking at the facts of the situation makes clear that the Russians deserve the lion’s share of the credit for defeating the Nazis. They likely could not have done it without the American resources poured into their military, but it was mainly Russian blood along with American treasure that sank Hitler. Of course, I think that was what Chamberlain, along with Churchill, had wanted to see all along.
Excellent points! Thanks for your reply and interest in the website.
The deaths of the infantry were three times more than any branch of service. Thats why the infantry metal was given to infantry only. My dad fought in the pacific and i wittnessed all my life what fighting those battles did to him. The nightmares never stopped.
At Letey, breakneck ridge, they fought during a typhoon tied into the side of a bank. After days of fighting there was 300 infantrymen killed, only 300 of the 21st infantry survived. They were killec 1700 japanese Even the comanders of Japanese soldiers were inpressed with 21st infantry. Marines also lost many lives. Then on to Luzon.
Ive been researching this for quite some time. Dad had every metal there was to get
Not too proud of them. He said ive been around the world with nothing to show. He said some of the Japanese didnt know what they were fighting for.I know he was a snipper. He climbed a tower, sniped 28 japanese that held 15 of our pows. He said they looked really bad. Some went home some stayed and fought. Many heros are unseen. These wete gallient men. Thanks for ypur posy
Thank you so much for this information. I have tried to get my father’s military records but as you say they were destroyed by fire. I do have a copy of his discharge papers and under battles and campaigns it reads: GO 33 WD 45 Bismarck Archipelago Southern Philippines Liberation Luzon. I found your site by google, just trying to find out any information about my father’s service. Again, Thank you
Darlene – I have only recently discovered my father’s DD214 and his says the same exact thing as your dad’s does: “GO 33 WD 45”. I know almost nothing about his military service because of the bad family dynamics when I was growing up (not his fault) and then he died too young.
If you know anything at all about your dad’s time in the Philippines, especially during the Battle of Luzon, I would be so very grateful to hear about it. My entire family died very young and there’s a hole left. I’m trying to learn anything I can about my family and especially my dad. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to email me. Thank you so much.
Suzanne Ludlum Booth, daughter of Joseph Wesley Ludlum III
GO 33″ refers to General Order 33 (which related to Battle Honors [places in which particular medals may qualify for being awarded]), while “WD 45” stands for War Department 1945 (the year in which the General Order was published). I hope this is of some help, but some information seems to be missing from your quote, which usually translates into information that can telly you the particular battle campaign in which the soldier served.
Thank you very much. I was able to find enough information to be able to order some of his medals and I proudly display them now.
My father fought at Luzon. He was a forward observer. He never talked much about the war. I am so surprised at what you said about Luzon. Thank you so much for the information.
I am now 60 years old and only now starting to research my fathers service. When I attempted research in 2003 I learned protestors in 1972 burned the records, so I stopped looking until now 2017. My father was in artillery, 155 Howitzer. I have a photo, on the back it says, “direct fire Jap cave Luzon.” My father said the Marines found his cannon emplacement and hugged his crew.
Thank you for this information. I’ve just begun to do more research on my paternal grandfather who earned his Purple Heart for wounds sustatined at Luzon in 1945. He was a member of the 1st Division of the 7th Cavalry Regiment and I have old newspaper articles detailing some of the action on Luzon and his role in the capture of a Japanese machine gun nest that his squad then used against the enemy during that battle.
I too wish someone would make a motion picture to preserve for posterity and educate the popluace on what took place in Luzon and Okinawa when all the media attention during that time was directed elsewhere.
I am also now quite motivated to visit this cemetary on Luzon as it’s like my grandfathers brother may be buried there. He was KIA at Luzon.
Bryan M. Mesnard
Grandson of SSgt Durrell N. Mesnard, 1st of the 7th, WWII
Agreed, my father before his passing in 2015, told me stiries of Luzon & Okanawa…& Ie Shima has also been forgotten in military history. For our fathers & grandfathers, we are all to lose the importance of these horrendous battles. Their sacrifice their honor should be remembered. Never forget… It was an honor to serve you in your last days. Bless them all for the unforgotten will remain in our hearts.
They are in black holes for the needless waste of US lives they resulted in… More so on Okinawa – which was perhaps the most poorly led US campaign in WW2.. In both campaigns, there were points reached were further offensive action was pointless given the rewards for it vs. the costs..
On Okinawa, there was plenty of island to the north to serve the USA needs for a base for the coming attack on Japan… They should have let the Japanese rot on the south end of the island… In fact, a defensive line north of the Shuri Line would have most likely have led costly out in the open attacks on a US defensive line out of frustration by the Japanese… Saving 10,000s of American casualties… Air power and naval gunnery would have made any safe movement by the Japanese all but impossible.. I think, it could be argued that by a non offensive stratagem by the US on the south of the island – that the campaign may have ended more quickly in terms of major actions…
One must always add – the Japanese were starving … Their combat effectness would have ended by June regardless…
I had 2 uncles serve in the Pacific one on Iwo… My uncle Lewie may have fought in the Phillipines with 32nd Div… I know, he was wounded earlier in the war serving in the S. Pacific.. So he may not have made it there…
Thank God you have spoken the truth about Luzon. I served in an Army honor guard to memorialize the dead near Santa Barbara, Luzon on Memorial Day, 1947. The shocking loss of life in Luzon is hardly ever mentioned. A scandal for the thousands who were buried there. What a waste! The battles there were useless and the soldiers forgotten. Whenever I hear “Taps” played I cry for those dead over there. Is there still a cemetery located there? Or have the dead been moved to another location? I now live in Australia and at least there is a book written about the Australian role in the war. Is there an American equivalent?
Served at Poro Point, San Fernando after the war.
There are few books about the War on Luzon. I have cited to most of them.
I use my dads name, Vane Thomas as my username. He was a medic with the 20th Infantry while at Luzon. I’m hoping to get more pictures uploaded soon.
My Uncle William C Jordan was part of the 20th in Luzon, he was killed June 18, 1945 by a sniper at Barat Nueva, Viscaya Luzon. He was under Captain Earnest Pope. I wasn’t born yet when he was killed but my parents named me after him. William A Jordan. We don’t have much info except a newspaper cutout. He was buried at Santa Barbera, Luzon. Then his mother requested his remains be moved to Kenton, Ohio. If anyone has any photos It would be appreciated
My dad was in the same area about a week earlier. If you look under Army Documents then scroll down to The Battle for Luzon you will see a series of declassified reports. Declassified Report Chapters 8-9, has a short description of the 20th Infantry operations for Jun 14-30.
If he was born in Michigan in 1921, he enlisted 18 Oct 1940, service number 16012407. If you request his military records, having this would be helpful. Be very patient in receiving a reply. If you want a quicker response, I suggest hiring a researcher.
Thanks, I’ll look those up we do have his service number but have gotten little info. He did enlist in Ohio. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star and have them. But his parents are passed and all his brothers and sister also. I imagine his records were part of the ones that were burned.
William Jordon, I have 2 photos, one of my father, Sgt. Melvin G. Klein 222nd Battalion Battery C Field artillery 155 mm Howitzer. Direct fire on Jap cave and a photo of a cemetery that looks like what you may be looking for. The only writing is on back that reads, “a lot of good men died.” I will attempt to enlarge photo and see if it could be Luzon. The picture is small, no more then 4 inches wide but shows many head stones. I never really looked at it. Or I can transmit it to you and you can check it out. My father had several more photos but I believe they were taken from Guadalcanal and ending in Luzon.
My father was a medic also, battle of Luzon, phillipines and two others listed in his papers.
The thing that sets these amphibious operations conducted in the Pacific theater apart from the Invasion of Normandy is the logistics involved.
For the Invasion of France the allied forces had a secure base in Great Britain. This provided secure bases for tactical and strategic air power. Further more, the English port of Portsmouth was only 150 miles from the landing beaches. Combined with the ingenious improvised port facilities prepared for the landing beaches (only made possible by the limited distance involved) allowed for continuous over the beach logistic once the forces had landed in France.
In the case of Luzon and Okinawa, the distance from Pearl Harbor was around 4000 miles. Even taking in to account possible intermediate bases (i. e. Guam) the distances are still nearly 1500 miles. This required the amphibious force to bring what everything they needed in the form of men, supplies and tactical air support with them. Once the forces were ashore, planning for resupply needed to be planned and prepared for weeks in advance since no safe harbor was available only 150 miles away.
My father, Capt. Harold C. Griffith was in Luzon. He was a dental surgeon, but never was he the type to sit back. I heard the story how he got positioned in the front lines by accident, but held his own. My brother told me dad headed straight for Nagasaki after the bombing. That’s the kind of man he was. As children when we got hurt, his saying was, “you’ll live til you die” I feel kinda sure after these men saw what they saw, that would be something they’d say. I told my children the same, and they are strong, confident, loving people who I feel might be very afraid, but they’d face it like soldiers. Thanks to all who served, gave their lives, and maybe if we keep talking, our men will be represented too. God Bless!
Is there a way to find out where my uncle Joseph F Horan, who was killed in the battle for Luzon on 4/23/45, is buried?
His next of kin should initiate a request for his service record.
I was looking through some older posts and saw yours. Did you ever find where your uncle was buried? I looked at the AMBC website in Manila but didnt find his name so I looked a little more and found this;
This is a link that will help you get started, depending on what information you already have.
Hope this helps.
Danny Thomas son of Vane Thomas
Thank you for your information.
Please allow me to explain that the paternal grandfather
of my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren was Manuel Nunes Perry from Taunton Massachusetts. He was a naturlized citizen from Madeira Island and was drafted. He unfortunatley died at age 42 and we have no records available. He always told me he was involved in the Phillipines Battle of Luzon, I am working on geneology for
the family and appreciate your site. I have notbeen able to find his enlistment records.
Where can I go to get a copy of “Assistant Chief of Staff Report, of the Sixth United States Army, Luzon Campaign, Vol. III”?
I am grateful for all this information. I am trying to find out everything i can about my uncle Russell M Johnson, who died May 7, 1945. Anything would be very appreciated 🙂
I am researching the Battle of Luzon as my father, Robert Osborne, U.S. Army, fought in this battle and was awarded a bronze star. My dad, long gone, never spoke about his war experiences. He was also hitching a ride on the USS Quincy 39 when she was sunk. He saved at least two mens lives after
I would love to hear from anyone else who is searching this battle. Thank-you. Sandra Negus
my uncle technecal seargent eduardo diaz 1st calvary 12th calvary regiment also got a bronze star at the battle of luzon by saving his plattoon
Have you explored this site?
This has the Luzon battle plan.
Here’s another source.
I have this book, handed down by my dad, Vane Thomas. Here it is in pdf format.
There’s other sources on the internet if you search for Battle of Luzon.
I hope this helps your research.
Does Volume III of the “Report of the Luzon Campaign” written by the Sixth United States Army list a breakdown of the 8140 KIA, 29557 WIA, and 157 MIA by the combat divisions that fought in the campaign?
I totally agree with the concern of this forgotten portion of the most significant battle of the pacific. Japans greatest general set up the defenses of the island, as he moved his troops into the mountains. It took several months and many hills to proceed and capture yamashita in bagio. Read about the battle of bench mark and question mark hill. This is a sample of the horrific fighting carried out by the American army. You can also read the account by lt. kennedy who said the rosary everyday of this battle. lt. kennedy later became a prist.
Thank you for your contribution to the site.
Old soldiers may fade away, but they are never forgotten.
One hero of Luzon, who was not given equal recognition as others was PFC Manuel Perez Jr. Manuel is credited with having single-handedly eliminating 11 of 12 Japanese Pillboxes. Eliminating 75 of the enemy, 18 in hand to hand combag. A feat still unparalled.
There were no movies made about his heroics for Americans to witness.
The same did not happen for Army Sgt Jose Lopez who at the Battle of the Buldge, who single-handed killed about 150 German Infantryman or Army Sgt Cleto Rodriquez who killed over 90 Japanese in Manila or PFC Guy Gabaldon who single-handed captured between 1000 and 2000 japanese on Saipan, he also had the highest body count. Though his Capt recomended him for theMedal if Honor he was denied.
Too often heroes get overlooked.
My father (CYO)(name given to him for his dedication to boxing) Tony grew up on the near west of Chicago, with an unsung Hero of the Battle for Luzon. My dad belonged to the Benito Juarez social club along with Manuel Perez Jr. Manny, as he was know in the neighborhood, was a gifted athlete, so agile that he was given the nick name Bullet.
Manny was drafted in 1943, and volunteered for Infantry Parachute training. He was sent to the 11th Airborne Division. Rod Sterling of the Twilight Zone fame also served with the 11th Airborne Div, on Luzon.
Manny’s accomplishment saved the life’s of many of his fellow paratroopers. Manny,is credited with single handed eliminating 11 of 12 enemy pillboxes, (a feat which to this day is unparalleled). Manny’s unit was pinned down up at FT McKinley, and Manny rose to his feat and charged the pillboxes and dispatched the 75 enemy, 18 hand to hand.
Manny should have been given equal recognition as other Medal of Honor recipients were for their fear of valor, which in this case surpassed the ones in question. By ignoring his feats, our country has tarnished the bravery shown on Luzon.
Our youth need to know that Americans posses the hidden valor, to rise above, when the moment calls for it.
Thanks for the info! Really helped for my research! 🙂
Correction, feats of valor, not fear of valor.
What a great story to share. Thank you!
It’s websites like this one that allows us to keep generations to come aware of the unsung heroes from the greatest generation and their sacrifice to keep us a free country.
I already posted about my Dad’s relationship with Donald Rudolph. I certainly hope it was his honor to have known your father, an unbelievable hero, as well.
My father-in-law, Harry Von Einem, served in the Battle of Luzon earning him a Silver Star. He passed away in June of 2012, 7 months after his beloved wife. We were blessed to know him and of his heroic deeds on that day. God bless you all.
My dad Jesse Womack with Army 37th Infantry Division. The outfit was under Admiral Nimitz. I don’t see that in the article, but papa was there from the beginning of the battle.
Thank you for your comments. However, this site is dedicated to the 6th Infantry.
You may find the following sites helpful.
The article talks about the Battle of Luzon. The Sixth “Army” is mentioned of which the 37th Infantry Division, like the 6th Infantry was a part. The article does not even mention the 6th Infantry, but rather, the 6th “Army.” Here is what the article says:
“Ultimately ten U.S. divisions and five independent regiments would see action on Luzon, making it the largest campaign of the Pacific war and involving more troops in any invasion than the United States had used in North Africa, Italy, or southern France.”
Elsewhere in the documents and history of the 6th Infantry Division, as well as after action reports, the 37th Infantry Division is repeatedly mention. No one has been left out. This is simply an article focused on one aspect of the War in the Pacific. It’s an overview of a specific battle.
I lived in Luzon and im surprised to know that there is actually a cemetery used for the dead american soldiers during WW 2…Where is that located formerly?…in my belief, there is one place in Nueva Vizcaya, Aritao where a Shrine was actually erected in honor for the soldiers of both americans and japanese soldiers died there, thats located in “Kirang” and that place is familiar as Kirang Shrine..But a cemetery whom used to bury thousands of american soldiers were indeed not known and its only now that i heard about it here in this forum…
Here is where you can find information about the American National Battle Monument Cemetery near Manila.
Hello, and Greetings to ALL Veterans who served our Country so we can all live here in the USA!
My dad, PFC Patricio Calvo, served in the 775th Tank Battalion in New Guinea, and the LUZON, in 1945. He was wounded, twice…and survived to tell all about it.
My dad told us about the war every day for many, many years as we were growing. From 1960 until his death in 2008, my dad told us over and over the stories of LUZON. I know the story as if I was there with him. He told us how he never received his COMBAT INFANTRY Badge, that he deserved. Historians will tell you that my dad’s unit the 775th Tank Battalion was attached to infantry units like the 32d, 34, and 43d infantry.
My dad told us exactly how it happened, and I can feel the pain, the horrors of war, and the tremendous contributions that so many gave in honor of this country. I also see the clear fresh water of the creeks and rivers in the mountains of Luzon, near Baguio where my dad was wounded in ACTION.
Before my dad died, he always wanted his INFANTRY BADGE, that he never got. He got his 2 purple hearts, and many other ribbons, and badges, but the one he most wanted… never was placed in his honor. My dad was there.
I want to thank all the historians who have placed pictures and actual combat unit history reports on the internet. The pictures don’t lie, and my dad was telling the truth. He was a foot soldier and was wounded in combat.
God Bless all Combat Veterans!
Your dad was involved in a lot of action. The 775th Tank Battalion was attached to many Divisions, the 6th Division being one of them.
In regards to his infantry badge, do you have a copy of his discharge & records? If not, have you contacted National Archives?
If you haven’t seen it, here’s an after action report for the 775th Tank Battalion. Click on the .pdf and you’ll find quite a bit of information.
I’m glad your dad was able to share his legacy with you. There are a lot of us, like mine, that couldnt. Now you are able to pass on and share his history of the Greatest Generation.
why is it what when people talk about these battle they never tell of the largest battleship that ever sailed. the yamato was part of okinawa. but no one ever told of it. the army had set up 5 of its battleships to fight it if the air attacks didnt work. its own sinking was more then canda loss on day its lose over 2000 sailers with only anout 20 left.
Does anyone know my dad, Arthur E STANLEY WHO WAS AT lUZON. my dad passed in 75 and i never knew about the war. please someone get back to me if you knew him.
Does anyone know my father, an army soldier in the Luzon battle? His name is John E. Powers from Ohio.
Why has there not been a movie made about the historical event? It is a shame that so many gave so much and history shows no respect to their efforts.
Thank you, Jeff Powers Swanton, Ohio
Thanks for your post. I wish there were more about this period in history. The only movie that I know of that is about just a glimpse of that battle is the movie called “The Great Raid” about the 6th Army Rangers that liberated the Cabanatuan death camp on Luzon. That movie actually includes film footage at the end that includes the liberate prisoners being brought to freedom while 63rd Infantry regiment soldiers are advancing. Not the biggest Hollywood movie, but well worth watching.
Thank you very much for your response. It’s a shame that other events around the same period in our history seem to overshadow this battle and seem to have kept it from being a bigger part of history. Well, Hollywood is always looking for a reason to make more movies….what’s stopping them here? Thanks, Jeff
I enjoyed this site very much..I served with the 4025th Signal Group on Luzon from D3 of the invasion at Lingayen Gulf, (12 Jan 1945) until the end of the war. I left from Manila at the end of December that year to come home. I served as a S/Sgt in a detachment at Base M, San Fernando (north) and made trips all over Northern Luzon to install and service Teletype units during the campaign. The last duty I had was to serve on the communications team at Baguio for the surrender of all the Jap armed forces in the Philippines. Yamashita and Okochi signed the surrender in the presence of General Wainwright and British General Percival. I have a card issued to all the personnel present at the ceremony. This was a real experience since I had an opportunity to observe the coming and going of all the parties on a very close up basis. At the age of 89 I enjoy seeking and finding sites such as this ..Thank you for sharing.
My dad was also a staff sergeant but was in Company L, 20th infantry. His name was Vallie Nelson. Did you know him?
I would love to be able to talk with you if you have time and get this message.
My father, Clyde Hammersley was an Automatic Rifleman at Luzon. He was in Co. B 127th Combat Infantry 32 Division. We had his discharge paper, but little else. He would not talk to anyone except my brother & that was just before he died of a form of leukemia in 1984. It has taken my sister and I about 5 years to get as much info as we could, always being sent to one agency after another and being very frustrated. We were first told all his records were burned in a fire as mentioned in St. Louis. On his discharge paper under citations & decorations it lists Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon W/1 Bronze Star; Philippine Liberation Ribbon W/1 Bronze Star; Good Conduct Medal; and Victory Medal WW11. Then we found out he had a Sharpshooter medal (only because we found a picture of him in uniform with this medal on his coat plus lapel pins). My dad also told our mother he was sent to Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped. This is not on his discharge paper anywhere. Every place we contacted denied he was there. Finally we got a letter from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and US Strategic Command Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction stating that he WAS in Hiroshima. Then after contacting our Congressman we were sent “Historical report; Blacklist Operation 127 RCT, 7 Sept. 1945 to 30 Nov. 1945″ Occupation of Japan”. It’s a history of securing & defending the Kanoya Airdrome, reconnaissance patrols, confiscation of enemy war materials, etc. We were finally able to get all of his medals he had earned. We are now trying to get his discharge paper changed with the admission that he was in Hiroshima, but we see that is going to be another battle. It has taken us years of rejection & frustration to get what we have and only by being very PERSISTANT. He also contracted malaria in the Philippines and had bouts of it throughout the rest of his life. We he was diagnosed with myelodysplastic leukemia my parents tried to get benefits for service connection to being in Hiroshima and exposed to radiation. They were denied and tried to appeal, but were denied again. I am really glad I came across this website because I am trying to let my son know what his grandfather had done for this country, like so many other men & women. I am putting together a box with all the medals we fought to get, plus I wanted to have a written history of my dad’s involvement in WW11. He was one of the lucky ones that made it out of the war, but he paid a high price in the end dying at age 64 of an illness we believe was related to radiation in Hiroshmia.
i still have the western union telegram to my grandmother stating that my grandfather Dale B. Chowning was injured in the battle of Luzon, he eventually lost his leg as a result of his injury. I cut my baby teeth on his wooden leg . I didn’t know much about the battle but am glad I looked it up . Thank you
The location of the largest american cemetery outside the united states is in the philipppines at fort bonifacio, metro manila
The liberation of the philippines has far more significance in world war 2 because, not only one of the largest land battle fought by the american soldiers (In Luzon) but also the greatest naval battle in history (Battle of Leyte Gulf)
My grandpa Phinneys was with the 11th airborne and helped fight this battle. I also would like to see more recognition for our boys who so willingly gave their lives there. My grandpa made it out alive and that made it possible for me to be here and to be privy of the storie
How to I find information about my dad who was stationed in Luzon. He was in a tank battalion, do not know the number. His name was Arvel Edward Wise, born in Hardin County, KY. I remember mom talking about him being at Fort Polk in LA. My mom lived in New Iberia, LA when she met my dad. The service men came to her town on days off. I would really like information about my dad’s time in Luzon to put with my genealogy information. Can anyone offer help? Thanks
Tank battalions were attached to different fighting units as needed. Your dad’s serial number was 35700262. You can get a copy of available records here; But you need to have patience. It will take a long time for them to respond.
Sorry.. the link didnt post
My father just passed away he left me my great uncle papers of all his medals we donated his medals to Ww2 museum in New Orleans LA his name was Winfield Cosgrove Jr his nickname Skipper he was a medic in the army . In the papers it says they were shipping his remains to New Orleans he was KIA in Luzon I think in 1945 wasn’t returned to us till 1948 it says he was in 3rd infantry but nowhere can I find out about it your site has giving me so much , I too wish they would make a movie about the battle of Luzon my dad would make me watch and read everything on History . Any info would be great Thank you Odessa
There is a writer that monitors this site and others of the 6th ID, looking for stories. I’ve contacted him with the little info I have on my dad. Sometimes books become movies. One can only hope this will happen.
I have been disappointed with how little narrative history there is on the battle for Northern Luzon relative to other aspects of the war in the Pacific. My father, Laird Wilcox, Jr., 37th Infantry Division, 129th Infantry Regiment, was wounded on 7 June 1945 during the drive up the Cagayan Valley. He had participated in the liberation of Baguio prior to that.
He had arrived in the Pacific area as part of an influx of replacement troops from the U.S. in January 1945. After spending a couple of weeks in Leyte his group was sent to Manila. After being shifted back and forth between Manila and Linguyan Gulf he was assigned to the 37th Division, 129th Regiment, Company I. His total time in combat until he was wounded at Bayombong was about 10 weeks. He would have been among the last few hundred U.S. casualties of WWII.
Very little has been written about the battle for Luzon after the fall of Manila, although the bettle continued for a couple of months. What little I have found is in division and regiment histories and is cursory and bried. If anyone has any suggestions I would appreciate hearing from them.
My father in law, Roland Koch was in Cannon.Co. 1st infantry, 6th division. He would like to know if there is anyone left in his company he could talk to. Thank you.
The reason barely anyone has heard of battles like Luzon (or knows much about the Philippines Campaign in general) is in part due to to the emphasis put on the European Theater and because it was an Army battle.
In the Pacific, the Marines were the glory boys, from Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima to Okinawa. The USMC are as good at propaganda as they are at fighting battles. A lot of Americans genuinely believe the Pacific was the Marines theater, while Europe was the Army’s, and the USMC in part markets their image around that, but the reality is 80% of US ground troops in the Pacific Theater of Operations were Army soldiers who fought every bit as bravely as the Marines. The Army through its sheer size conducted far more amphibious assaults in WWII than the Marines and were a major but overlooked part in most USMC island battles such as Peleliu and Saipan, most of the American ground troops in Okinawa were soldiers.
It’s such a shame that the modern U.S. Army doesn’t take as much pride in its history and heritage as the Marine Corps takes in theirs.
My father, Vallie E Nelson 37 048 103, received a Bronze star for his participation in the Luzon campaign. I am interested in finding out more information about HIS company. But I’m a little unsure of how to proceed. He was a staff sergeant in Company L 20th infantry. If you know anything about ways to look up his unit, commanding officers, etc. I would appreciate it.
Thank you Mr. Price. This has been cery informative and I both agree and enjoyed reading your opinions on our Government’s oversight. My grandfather was among those lost on Luzon. He was Army and died April 18, 1945. I am not sure his records survived but have asked my father to request them for me.
Thanks for all the info here, looking for any info on my uncle, Alvin Bargen, served in the 6th, 1st regiment. I did not get to know him as he died in 1950 while in the Navy.He did tell my Dad a story though,I would like to know if its true. He said that before ‘MacArthur’ waded ashore for his great picture, that his and other units were pulled back from their hard fought ground, to defend the area around the General’s landing. Then they had to re-take all the land a 2nd time because of this. He told my Dad, ‘You would not believe how many men we lost just so ‘MacArthur’ could wade ashore! I would like to know if this is true and is this why so many infrantry soldiers hated McArthur. Any other infor on the 1st reg, 6th infantry div would be appreciated. Alvin was not the same guy as when he left for the service and reading this, I can see why. He took out 2 jap machine gun nests and was awarded the bronze star w/valor.
I do not know if the story is true or not, but the direct experience of soldiers in battle is often far different from that written by historians.
My father was in Company D., 1759 Engineer Special Shop Batallion during WWll. He never talked about what he did.
If anyone knows anything it whould be gratefully appreciate.
I can’t find where the 1759th Engineer Special Shop was attached to the 6th Infantry Division.
I did find this link. Hopefully you will be able to contact them for further information. If not, I suggest hiring a researcher. I eventually did in order to get more details in the search for my father.
Hi, I previously emailed you but had no reply. I need some 6th Infantry unit maps that go with a document for my research and also when hiking on Mt Mataba battle sites, Luzon, PH. My email:
Hi, I have read a great deal on the 6th Infantry fighting on Mt Mataba in the Philippines. I have hiked the area and seen old Japanese tunnels. However much is overgrown and a huge rubbish dump covers a vast area. I contacted you before on a Mr McKee who died in the area, a truck driver told me, his mum knew of the soldier’s death. That aside, I need detailed unit maps. For example…
The squad leader informed the company commander that Knob 2 appeared to be alive with Japs. True, he had only seen a few but the entire knob appeared to be erupting with rifle fire. Further, he had observed one machine gun on Ridge T firing flanking fire on Point V and another machine gun appeared to be located in the center of Knob 2.
Where are the pints in the narrative? See the typed up documents on the link here:
Hope you can help as any maps will make the research a lot easier regarding orientation of the terrain. Thanks, Nick.
Nick: The information that we have is on the website. I do not know what you are referring to by the word “pints.”
It was a large battle, but of essentially no strategic impact on the course of the war. In strategic terms, it pales in comparison to actions involving fewer troops in the Mariannas or at Iwo Jima, which allowed the sustained B-29 bombing campaign and the two nuclear strikes. The submarine campaign against Japanese shipping, particularly oil tankers, also played a significant strategic role. Even the Leyte Gulf naval battles had minimal strategic impact after the destruction of IJN carrier flight crews at the battle of the Philippine Sea (part of the Saipan campaign). Pretty much everything that occurred in the Philippines in 1944-5 amounted to little more than a sop to Douglas MacArthur’s ego- something that may not have been deemed necessary had ne not completely botched the defense of the islands in 1941-2.
Interesting conclusion, but I must disagree. Hindsight is often 20-20 or it can also be a warped view of the past. At the time of the Pacific War, and even toward the end, the expectation was that Japan would have to be invaded before it would surrender. It was not fully anticipated or expected that the atomic bomb program would work, or that it would cause Japan to surrender. Next, as I have pointed out, only Okinawa resulted in more dead Americans. The gradual encirclement of Japan was necessary to prepare for the invasion to follow. In fact, the entire 6th Infantry Division was slated to be in the third wave for the Invasion of the Main Island of Japan. Those troops had to have a staging area and potential counterattacks from Japanese forces had to be neutralized. Towards the end of the war, those troops were gearing up for invasion of Honshu when they were told Japan had surrendered. I am certain that the defeat of the forces of Japan in the Philippines, and their defeat in New Guinea that preceded it, had an important impact on Japan’s decision to surrender. Respectfully, I think you are drawing a conclusion that is not supported by the facts. And as for MacArthur own forces on Hawaii, the British in Singapore, and MacArthur in the Philippines were all unprepared for what Imperial Japan unleashed at the onset of the War. Also, most of the dead in the Pacific were US Army soldiers. The previous writer (to whom you responded) pointed out the difficult logistics of the invasion of Luzon. That accomplished, it was part of the staging ground for what was expected to follow. Therefore, it was of strategic importance. I disagree.
My father was Melvin Levi Gulley, he was a Radio Operator in the service, Army. He was wounded in Luzon 17 April 1945. I’m looking for information on him, pictures also. I do not have any military pictures of him at all. Dad was born and raised in Illinois, he served from 20 Aug. 1942 till 12 Nov. 1945. Please if anyone knows him or knows someone who had, please get in touch. I have a grandson that joined the Army and wants to learn about his great grandfathers life during the war. He did not talk much about it around me. He passed away in 1970 at the age of 48, of a heart attack, I was only 16 at the time. I hope someone can help.
Dear Ms. Gulley:
Thank you for reaching out about your father’s Army service history. Do you know whether or not your father was with the 6th Infantry Division and with which regiment or unit as well as company? That information would help tremendously in determining how to direct your research efforts. Also, do you have his service record, or if not, have you made a formal request for his service record using Standard form 180? Here is the link to find the form: https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/standard-form-180.html . Often we do receive questions like yours, and we try our best to direct folks on how best to go about finding the information. Service records that provide more specific information are only released to the veteran or their next of kin. We do not have such records unless someone has been generous enough to share that information with us. Once you have his service record (DD-214 or discharge papers), and we know more about where he served, we might be able to give you some insight into how and where to look to find more information and/or specifics about his experiences during the War.
Meanwhile, thank you for your contact and good luck with your search and please let us know what you might find.
Can anyone tell me how to find more information about the 607th Tank Destroyer Battalion of the U.S. Army? They fought at Iwo Jima and Luzon. My father, Paul John Heinlin, was a gunner in this battalion. They were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. Many in his battalion died. My father and those that survived were sent to Hawaii for R&R after these battles. My dad was drafted while a senior in high school in Toledo, OH. It was in Feb. of 1943 or ’44. He trained at Camp Attebury.
Whenever I try to research about these battles, I can never find information about my dad’s battalion. The Army’s contribution is never mentioned; only the Marines and occasionally the Navy receive credit for these battles in the Pacific.
I would suggest contacting the National Military History Institute in Pennsylvania.
Facebook has a page.
My father was a medic in four battles in New Guinea, Philippines and Luzon. He never fully recovered from what he saw. We have pictures of him and his buddies. His awards are listed on his discharge papers