and orders – captured in the field
Through captured documents, we
are able to know the Manila Naval Defense Force organization and strength.
Four naval battalions of various strengths defended the Central Manila
area, under the direct command of Adm. Iwabuchi. The Headquarters and
Headquarters Battalion was based at the Agriculture and Commerce Building
(now the Department of Tourism building). Attached to the Headquarters
Battalion were four miscellaneous units, a rocket gun unit, Infantry Gun
Unit, Antiaircraft defense company and a demolitions company. The 1st
Battalion, composed of two companies, a mortar company and two attached
units, commanded by Lt. Tsuneki Shimizu, was assigned to the Tachibana
Sector – the Paco and Pandacan area. The 2nd
Battalion, composed of three companies, a mortar company and three
smaller units, was under the command of Lt. Hiroshi Inemasa and patrolled
and defended the Kusonoki Sector – the Japanese code for the Ermita,
Malate and Pasay area. The 5th Battalion, under Lt. Susumu Kinoshita,
operated directly under Adm. Iwabuchi.
The area north of Luneta –
including Intramuros and Sta. Cruz across the Pasig – was assigned to the
Army’s Northern Force, two battalions of provisional infantry troops
(mostly locally recruited in October 1944) and Army shipping units, all
under Col. Katsuzo Noguchi. It was this unit that set fire to the Escolta
and Binondo areas as part of a scorched earth policy. Engineers attached
to Noguchi’s force systematically blew up Quezon, Sta. Cruz, Ayala and
Jones Bridge upon orders from Adm. Iwabuchi. (The Army shipping units
were, according to a prisoner of war, considered nuisance units since they
had virtually no fighting ability; however, a diary from one of its
members reveals that these men were responsible in part for the killings
Samples of the orders captured:
The Manila Naval Defense Force
was placed under the operational jurisdiction of the Shimbu in the
mountains east of Manila. The Shimbu Group was commanded by Lt. Gen.
Shizuo Yokoyama in Montalban. Although Iwabuchi and his naval forces have
been blamed for the atrocities in Manila, note that this order comes from
a high echelon.
concerning Combat by Shimbu Group in Manila and vicinity
Shimbu Group Headquarters
16 January 1945,
engagement which will shortly take place in Manila and vicinity is a great
battle which will be watched by the whole world and will decide the future
development of the Imperial Army.
officers and men who participate in it must deeply feel its importance
and, profoundly moved by the gloriousness of the struggle, must devote
their whole being to the destruction of the American enemy By so doing
they must revenge their countless comrades in arms who have perished since
Guadalcanal, and must block the hated enemy’s plans for a northward
to accomplish the above objectives, they must observe the following
kill or wound as many of the enemy as possible.
accomplish the important mission which has been entrusted to the Shimbu
Group, at least three of the enemy must be killed by every officer and
personnel without distinction of front-line forces and rear forces even
the wounded and laborers – must join to accomplish our mission. There must
be no hesitation or any other desire. All must expect certain success.
principle of surprise attack must be thoroughly inculcated. To take the
enemy by surprise is the source of certain victory. Fronts where the enemy
is prepared must be avoided, and sudden attacks against his rear must de
Necessity of stubbornness:
must stubbornly exhaust all means of attack and must not be disheartened
though we fail once or twice. We must believe in the power of the gods
until the very end.
Stubborn defense of our positions and bold infiltrate must be cleverly
devised and out into action.
5. Always keep cool.
6. All personnel must bravely carry out infiltration, whatever the
size of the force, infiltration units of five men, one team, three teams,
or a section must be speedily organized, and will train during their
7. The principle of “one shot, one enemy” must be emphasized and
military supplies must be used as sparingly as possible.
8. We must be completely protected against enemy planes. However in
the case of planes attacking at very low altitude, we must shoot them down
9. Leisure before and amid combat must be utilized to best
advantage by training.
10. We must strike the enemy in complete cooperation with one
11. We must enthusiastically undertake our duties, which transcend
the question of life or death.
Force was an army unit, stationed north of Luneta.
Force Combat Regulations
23 January 1945.
No. 11 of 20 copies.
The Northern Force will do the utmost in reconnoitering the
situation of the enemy and guerillas, and also will firmly occupy the
various key points and will take perfect counter-measures against furious
enemy air and artillery bombardments, thus preventing the consumptions of
fighting strength prior to the commencement of the ground combat.
In case of attack by enemy ground forces, the Northern Force will
destroy the enemy’s fighting strength by repeating persistently and
actively by the use of close combat, suicidal assault, and infiltration by
aggressive and courageous personnel in large or small groups. Furthermore,
the Northern Force in cooperation with other units will annihilate the
enemy by means of a strong defense of the city. Even when the situation of
the force becomes hopeless, the Northern Force will continue to fight to
the last man by forcing a secondary defense line along the various key
points south of Pasig River Sector after demolishing the four large
bridges over the Pasig River. Thus, the Northern Force will die for the
sake of everlasting righteousness, displaying the spirit of the Imperial
Army and doing its best to accomplish the mission of Manila Defense.
Naval Defense Force Operations Order No. 43
3 February 1945
South, Central and North Forces must destroy the factories, warehouses,
and other installations and material being used by Naval and Army forces,
insofar as the combat and combat preparations of naval forces in MANILA
and Army forces in their vicinity will not be hindered thereby.
demolition of such installations within the city limits will be carried
out secretly for the time being so that such actions will not disturb the
tranquility of the civil population nor be used by the enemy for
counter-propaganda. Neither large-scale demolition nor burning by
incendiaries will be committed.
special order will be issued concerning the demolition of the water system
and the electrical installation.
large a quantity as possible of aviation gasoline and bombs will be
transported from the storage areas in the suburbs to suitable places
within the city and to the vicinity of various key points, and will be
made use of as weapons of attack or as material for the production of
Combined Transport Unit Comdr will quickly carry out the transportation of
the above with the transport facilities at his disposal. Al units will
quickly transport truck fuel (or aviation fuel) (about 6 months’ to one
years’ supply for their own units) from the Quezon Sector Army Air Depot
dumps to suitable places within the city. Thereafter each unit will store
and use it.
Naval Defense Force Operations Order No. 44
The North and South Forces will immediately destroy all bridges in the
suburbs with the exceptions of Novaliches Bridge, (The Kobayashi Group
will be responsible for the Marikina and
Pasig Bridges), San Juan Bridge and the five large bridges
over the Pasig River.
As to the
demolition of the above-mentioned bridges and of various small bridges in
the vicinity of the principal zone of city, special orders will be given.
However, the time of demolition will be about the same as that for the
demolition of the four large bridges.
demolition must be done completely and thoroughly. In order to prevent the
guerillas from action to construct bridges, and to prevent speedy
transmission of intelligence and passage across, several guard personnel
will be posted at the completely demolished principal bridges.
unit will quickly report as soon as the principle bridges are destroyed.
Naval Defense Force Operations Order No 46
4 February 1945
North Force Unit Commander will quickly demolish the Quezon Bridge and the
Ayala Bridge after taking proper measures so as not to harm friendly
troops in the vicinity.
The Kobayashi Force comprised the Army’s Manila Defense Force, now
stationed east of Manila, in support of the Manila Naval Defense Force.
Some of its personnel were in Manila.
13 February 1945
The Americans who have penetrated into Manila have about 1,000 Army
troops, and there are several thousand Filipino guerillas. Even women and
children have become guerillas.
All people on the battlefield with the exception of Japanese military
personnel, Japanese civilians, and Special Construction Units
(Ganaps in the Filipino language)
will be put to death. Houses ____ (the
document is incomplete – either torn or burned)
Just outside Manila, units such as the Army’s
149th Airfield Battalion received orders such as these:
Concerning the Attack in the Marikina Area by the
of Combat Instructions.
The Battalion will strictly conceal its
plans, and, after annihilating guerillas in front of the positions
occupied by the Sector Unit with one blow by night attack, will
successively burn the native villages in front of the positions.
Simultaneously, it will deploy a portion of its strength of the security
forces on the plateau west of Santa Elena.
“burning squads” will complete all necessary preparations and will burn
all main buildings beginning at 0400 day after tomorrow, the 24th. They
will assemble at the No 4 position not later than 0600.
Defense Force Central Force Operations Order No.
15 February 1945
1. The city has fallen into hand-to-hand fighting since this morning and 5
tanks and 9 armored cars are appearing and disappearing at very turn.
2. This unit will make preparations for an all-out suicide attack
to annihilate the enemy to our front. On the night of the 15th each unit
will carry out as many daring suicide attacks on the enemy to our front as
possible. Although the time of the all-out suicide attack will be
indicated in a separate order, preparations will be completed beforehand.
In addition to annihilating the enemy to the front, the suicide unit will
plan to wipe out the enemy in the Malacañang Palace.
Prior to the all-out suicide attack, wounded will be made to commit
suicide and documents and material will be burnt.
In the all-out suicide attack every man will attack until he achieves a
glorious death. Not even one man must become a prisoner. During the attack
friends of the wounded will make them commit suicide.
suicide (Nikko) Sec will be at the head of the attack and will destroy the
Personnel will be lightly garbed in the attack and carry as much ammo as
possible. Personal belongings and unnecessary articles will be burnt.
Naval Defense Force
Battalion Order 1200
[undated, but after February 15]
1. The first battalion, because of enemy mortar
fire, is defending Paco Station in a bitter fight to the last man.
. . .
4 .If the enemy infiltrates, be
careful not to lose the opportunity of demolishing and burning buildings.
5 .When Filipinos are to be killed,
they must be gathered into one place and disposed of with the
consideration that ammunition and manpower must not be used to excess.
Because the disposal of dead bodies is a troublesome task, they should be
gathered into houses which are scheduled to be burned or demolished. They
should also be thrown into the river.
orders show that command and control was still being exercised by Iwabuchi
and his subordinate commanders, and that the various companies were not
Captured diaries indicate that
morale of some of the men was high until the end. Since February 11 was an
important day in Japan (Empire Day – commemorating the arrival of Jimmu
Tenno in Japan), many of the Japanese defenders saw it as an auspicious
time to expect a counterattack by friendly troops of air forces. The fact
that no Japanese planes were seen was a disappointment. Other diaries
documented the formation of suicide squads, attacks on Paco Station and
– Unidintified Japanese Naval Person, Manila
Feb 45 - After dark rifle fire is heard. It can be estimated that the
strength of the enemy’s motorized unit is approximately three battalions.
All personnel will man their posts. Combat rations distributed at night.
4 Feb 45 - The rifle fire is
getting closer and closer. Howitzer shells fall near; there is great
danger. Took cover. The reports are bad. Combat rations distributed.
5 Feb 45 – Consolidated, North
American and Lockheed planes attack incessantly. Our ground artillery fire
becomes intense. Flames are leaping up from within Manila and it is like a
bloody spectacle during a storm.
6 Feb 45
- In the morning an observation plane made its appearance but due
to fire from our Machine Gun Unit, it crashed. During the afternoon, a
North American started its dive right overhead. There was a terrific rain
of shells. The plane appeared to have crashed near Nichols.
7 Feb 45 - The howitzer fire of
our forces and that of the enemy becomes intense we hear that there are
many wounded and killed.
8 Feb 45 - All men are ready to
take up arms. Artillery smoke and shells rain fiercely. Black smoke curls
up. The water main is unusable; a well is dug.
9 Feb 45 - “No water”, we
cannot use the water from the water main. Quenched my thirst with muddy
water. The enemy motorized unit approaches --We
will withdraw to the Headquarters. Two men will remain for
- At midnight, the two men left behind also were forced to withdraw
due to the unceasing fierce rain of shells.
10 Feb 45 - According to
Headquarters we will carry out at least a desperate stand. Part of the
enemy tank unit was driven back. Several dozen enemy
planes attacked. The battle is becoming fiercer and fiercer.
11 Feb 45 - Empire Day. Since
today in Empire Day we can count on a general attack carried out by our
troops. Several dozen enemy planes attacked. Fierce fighting as being
waged everywhere. Our telephone lines have been severed in several places.
The falling of shells becomes more incessant.
12 Feb 45 - It is said that the
main strength of our Army Forces is to the rear of the enemy and is
preparing for a general attack.
Battalion Order cancelled.
13 Feb 45 - The enemy
approaches closer and closer; concurrently, we cannot cope with the
enemy’s concentrated fire. Positions and houses are either destroyed or
It is estimated that the enemy
is using about three Divisions composed of Americans, Australians, and
Artillery shells made several
direct hits on the Headquarters. The confused fighting is spreading. We
are being encircled by the enemy.
14 Feb 45 - According to
reports our troops to the rear are said to be preparing for a general
attack. It seems that we may have support from our planes. It is a pitiful
state of affairs, for men are continually being wounded and killed.
15 Feb 45 - Friendly planes
cannot be used. Tanks approach, it becomes a fierce fight. We have many
disadvantages. Five men from this Machine Gun Unit went to relieve another
unit but one man was wounded and 1st CI Seaman Nakagoshi was killed in
action. About 2000 [hours] we buried him.
16 Feb 45 - One Martin shot
down. One heavy tank is seen … the enemy comes fighting vigorously and
bravely using superior weapons. The automatic rifle is one of them. The
reports and smoke of artillery fire are incessant, and the sight is
17 Feb 45 - Martin type enemy
planes again appeared. Due to our machinegun fire they hurriedly flew
The 1st tank unit departed. There may be support from our
troops in the rear. All our comrades in arms have sworn to die.
18 Feb 45
- ____________(TN: No entry)
[Note: the only aircraft flying in
Manila at this time were artillery spotter planes; how the diarist could
identify the planes is unknown]
Probationary Officer Baba
Feb - At 3d Shipping Headquarters. [Intramuros]
0130 – 2d Lt Ainouchi came from Detachment Headquarters and
requested me to emplace one field gun; we decided to put the Observation
Post on top of the building and emplaced the gun on the third floor.
0500 – 2d Lt
Ainouchi and army personnel came from Detachment Headquarters and by using
Chinese coolies carried the gun up to the second floor. Later, the Platoon
Leader and 6 men came to help and, with their cooperation, we carried the
gun up to the Northeast corner of the third floor. Finished about 0700.
0830 - Commenced
firing. Target – Santo Tomas University. The aiming point is the uppermost
right stone pillar on the Taiwan Transport Corporation Building. Distance
– 3400 [Possibly meters].
2d Lt AINOUCHI and I went up to the Observation Post. Commenced firing.
First round burst 5 mils to the left of the building. Aimed to the right
and fired two rounds. They hit to the right and at the base of the
building. White smoke is seen. Thereafter we fired fifty to sixty rounds
continuously; fell in the vicinity of the target. I believe that the
mission has been accomplished. [Note 3.4 km from UST places this in
the port area – maybe the Customs building]
1000 – Until 1000 the enemy did
not fire. An enemy plane is flying over and appears that it is making an
observation of our
at times it strafes.
About this time one enemy shell landed on the
center of this tower, and shrapnel fell. Approximately one minute
thereafter 2 more rounds landed. Our forces continued their fire.
Ten minutes after the first round, four rounds in succession fell
(It appears that it is a Battery of 4 guns, and its position may be in the
vicinity of San Lazaro Race Track, just as it was yesterday.)
Four more rounds followed and hit the pillar. One of these fell in the
vicinity of our
Before the first enemy round landed, I encouraged the gunners, asked them
to oil the muzzle of the gun, and went down to my quarters.
Rounds expended – 52
Firing time –
0830 to 1015
Target – Santo Tomas
member 9th Shipping Engineer Regiment, Japanese Army
[unit disposition places this in
7 Feb 45 - 150 guerrillas were disposed of tonight. I personally stabbed
and killed 10.
Feb 45 - Guarded over 1,164 guerrillas who were newly brought in today.
9 Feb 45 - Burned 1000
guerrillas to death tonight. [most
probably Fort Santiago]
Feb 45 - Enemy tanks are lurking in the vicinity of Banzai Bridge [Jones
Bridge]. Our attack preparation has been completed. I am now on guard duty
at Guerrilla Internment Camp. [Fort Santiago?]
While I was on duty, approximately 10 guerrillas tried to escape. They
were stabbed to death. At 1600 [hours]
all guerrillas were burned to death.
Diary of Lt Hoichiro Miyazawa, Japanese Navy
[Admiral Iwabuchi told his men,
after three days of US bombardment:] “If we run out of bullets we will use
grenades; if we run out of grenades, we will cut down the enemy with
swords; if we break our swords, we will kill them by sinking our teeth
deep in their throats.”
[Later, Admiral Iwabuchi called
survivors of the Manila Naval Defense Force to his headquarters at the
Agriculture Building– he apologized for placing them in the dismal
situation they were in. He said] “If anyone has the courage to escape,
please do so. If not, please take your lives here.” [He then went to his
own room and committed suicide. ]