Documents 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 in Intramuros).


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.


Directions concerning Combat by Shimbu Group in Manila and vicinity

             Shimbu Group Headquarters
16 January 1945,

The 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.

The 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 advance.


In order to accomplish the above objectives, they must observe the following principles.


1. Combat objectives:

To kill or wound as many of the enemy as possible.

To 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 man.


All 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.


2. Combat methods:

The 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 divided.


3. Necessity of stubbornness:

We 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.


4. 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 leisure.


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 by sharpshooting.


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 another.


11. We must enthusiastically undertake our duties, which transcend the question of life or death.



The Noguchi Force was an army unit, stationed north of Luneta.


Noguchi Force Combat Regulations
23 January 1945.

No. 11 of 20 copies.

 1. PLAN

            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.



Manila Naval Defense Force Operations Order No. 43
3 February 1945

1. The 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.

2. The 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.

3. A special order will be issued concerning the demolition of the water system and the electrical installation.

4. As 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 weapons.

The 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.



Manila Naval Defense Force Operations Order No. 44
3 February

1. 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.

2. The 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.

3. Each unit will quickly report as soon as the principle bridges are destroyed.



Manila Naval Defense Force Operations Order No 46
4 February 1945

The 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.

Kobayashi Group Order
13 February 1945

1. 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.

2. 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:

Annex to Operation Order
Concerning the Attack in the Marikina Area by the Battalion

Essentials of Combat Instructions.

 1. Aim

    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.

The “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.



Manila Naval Defense Force Central Force Operations Order No.  4
Ultra Secret
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.

a. In addition to annihilating the enemy to the front, the suicide unit will plan to wipe out the enemy in the Malacañang Palace.

b. Prior to the all-out suicide attack, wounded will be made to commit suicide and documents and material will be burnt.

c. 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.

d. The suicide (Nikko) Sec will be at the head of the attack and will destroy the enemy tanks.

e. Personnel will be lightly garbed in the attack and carry as much ammo as possible. Personal belongings and unnecessary articles will be burnt.



Manila 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.


 These orders show that command and control was still being exercised by Iwabuchi and his subordinate commanders, and that the various companies were not running amuck.




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 other operations.


Diary – Unidintified Japanese Naval Person, Manila

3 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 observation.                   - 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 burnt.

It is estimated that the enemy is using about three Divisions composed of Americans, Australians, and Filipinos.                    

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 indescribable.

17 Feb 45 - Martin type enemy planes again appeared. Due to our machinegun fire they hurriedly flew away.

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]



Diary by Probationary Officer Baba


10 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  positions; 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  position. 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 University.



Diary of member 9th Shipping Engineer Regiment, Japanese Army
[unit disposition places this in Intramuros]

7 Feb 45 - 150 guerrillas were disposed of tonight. I personally stabbed and killed 10.

8 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]

13 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.



From the 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. ]