heavily defended positions consisting of numerous mine fields covered by intense machine-gun, mortar, artillery, rifle and rocket fire. The 2d Battalion of the 129th, which was echeloned to the right rear, moved into a positian on the right (North) of the 1st Battalion and sent a detail of 15 men to the Eastern tip of PROVISOR ISLAND. This detail was cut off by enemy machine-gun and rifle fire, and one assault boat was sunk in crossing. Under cover of darkness on 9-10 February, 90 men of Company E crossed the estuary under heavy machine-gun fire and reinforced the 15 men from Company G. The reinforced group entered the Eastern end of a long building and fought throughout the-night in bitter hand to hand combat which lasted until dawn. The group then pushed on to the Western tip of the island and by 1300 the entire island was secured. On the 9th of February, the 148th Infantry attacked in conjunction with the 129th Infantry. Intense enemy opposition was met at every street corner and particularly at the PACO Railroad station. At 1515 10 February, contact was made with elements of the 1st Cavalry Division in the demolished structure. At 1800 10 February, the troops of the 37th Division South of the PASIG were disposed along the line: Eastern end of PROVISOR ISLAND, South along Estero de Tonque to a point 100 yards South of Isaac Peral, then to PACO Railroad station and along the Estero de Paco to the Southeast. The units were disposed as follows from North to South along the line: 2d Battalian 129th Infantry; 1st Battalion 129th Infantry; 1st Battalion 148th Infantry; 3d Battalion 148th Infantry; 2d Battalion 148th Infantry. The 1st Battalion 145th Infantry was still in Division reserve on the South side of the PASIG RIVER in the vicinity of the river crossing (See Sketch No. 20).

The Cavalry Division meanwhile had moved the 5th Cavalry to Rosaria Heights on the 8th of -February, and the next day the 8th Cavalry moved through the New Manila subdivision and reached the SAN JUAN RIVER in the vicinity of Victoria Street. (See Sketches Na's 19 &20). En route the 8th Cavalry had received persistent enemy fire from automatic weapons, small-arms, 20mm, and 6-inch naval guns. On 9 February the 8th Cavalry at 1800 held a line on the North side of the PASIG running from the confluence of the SAN JAN RIVER with the PASIG to Highway 54 (See Sketch No. 20). At 1930 on the 9th, Troop C 8th Cavalry started across the PASIG, and by 2015 a bridgehead was established against light enemy rifle fire. On the morning of the 10th, Troop A crossed the river followed by Troop B. Troop A pushed on to the PACO Railroad station where it made contact with the 37th Division at 1300. A light pontoon bridge was constructed at the point of crossing and was completed by 1700 on the 10th. The enemy shelled the bridge with artillery believed to be located at FORT McKINLEY, and twice knocked out the structure. While the 8th Cavalry was crossing the PASIG, the 2d Squadron 5th Cavalry had secured the Wack Wack Country Club and the Psychopathic Hospital, and at 1045 on the 10th started crossing the PASIG RIVER in native canoes (See Sketch No.19). By 1530 the 5th Cavalry held a line from MACATI to Nielson Field. Thus at nightfall on the 10th, the 1st Cavalry Division had two squadrons on the South side of the PASIG RIVER on a line running from the PACO Railroad station to Nielson Field, - 1st Squadron of the 8th on the right and 2d Squadron of the 5th on the left. The remainder of the Division continued to protect the Corps East flank with the 1stSquadron of the 5th Cavalry at BALARA FILTERS, CALUMPANG, SAl.'ITOBUN, and ROSARIO; the 2d Squadron of the 8th Cavalry was in rear of the 1st on the South side of the PASIG RIVER; the 7th Cavalry was operating in the vicinity of BALARA FILTERS and NOVALICHES, and the 12th Cavalry moved to MANILAA. The former position of the 12th Cavalry was assumed by the 112th Cavalry Regimental Combat Team which was attached to the 1st Cavalry Division as of 1200 9 February.

From the 11th to the 14th of February inclusive, both the 1st Cavalry and 37th Infantry Divisions pushed to the Southwest and West within MANILA to tighten the ring about the Intramuros and the Port Area. It was still a question where the enemy would make his strongest defense. The desperate house to house fighting on the 37th Division front gave the impression that he would make his strong stand outside the wall of Intramuros and would not attempt to hold the Walled City with great strength. On the other hand, the enemy forces engaged by XIV CORPS troops might be the outpost line to a much stronger defensive position inside the wall. Whichever scheme the enemy employed, it would be necessary to reduce the Walled City. The time for the reduction was a factor to be considered as much as the direction of the attack. If the Intramuros were strongly held, the enemy would resist stubbornly any attack from across the PASIG as well as one against the land perimeter. If, on the other hand, the Intramuros were lightly held, an amphibious landing would offer the greatest chance of success. The decision was therefore reached to continue attacking to the West and Southwest to develop the enemy position about the Intramuros, after which plans would be formulated for the Coup-de-Grace.

The boundary between the 37th Infantry and 1st Cavalry Divisions was set by Corps Field Order No. 6 (7 February) to run from the railroad bridge at the PASIG to the Yacht Club Basin, and between the 1st Cavalry and 11th Airborne Divisions along Libertad Avenue to Nielson Field (Sketch No. 20). In an encircling movement, the 1st Cavalry Division within its zone of action moved rapidly on its left (South) flank with the 5th Cavalry, while the 8th on the right (North) flank met increasingly heavy resistance as it moved to the Southwest. On the 11th of February, the 2d Squadron 5th Cavalry was across the PASIG; by morning of the 12th it had occupied Nielson Field, and by afternoon had reached Manila Bay. The 1st Squadron 5th Cavalry did not cross the PASIG until the 11th, and moving on the South (left) flank of the 2d Squadron passed on through Nielsom Field to the Polo Club, where it made contact with the 11th Airborne Division. After the corridor to the Bay had been opened the zone along the Bay from the 11th Airborne Division to the 8th Cavalry Regiment was turned over to the 2d Squadron, 5th Cavalry, while the 1st Squadron directed its attention to the East with particular attention to FORT McKINLEY, where it remained until 17 February when it was relieved by the 2d Squadron, 12th Cavalry. The latter squadron continued to place mortar and artillery fire on FORT McKINLEY until 1030 19 February when the fort was secured. Evidently the enemy, after harassing our flank and rear from positions within the fort, had withdrawn. Only 2 Japanese were killed and 50 were found dead by troops making the entrance. ( For general plan of operation, see sketch No. 21).

Meanwhile in the zone of the lst Squadron 8th Cavalry, the progress had been neither rapid nor easy. At 1815 11 February on the shore of the Bay contact had been made between a motorized patrol of the 11th Airborne Division and the 8th Cavalry, however, in the rapid advance the 8th Cavalry had bypassed pockets of enemy which had to be cleaned out on the 12th. At 1630 12 February, the 1st Squadron 8th Cavalry moved out of the line and was replaced by the 12th Cavalry. The 12th Cavalry put the 2d Squadron on the South with its left flank on the Bay, and the 1st Squadron on the right of the 2d Squadron. Thus, the 1st Squadron pushing towards the West and the 2d Squadron to the North continued to compress the enemy within the regimental zone. The 2d Squadron, South of Vito Cruz Street, came under enemy artillery fire from guns emplaced at Harrison Park. Here the Squadron remained until 14 February, when it was relieved by the 2d Squadron of the 5th Cavalry. The 1st Squadron of the 12th Cavalry had met resistance at the Scholastica College between Taft and Singalong Streets. The enemy was by-passed, and Malate Circle was seized during the night of 13-14 February. Early on the morning of the 14th, Japanese infiltrated the perimeter the perimeter from positions at the College. At sunrise the 1st Squadron returned to the campus and by 1530 had reduced the enemy pocket. The line of the 12th Cavalry at 1800 on the 14th of February is shown on Sketch No. 20. At that hour the 2d Squadron of the 5th Cavalry was replacing the 2d Squadron of the 12th.

From the 11th to the 14th of February, elements of the 37th Infantry Division continued to push to the west in conjunction with the advance of units of the 1st Cavalry Division. While elements of the 2d Battalion 129th Infantry .were clearing enemy from PROVISOR ISLAND on 11 February, the 1st Battalion 129th Infantry, 1st Battalion 148th Infantry, and the 3d Battalion 148th, in order from North to South, attacked Westward. By 1800 11 February the 1st Battalion 129th Infantry held the intersection of  Camillas and Isaac Peral Streets; the 1st Battalion 148th Infantry had proceeded to Perez Street where at the circular cemetery three enemy guns of at least 3-inch caliber opposed them. The 3d Battalion had secured positions along Singalong Street. On the 12th of February, the 2d Battalion 129th Infantry on the North flank succeeded in crossing the Marque de Camillas in the face of moderate machine-gun and rifle fire after friendly artillery had neutralized the enemy emplacements. Pushing on to the West on the next day, the 2d Battalion 129th Infantry went along the river bank in the direction of the General Post Office (GPO) to outflank enemy positions at Isaac Peral and Taft Avenue which were retarding the advance of the 1st Battalion. These positions were held by Japanese in buildings South of the Military Hospital and West of the Tobacalera. On the 14th of February, the 3d Battalion 129th Infantry relieved the 1st Battalion in the right part of the regimental zone. In a difficult advance the 3d Battalion continued to move South and West yard by yard along the PASIG RIVER and assisted the 1st Battalion in the reduction of enemy.resistance. The 1st Battalion 129th Infantry on the 14th of February launched an attack supported by tanks and self-propelled 105mm howitzers against strongly fortified buildings at the junction of Isaac Peral and San Marcelino Streets. The advance was stopped by heavy fire from a concrete building on the West side of San Marcelino Street. Tanks and M-7's (self-propelled 105mm howltzers) were brought up to a concrete wall and laid direct fire on the building, but were unable to neutralize the enemy pocket. An assault team of the 1st Battalion, by vigorous action and supported by flame throwers and pole charges, succeeded in penetrating the Eastern end of the building. However, they were withdrawn to the East side of San Marcelino under the cover ot darkness.

While elements of the 129th Infantry were engaging in intense fighting from building to building, the 148th continued to push West with its 1st Battalion on the North and 3d Battalion on the South, with the 2d Battalion securing the left flank in the gap between the 3d Battalion and the 8th Cavalry. At 0800 12 February, following a heavy and accurate artillery preparation, the 3d Battalion, 148th Infantry advanced against only scattered enemy machine-gun and rifle fire to Pennsylvania Avenue where it was met by 40 and 20mm gunfire. The Battalion withdrew to San Marcelino Street to allow artillery to be placed on the position. The 1st Battalion, 148th, had been held up late on 11 February by enemy gunfire from the circular cemetery on Perez Street. During the night of 11-12 February, the Battalion made close-in assaults supported by bazookas, pole charges, and flame throwers. By morning the position had been reduced, and four 40mm guns had been seized. The Battalion continued to the West and met resistance at Herran Street at 1130, when it resumed its attack and pushed on to Kansas Avenue. On the 13th, the 2d Battalion passed through the 1st Battalion and continued pressure against enemy positions covered by machine-gun, 40mm, 20mm, and mortar fire, and arrived at Pennsylvania Avenue by 1800. Also on 13 February the 3d Battalion, which was making the main effort in the regimental zone, reached a line along Taft Avenue and was in contact with the 12th Cavalry on the South. On the 14th, the 148th Infantry with two Battalions in the line, the 2d on the North and the 3d on the South, launched an attack coordinated with the 12th Cavalry. At 0830, on the 14th, the 3d Battalion met heavily defended positions at Malate Circle which it reduced by 1415. By 1800 the Battalion had reached Indiana Avenue, where further advance was halted by heavy and continuous enemy fire from the Philippine General Hospital and the University of the Philippines.

The line held by XIV CORPS troops in South MANILA at 1800 14 February was as follows: Alaya Bridge along Alaya Boulevard to Concepcion, thence Southeast along a line parallel to Taft Avenue, midway between Taft Avenue and Calle San Marcelino to Calle San Luis, thence along Calle San Luis to San Marcelino, thence Southwest along a line running from the intersection of Calle San Luis and San Marcelino Streets, through the Southwest corner of the Campus of the University of the Philippines and Philippine General Hospital to Tennessee Avenue, West along Tennessee to Florida, South on Florida to Remedios, thence generally Southeast around the Rizal Stadium to Taft and Vito Cruz, and along Vito Cruz to the Bay. The troops occupying the line at 141800 from North to South were: 3d Battalion, 129th Infantry; 1st Battalion, 129th Infantry; 2d Battalion, 148th Infantry; 3d Battalion, 148th Infantry; 1st Squadron, 12th Cavalry; 2d Squadron, 12th Cavalry; 2d Squadron, 5th Cavalry.

During the night of 14-15 February, enemy artillery and mortars from positions in Harrison Park resisted the advance of the 1st Cavalry Brigade (less 1st Squadron, 5th Cavalry). Our artillery fire silenced the enemy guns, and in early morning of the 15th, the 1st Cavalry Brigade (less 1st Squadron, 5th Cavalry) launched a coord-inated attack with a line of departure running from the Bay along Vito Cruz to Taft Avenue, thence North along Taft to Malate Circle. On the left was the 2d Squadron of the 5th Cavalry with its left flank on the Bay; on the right of the 2d Squadron of the 5th was the 2d Squadron of the 12th; and on the extreme right and making contact with the 37th Division was the 1st Squadron of the 12th Cavalry. Progress throughout the 15th was slow due to ever present mines covered by machinegun and artillery fire (See Sketches Nos. 22 and 23). It was in late afternoon that the enemy began to give way. The right flank of the 12th Cavalry broke into the Rizal Stadium , and pushed on to the beach; then it turned South against Port Abad, meeting intense machine-gun and rifle fire. On the 16th the attack was resumed, and by 0915 leading elements of the 1st Squadron 12th Cavalry took the Fort and pushed on to the South to make contact with the 2d Squadron of the 5th Cavalry. Further advance was resisted by 20mm gunfire from the sea-plane base, but artillery fire soon silenced the enemy guns and sank a Jap barge at the end of the pier. Meanwhile the 2d Squadron 5th Cavalry and the 2d Squadron 12th Cavalry were attacking Rizal Stadium. Both units pushed into the stadium at noon and drove into the ball park. Scattered rifle fire continued to come from Harrison Park but this area was now completely surrounded by the 12th Cavalry in a maneuver similar to the famed "Kiel and Kessel" movement of the Germans in Poland. By nightfall of the 16th, it was apparent that the ring about the INTRAMUROS had become so small that centralized control was necessary and the 1st Cavalry Brigade (less 2d Squadron, 12th Cavalry) was attached to the 37th -Division for operational control.

This realignment of troops of the 1st Cavalry Brigade resulted in the relief of the 1st Squadron 5th Cavalry in the Guadalupe Area by the 2d Squadron of the 12th. Thus, the Cavalry troops coming under the control of the 37th Division, consisted of the 5th Cavalry Regiment; 1st Squadron, 12th Cavalry; 82d Field Artillery Battalion; Company B, 44th Tank Battalion; Company A, 640th Tank Destroyer Battalion; Company B, 85th Chemical Battalion; and Headquarters 1st Brigade.







Sketch No. 20






Sketch No. 22 - Fortifications at Taft and Vito Cruz - A Part of Rizal Stadium Defense




Sketch No. 23 - Tank Traps at Rizal Stadium

La Salle University and Rizal Memorial Sports Stadium in the distance with Taft Avenue on the left looking south east. Manila, Philippines, Feb. 15, 1945

The Japanese perpetrated one of the worst massacres in the Battle of Manila in La Salle, where civilians and the Christian Brothers who sought shelter in the chapel were systematically killed. A tank and flamethrower battle took place in Rizal Memorial.

This photo is dated February 15, 1945.


Japanese fox holes at the base of the Rizal Monument.


Images below are courtesy via the John Tewell Collection