1 THE XIV CORPS BATTLE FOR MANILA, FEBRUARY 1945 by Cpt. Kevin T. McEnery This study is a historical analysis of the February 1945 battle to liberate Manila. It focuses on the large unit urban combat operations of the U.S. Army XIV Corps. The XIV Corps attack was part of the larger Allied campaign to liberate Luzon in the Philippines. Manila was an important political and military objective. This month long battle was the only time in the Second World War that U.S. forces fought the Japanese inside a major city. It represented a dramatic departure from the earlier island campaigns of the Pacific Theater. The study evaluates the relationship between the strategic and operational importance of modern major cities . and U.S. tactical doctrine for seizing a defended city. The analysis includes U.S. Army World War II large unit doctrine for offensive urban combat, the circumstances that determined the city of Manila would become a battlefield, and the adaptation of doctrine by XIV Corps in Manila. From this historical analysis, we can determine planning and operational considerations for likely corps and division level urban combat today. CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION On January 9, 1945, Lieutenant General Walter Kreuger's Sixth U.S. Army landed with two corps at Lingayen Gulf, the island of Luzon, Philippine Islands. The mission of one corps, Major General Oscar W. Griswold's XIV Corps, was to attack south towards the Philippine capital of Manila. The Americans needed the port of Manila to supply its Philippine Campaign and for future operations against Japan itself. As the capital of an Allied nation, and as a symbol of American defeat three years earlier, liberation of Manila also held significant political importance. There was no Sixth Army or XIV Corps plan to fight in Manila. To the Americans, it appeared the Japanese would leave the city undefended. However, by the end of January, Japanese intentions to defend the city to the end became disturbingly clear. MG Oscar Griswold's XIV Corps would have to fight to liberate the Philippine capital. XIV Corps' month long urban battle destroyed not only the Japanese defenders but much of this historic city, home to nearly 1,000,000 civilians. Hardly a building in downtown Manila escaped heavy damage or destruction. 1 From February 3 through March 3, the XIV Corps lost over 1,000 soldiers killed and 5,500 wounded in the metropolitan area. Some 16,000 Japanese Army and Navy troops died in Manila. Tragically, approximately 100,000 Filipino civilians also died during the battle to liberate their city. 2 Rebuilding the city has been a source of political conflict between the United States and the Philippines for decades. Of all allied cities, only Warsaw suffered greater damage during the war than Manila. 3 For the American Army, Manila represented a significant change in the nature of the ground war in the Pacific Theater. Unlike previous island and jungle battles, Manila entailed a multi-division corps attack in a major metropolitan area. The battle of Manila marked the first and only time in the Pacific War in which American troops met the Japanese in a struggle for a major city. In the spring of 1945, American Army commanders viewed the experience as a glimpse of fights awaiting them in large cities of the Japanese home islands. Surveying the aftermath of the battle for Manila, General MacArthur vowed, “ these ashes [the enemy] has wantonly fixed the future pattern of his own doom.” 4 The XIV Corps experience in Manila illustrates the nature of combat in a modern