Defending Manila in ‘41?

On December 26th 1941, General Douglas MacArthur hoping to spare the city and its inhabitants, declared the Philippines capital an open city, withdrawing his forces to Bataan?

Could MacArthur have ordered his troops to dig in and defend the city, using its urban sprawl as a man made fortress as Stalingrad had almost a year later? Or was the American and Filipino army simply too disorganized and under-armed in those hectic opening weeks of war to successfully stage such an action, would this hold the Japanese off any longer then the defense at Bataan had, or would MacArthur join Paulus in the annals of history as leading his army into a rat trap?

 
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On December 26th 1941, General Douglas MacArthur hoping to spare the city and its inhabitants, declared the Philippines capital an open city, withdrawing his forces to Bataan?

Could MacArthur have ordered his troops to dig in and defend the city, using its urban sprawl as a man made fortress as Stalingrad had almost a year later? Or was the American and Filipino army simply too disorganized and under-armed in those hectic opening weeks of war to successfully stage such an action, would this hold the Japanese off any longer then the defense at Bataan had, or would MacArthur join Paulus in the annals of history as leading his army into a rat trap?

Its gonna be a massacre, and the Filipino army is underequipped and ill prepared, and we know how the Japanese treated the Filipinos iotl during ww2, maybe worse than that will happen and President Quezon of the Philippine Commonwealth wanted to just abandon the Philippines and go to the US and declare a government in exile to save it from destruction and its officials both local and national levels are ordered to cooperate with the Japanese by the Philippine President himself to ease the suffering the war will cause.
 
It won’t be Stalingrad. It will be one of the bloodiest massacres of all time. You’re defending the city against the infinite war crime machine, the Imperial Japanese Army, and giving them an excuse (in their twisted minds) for whatever horrific acts the men can conceive. They’ll cheerfully murder every single living thing in the city before admitting defeat.
 
On December 26th 1941, General Douglas MacArthur hoping to spare the city and its inhabitants, declared the Philippines capital an open city, withdrawing his forces to Bataan?

Could MacArthur have ordered his troops to dig in and defend the city, using its urban sprawl as a man made fortress as Stalingrad had almost a year later? Or was the American and Filipino army simply too disorganized and under-armed in those hectic opening weeks of war to successfully stage such an action, would this hold the Japanese off any longer then the defense at Bataan had, or would MacArthur join Paulus in the annals of history as leading his army into a rat trap?

I have a horrible suspicion that it would be a Nanking 2.0 and MacArther was probably correct to not make such a stand. Given what happened when the Japanese made a stand in Manila later in the war and other such actions it would be a blood bath for the civilian population. The only ‘positive’ I can draw is the increased casualties that the Japanese would incur over OTL as well as potential delay which might have an impact on subsequent events.
 
It won’t be Stalingrad. It will be one of the bloodiest massacres of all time. You’re defending the city against the infinite war crime machine, the Imperial Japanese Army, and giving them an excuse (in their twisted minds) for whatever horrific acts the men can conceive. They’ll cheerfully murder every single living thing in the city before admitting defeat.
Like they tried a few years later, with 100k murdered.
 
Oh it will be like Nanking all over again but with the Allies on the losing side. Important to mention the Philippine Commonwealth Army wasn't even ready for war by December 1941. They were still using WWI surplus rifles while Garands were only issued to the U.S. Army and the Philippine Scouts.

Manila in 1945 showed how badly the Japanese would treat the civilians if things were not going their way.
 
Well, if MacArthur was REALLY ruthless he could have left the bulk of the Filipino army to defend Manila while withdrawing the US forces to Bataan. The Filipinos would have blooded the Japanese a bit (and the Japanese forces in the Philippines were none too large to begin with) and the fewer mouths to feed on Bataan could have prolonged the defense there significantly. Not going to happen in real life, of course.
 
They were still using WWI surplus rifles
Which they didn't have enough of. If the PI weren't run by crooks, they could have bought Bannerman's entire surplus of 30-40 Krags and Colt Potato Diggerto at least give every soldier a rifle, and MGs, at a cheap price.
That would beat the 12 Guage Zip guns they ended up with.
 
Which they didn't have enough of. If the PI weren't run by crooks, they could have bought Bannerman's entire surplus of 30-40 Krags and Colt Potato Diggerto at least give every soldier a rifle, and MGs, at a cheap price.
That would beat the 12 Guage Zip guns they ended up with.
I read a book in my library back then when I was in high school. The PCA was still using M1917s and M1903s. Even Tommy guns were only issued to the Philippine Scouts. The MGs at this period were the M1917 Browning watercooled version. The M1917 Browning has become an iconic symbol of resistance against Japan here in the Philippines.
 
Oh it will be like Nanking all over again but with the Allies on the losing side. Important to mention the Philippine Commonwealth Army wasn't even ready for war by December 1941. They were still using WWI surplus rifles while Garands were only issued to the U.S. Army and the Philippine Scouts.

Manila in 1945 showed how badly the Japanese would treat the civilians if things were not going their way.
Garand Production was at that stage not sufficient for the needs of the US Army let alone also supplying the Philippines army and would not be for a year or so after Dec 41.

We see the USMC invade Guadalcanal armed with M1903 Springfield rifles and not see M1s until after they left

M1917 Enfields where supplied but while an excellent rifle they had been in storage for long periods and needed reconditioning which they did not get (for example the internal magazine springs in many cases were not working correctly in many cases turning the rifles into single shot breech loaders)
 
Garand Production was at that stage not sufficient for the needs of the US Army let alone also supplying the Philippines army and would not be for a year or so after Dec 41.

We see the USMC invade Guadalcanal armed with M1903 Springfield rifles and not see M1s until after they left

M1917 Enfields where supplied but while an excellent rifle they had been in storage for long periods and needed reconditioning which they did not get (for example the internal magazine springs in many cases were not working correctly in many cases turning the rifles into single shot breech loaders)
I also read a shipment of M1 Garands aboard a freighter wasn't able to leave Pearl Harbor. Had it arrived earlier, the PCA could have inflicted more casualties on the Japanese.
 
I also read a shipment of M1 Garands aboard a freighter wasn't able to leave Pearl Harbor. Had it arrived earlier, the PCA could have inflicted more casualties on the Japanese.
M1 Garands were around $80 each at this time, pretty expensive. M1903 are fine. Whatever the rifle, have the troop do live fire exercises with them
 
I also read a shipment of M1 Garands aboard a freighter wasn't able to leave Pearl Harbor. Had it arrived earlier, the PCA could have inflicted more casualties on the Japanese.
I don't think Garand's would have made a great deal of difference to be honest - especially as the Philippine Army only had 20% of its required Artillery which was of far great importance.
 
On December 26th 1941, General Douglas MacArthur hoping to spare the city and its inhabitants, declared the Philippines capital an open city, withdrawing his forces to Bataan?

Could MacArthur have ordered his troops to dig in and defend the city, using its urban sprawl as a man made fortress as Stalingrad had almost a year later? Or was the American and Filipino army simply too disorganized and under-armed in those hectic opening weeks of war to successfully stage such an action, would this hold the Japanese off any longer then the defense at Bataan had, or would MacArthur join Paulus in the annals of history as leading his army into a rat trap?

Why bother? What do you gain except fighting on a much larger front against vastly overwhelming force?
 
I read a book in my library back then when I was in high school. The PCA was still using M1917s and M1903s. Even Tommy guns were only issued to the Philippine Scouts. The MGs at this period were the M1917 Browning watercooled version. The M1917 Browning has become an iconic symbol of resistance against Japan here in the Philippines.
The US Army was mostly M1903s in 1941 and they were used all the way to 1945 as standard issue for some units. They were used as sniper rifles as late as Vietnam. There simply weren't enough Garands around. That the Filipinos got any is somewhat surprising. As I said the US Army was short on Garands.
 
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Well, if MacArthur was REALLY ruthless he could have left the bulk of the Filipino army to defend Manila while withdrawing the US forces to Bataan. The Filipinos would have blooded the Japanese a bit (and the Japanese forces in the Philippines were none too large to begin with) and the fewer mouths to feed on Bataan could have prolonged the defense there significantly. Not going to happen in real life, of course.
Would the best not be to simply send the Filipino army home with all its weapons so that they can simply walk home with a rifle/pistol/mines/grenades each and once the IJA starts doing its thing there are lots of weapons loose for any insurgency...? Have the Scouts maybe be sent to hide in the mountains as a force in being and the US army simply withdrawing to hold Bataan by themselves?
I read a book in my library back then when I was in high school. The PCA was still using M1917s and M1903s. Even Tommy guns were only issued to the Philippine Scouts. The MGs at this period were the M1917 Browning watercooled version. The M1917 Browning has become an iconic symbol of resistance against Japan here in the Philippines.
Where most other armies not using WWI rifles (including IJA) I think all they need is to work on them earlier, so they are actually trained and the rifles working? Ok more support weapons would help a lot.
 
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M1917 Enfields where supplied but while an excellent rifle they had been in storage for long periods and needed reconditioning which they did not get (for example the internal magazine springs in many cases were not working correctly in many cases turning the rifles into single shot breech loaders)
There was nothing wrong with magazine springs. They are essentially the same as the magazine springs for Mausers and M1903s which never fail. The problem was/is a very poorly designed and weak ejector with a flimsy easily broken leaf spring.
M1917Ejector.jpg1699890.jpg
 

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I read a book in my library back then when I was in high school. The PCA was still using M1917s and M1903s. Even Tommy guns were only issued to the Philippine Scouts. The MGs at this period were the M1917 Browning watercooled version. The M1917 Browning has become an iconic symbol of resistance against Japan here in the Philippines.
Difficulty is there weren't enough rifles to go around. a number of units lacked one rifle per soldier. Many of the ones WITH rifles had no training in using them.

MacArthur, Field Marshal of the Philippine Commonwealth, screwed pooch by the numbers.

Re: Manila - The worst possible thing would have been to try to fight inside the city. Beyond the massive number of civilian casualties the American forces were poorly equipped for urban combat (low on grenades, sub-guns, even explosives) and the Japanese were not going to try to hold down civilian casualties like the Americans tried in 1945. Worse the force in Manila wouldn't even be able to fall back to Bataan when the time came.

Also, unlike Stalingrad and Leningrad, which stand out as examples of cities that resulted in long term sieges that extracted heavy losses on enemy forces, the Japanese can readily surround Manila, something that impossible with the two Soviet cities. Japanese forces will simply surround the city and pound it with artillery until the defenders surrender. Once that happens its going to be "Rape, Loot, Burn, Kill" and IJA field officers will just let it happen.

The ideal defense of the Islands consisted exclusively of preventing the IJN from using Manila Bay for as long as possible. As soon as the war started the entire effort should have been to move everything to Bataan. There wasn't enough firepower available to stop potential lands at all the potential landing beaches, and there wasn't enough transport to properly react once the enemy committed, and worst of all there weren't enough trained men to even do an extensive delaying action.

Disperse the fighters, move the bombers to the south, along with enough fighters to defend the air fields, to where the heavies can conduct strikes to the north while being beyond easy reach of enemy aircraft. Send most of the Scouts from Luzon to the other Islands to get resistance cells started and make the Japanese bleed. Do what you can with the "B" and "C" units with some stiffening from some Scouts and maybe parts of the 4th Marines and buy whatever time you can get to allow the rest of the fore to prepare. Most of the regulars and the better trained Commonwealth Army units, along with the heavy weapons, go to Bataan. Evacuate the civilian population (don't want a bunch of innocents in the middle what hopefully will be a year long siege that is likely to get medieval before all is said and done) and start preparing defensive lines while dispersing supplies. Once the Japanese show up make them earn every foot. Wainwright will be able to hold the Peninsula for most of 1942 (there were enough rations in U.S. military warehouses to support 50,000 troops for at least a year). All it really does is knock the Japanese timetable off the table, but that's plenty.
 
There is no reason to believe that an inferior force spread over a wider front would have done better. A better comparison than Stalingrad would be Singapore.
 
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