The Sack of Manila, 1945

General MacArthur Wades Ashore at Leyte

War in the Western Pacific is in the air this summer, so I thought it might be a good time to file a few notes about the fight we had with the Japanese in the Philippines in 1944-45. Central to this podcast is the interview with my father in law, Ernesto F. “Papi” Martinez who survived the occupation by the Japanese during World War Two, and fell in with the US Army as an irregular when liberated.

I start off with some comments of my own drawn from historical sources, then insert what Papi had to say about how the battle of Manila progressed for him, and how he went to war. I have entitled this piece The Sack of Manila because that is essentially what the Japanese forces there, more specifically their naval troops, decided to do when the American forces approached. 100,000 civilians died, and my father in law was nearly one of them.

I make mention of the fact the Iwo Jima campaign ended March 27th 1945 in this work to emphasize how long the Philippine campaign really was. Iwo Jima was a terrible fight, the US Marines took horrific casualties,  but the battle lasted only from February 19th, 1945.  In contrast Leyte was the first Philippine island liberated, the campaign beginning on October 17th, 1944. The Philippine fight was still going on when Japan surrendered August 15th, 1945.

Raising the flag on Iwo Jima

If you want to skip what I have to say and start with Papi, his story begins about 17: 40 minutes into the production.

The main resource for my portion of the podcast is from the recent publication Implacable Foes: War in the Pacific 1944-1945 by Marc Gallicchio and Waldo Heinrichs.

These authors drill down to a granular detail what happened there, commenting that by some measure among the allied capital cities impacted by the war,  Manila’s destruction was eclipsed only by that of Warsaw.

LST landing men and supplies

I have also relied on material from Submarine Commander: A Story of World War II and Korea by Captain Paul R. Schratz USN (Ret.)

The podcast is just over 38 minutes.

2 thoughts on “The Sack of Manila, 1945

  1. Mark, I have just read and listened to your narration of the Pacific war, and your focus on the Philippines. I could not have described them better, particularly your relating the Pacific War to the Atlantic. Congratulations for a job well done.


  2. Thanks Papi. The remarkable thing is I see in print when doing the research for this all the things you told me in person. It is not that I didn’t believe it when I heard it from you, it is just that seeing it in print, written by professors of history gives the story some new dimension. The whole story about the LaSalle school for example, there it was, just like you said. But they didn’t mention the pig you rescued.


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