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The Destruction of the United States Manila Mint: The Final Assault



February 22 and 23 was the 75th anniversary of the destruction of the United States Manila Mint during the largest and most destructive urban battle fought by U.S. troops during the Second World War.

In recognition of the important role the Manila Mint played in our nation's numismatic heritage I am posting a series of four journal articles on this often forgotten mint.

My first Journal article http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=16394 covered the establishment of the Mint and the Mint's historical context. The second article in this series http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=16397 covered the coins and medals of the Manila Mint. Yesterday's Journal article http://coins.www.collectors-society.com/JournalDetail.aspx?JournalEntryID=16401 covered the battle of Manila and the destruction of the Mint during the fierce fighting that took place in and around the Mint on 2/22/1945 and 2/23/1945.

Today's Journal article will chronicle the final allied assault on the Japanese stronghold in the Mint and will present the bibliography of my research on the Manila Mint.

The final allied attack on the Intramuros, an amphibious assault by the 3rd Battalion, 129th Regiment, across the Pasig River, past the government mint, and through the gap in the walls of the Intramuros was scheduled for February 23, 1945. In order to prevent heavy allied casualties during the infantry assault it was necessary for U.S. artillery to knock out the Japanese strongholds in and around the mint building. Two massive artillery preparations were used to neutralize the Japanese strong point in the government mint.

On February 22, 1945 Sixth Army's massive 240-mm. (9.4 inch) "Black Dragon" howitzers unleashed their fury on the government Mint and the forty foot thick walls of the Intramuros.

On February 23, 1945 a second even more devastating artillery preparation was conducted. " The number of artillery pieces used in support of the assault on Intramuros exceeded 140...Also in support, and interspersed among the big guns, were 105mm self-propelled howitzers, tank destroyers and medium tanks...At 7:30 a.m. on February 23 (1945) the order Fire! was given. The corps and divisional artillery, tanks, tank destroyers, mortars and machine-guns...belched out volley after volley in what has been described as the most coordinated and devastating (artillery) preparation of the entire Luzon operation...The missions of the direct-fire weapons were oriented around the Government Mint." (Connaughton, 1995, p 164-166)

In the fierce fighting to liberate Manila from the Japanese much of the city, including the grand old Manila Mint, was destroyed.

"The Battle for Manila occupies a unique place in the history of the Pacific War. It was the only occasion on which American and Japanese forces fought each other in a city and it was the largest battle of its kind yet fought by either the American or Japanese armies. The destruction of Manila was on the same scale as the destruction of Warsaw...and smaller only than the battles of Berlin...and Stalingrad." (Connaughton, 1995, p 15).

It is perhaps fitting that the U.S. Manila Mint, which was born out of America's "Nation Building" in the Philippines, should be destroyed in the fiery cauldron of the liberation of the Philippines.

On July 4, 1946, just sixteen months after the Battle of Manila the Philippines became an independent republic, ending a historic and colorful chapter in U.S. history and numismatics. U.S. issued coins remained in use in the Philippines until the mid 60's.




Allen, Lyman L., U.S./Philippine Coins 6th Edition 2008-2009. Lyman Allen Rare Coins, Virginia City, NV, 2008.

Connaughton, Richard, John Pimlott and Duncan Anderson, The Battle For Manila. Presidio Press, Inc., Novato, CA, 1995.

Japanese Defense of Cities as Exemplified by The Battle for Manila, A Report by XIV Corps (HQ Sixth Army), July 1 1945.

McFadden, Roger R., John Grost, and Dennis F.Marr, The Numismatic Aspects of Leprosy: Money, Medals, and Miscellanea, D.C. McDonald Associates, Inc, 1993

Perez, Gilbert S, Ph.D. The Mint of the Philippine Islands, in Numismatic Notes and Monographs, No. 8. American Numismatic Society, N.Y., 1921

Shafer, Neil. United States Territorial Coinage For The Philippine Islands, Whitman Publishing Company, Racine, Wisconsin. 1961.

Smith, Robert Ross. United States Army in World War II. The War in the Pacific: Triumph in the Philippines, Washington DC, 1963.

Original letters written by my father during the Luzon Campaign


To learn more about the U.S. Manila Mint please visit my Custom Registry Set, The United States Manila Mint, Complete at:



I was honored that NGC selected this set as the 2014 Most Creative Custom Registry Set. The set presents a complete fully illustrated and annotated set of the coins and medals of the United States Manila Mint as well as numismatic references, circa 1920 photographs (from the National Archives), and original color photographs taken by my father during the World War II liberation of the Philippines.

This night time photograph of the Battle of Manila was taken by my father during the battle


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