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Eye Witness to History:The Battle of Manila and the destruction of the U.S. Manila Branch Mint



During World War II my father serverd in the U.S. Army, in the Pacific, and was an eye witness to the Battle of Manila (February 3, 1945 - March 3, 1945)

During WWII Manila was occupied by the Japanese from January 1942 until March 1945. Although the Japanese general in command of the Philippines ordered all of his forces to withdraw from Manila shortly after the allies landed on Luzon the commander of the Japanese Naval Defense Force in Manila disobeyed his orders and fortified the city.

The key to the cities defences were the Intramuros a ancient walled fortress built by the Spanish and the strongly built public buildings constructed by the Spanish and American administrations.

The Mint of the Philippine Islands was located in the Intendencia Building which was constructed by the Spanish in 1876 to Earthquick Proof specifications. This made the mint building extremely strong and a natural fortress for the Japanese garrison of Manila which deployed strong defences in and around the mint building. The mints location, on the south bank of the Pasig River, was only yards away from the only gap in the thirty foot wide walls of the ancient walled fortress of the Intramuros. This placed the mint building directly on the Allied main axis of attack during the month long (February 3, 1945 - March 3, 1945) Battle of Manila.

The final allied attack on the Intramuros was an amphibious assault across the Pasig River, past the government mint, and through the gap in the walls of the Intramuros. In order to prevent heavy allied casualties during the attack it was necessary for U.S. artillery to knock out the Japanese stronghold in the mint building. In the fierce fighting to liberate Manila from the Japanese much of the city including the grand old Manila Mint was destroyed. (Smith, 1993)

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 (Connaughton 1995).

For further historical information visit my USA/Philippines Type set at:



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.

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

The attached picture is is a nighttime photo of the Battle of Manila. The photo was taken by my father during the battle.




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