1945 Battle of Manila
During the final year of World War II, Japanese forces decided to defend Manila (which had been occupied by Japan since 1942) to the death. 16,000 Japanese troops, mostly marines, turned Manila into a death trap for the coming Allied forces.
For almost one month from February 3 to March 3, 35,000 allied forces (mostly US infantry and cavalry forces) fought building by building to liberate the capital city. The Japanese set fire to entire districts as a way of hampering US operations. The Americans in ensuring a quick victory to lessen casualties, used overwhelming American firepower, limited to artillery and self-propelled guns, to reduce the Japanese strongholds.
Caught in the middle were almost 1 million civilians. The Japanese went on a rampage, killing and raping civilians by the thousands in what has become known as the Manila Massacre or Rape of Manila.
100,000 civilians were killed during the Battle of Manila. Entire districts were wiped out, with Manila’s unique cityscape and built heritage being reduced to ash and rubble.
The Battle of Manila’s devastating aftermath is a national tragedy.
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