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    Baguio (Baguio City) Benguet Province | Luzon Philippines
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Edwin Fitchett 1946

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Carl R. Thien 1945

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Justin Taylan 2003

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Justin Taylan 2003

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Justin Taylan 2003
Location
Lat 16° 24' 59N Long 120° 35' 35E  Baguio located at an elevation of 5029' / 1,532m above sea level in the mountains in Benguet Province on Luzon in the Philippines. Also known as Baguio City. Connected by the Kennon Road southward to Rosario. A newer western road connects Baguio to La Union Province.

Prewar
During the American colonial era, Baguio was designed and based on the layout of Washington D. C. in the United States. During the hot summer months, the cooler mountain climate and pine tree forests of Baguio were ideal for recreation and the city became the summer capital of the Philippines. Many wealthy Filipinos and Americans purchased homes in Baguio. In 1903, the U. S. Army established Camp John Hay to the east of the city.

Wartime History
On December 8, 1941 nearby Camp John Hay was the first location in the Philippines bombed by the Japanese aircraft. On December 24, 1941 the Japanese Army 9th Regiment advanced from Bauang and occupied the city without opposition.

During the Japanese occupation of Baguio was relatively peacefully, with limited guerrilla activities in the area and few reprisals by the Japanese against the local population. During the occupation years, the Imperial Japanese Army used Baguio as a rest and recuperation (R&R) area for senior officers.

As the threat of Allied landing on Luzon, Japanese Army General Yamashita moved his headquarters to Baguio and the area was defended by the Japanese Army's 19th Division "Tora". After the American landing at Lingayen Gulf on January 9, 1945 bombed by American in an effort to deprive the Japanese use of the city. Tragically, the attacks primarily impacted the civilian population.

American missions against Baguio
January 23, 1945–August 9, 1945

The city was defended by small Japanese Army force including the 10th Tank Regiment, 5th Company with a meager force of 3 medium and 2 light tanks, and were ordered to carry out suicide attacks with their tanks against the advancing American forces. On the road to the city, one Type 97 Chi Ha and one Type 95 Ha Go had explosives attached to the front of their hull. They hid into bamboo bushes near the road between Baguio and Sablan waiting for U. S. Army tanks to approach. When a column of M4 Sherman tanks turned the corner about 100m away, both accelerated forward to make a suicide attack. The lead tank was surprised at tried to backup, but failed to turn and fell off the road into the valley below. In total, two M4 Sherman tanks and both Japanese tanks were destroyed. One Japanese who survived the attack bailed out of his tanks and attacked brandishing a sword. After this incident, Americans advanced more hesitantly towards the city.

Meanwhile, most civilians took refuge in the Baguio Cathedral. On April 27, 1945 the U. S. Army 33rd Infantry Division, 37th Infantry Division plus USAFFE-NL 66th Infantry Regiment liberate Baguio, and found the city in ruins from American bombing.

Japanese Surrender
Until the end of the war, Japanese resistance persisted to the west and north of Baguio. Japanese forces officially surrendered in Baguio on September 3, 1945 present were Lt. General Jonathan M. Wainwright and Lt. General Wilhelm D. Styer.

Baguio Cathedral (Our Lady of the Atonement)
Constructed between 1920 and was completed in 1936 by missionaries from Belgium atop Kampo Hill (renamed "Mount Mary"), the tallest hill in Baguio. During 1945, the cathedral was used as a shelter for civilians during the American bombing of Baguio, and an evacuation center. Many residents built shanty shacks around the cathedral, after it was filled to capacity. During April, 1945 advance units of the US Army arrived at the Cathedral and liberated the town.

Burnham Park
Park at the center of Baguio. The US Army held a formal ceremony here in April 1945 after the liberation of Baguio attended by General Swift (I Corps commander). After liberation, L-4 Piper Cubs landed on the park.

Camp Henry T. Allen (Camp Allen)
Prewar US Army camp in Baguio.

Japan-Filipino Peace Monument
A memorial park and obelisk is located on the western edge of town, with dedications in Japanese and English.

Veterans Park & Wall of Honor
Dedicated in 1991 and upgraded in 1995, this small memorial park and Wall of Honor lists the names of the 3,347 officers, enlisted men and auxiliary volunteers of the 66th Infantry Regiment USAFFE. The memorial lists 854 casualties (280 KIA, 568 WIA, 6 MIA) in the campaign in the mountains. At the front of the memorial, a US Army 105mm howitzer is on display.

Camp John Hay
During 1903 the U. S. Army established Camp John Hay to the east of Baguio. Includes the Baguio Country Club, US Ambassador's Residence, Loakan Airfield (Baguio Airport) and the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) at Fort Gegorio del Pilar).

Birac Airfield
Located to the southeast of Baguio, prewar built for mining activities

References
U. S. Army in World War II Triump in the Philippines Chapter XXV The Collapse of the Baguio Front pages 468-490
Reports of General MacArthur Chapter X Guerrilla Activities in the Philippines page 323

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Last Updated
April 27, 2020

 

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Map
January 9-17, 1945

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