Lat 15° 54' 6N Long 120° 35' 18E Villasis is an inland town bisected by the highway (Route 3) in the 5th District of Pangasinan Province on Luzon in Philippines. To the north along the highway is Urdaneta and to the south is Carmen and the road eastward to Rosales. The Villasis Bridge built in the 1930s is located to the south of town spanning the Ango River.
After the Japanese landings at Lingayen Gulf on December 22, 1941 the U.S. Army began to withdraw southward and all bridges across the Agno River, including the Villasis bridge was slated for demolition. Before it could be demolished, on December 25, 1941 in the evening the Japanese Army 2nd Formosa, 1st Formosa (one battalion) supported by the 4th Tank Regiment entered Villasis before the bridge could be demolished and found the town was not defended and prepared to advance southward.
On December 26, 1941 after a preliminary air strike behind the lines by twelve planes of the 8th Light Bombardment Regiments and 16th Light Bombardment Regiments, after sunset the Japanese began their assault against Carmen, crossing the intact Villasis Bridge over the Agno River.
After crossing the bridge, the Japanese force met opposition and haulted their advance to consolidate their position and await reinforcements By December 27, 1941 Japanese artillery, armor, and service troops had joined the 48th Division. One battalion of the regiment moved to Carmen to relieve Colonel Tanaka's troops who withdrew back to Villasis to rest.
Afterwards, Villasis was occupied by the Japanese during their occupation of Luzon.
On January 19, 1945 liberated by the U.S. Army. When captured, the Villasis Bridge was damaged in two locations. As an alternative, the U.S. Army established a pontoon bridge to the west of the bridge that allowed men, vehicles and supplies to cross the Ango River.
The original bridge survived until an earthquake in 1990. Demolished afterwards, today a new bridge spans the same location.
The Fall of the Philippines, Chapter X - The Withdrawal Begins pages 171, 172, 178
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October 23, 2019