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Rising Sun*
06-14-2007, 08:19 PM
There have been plenty of popular books and films in English about WWII since the war, but they seem to focus on Allied victories. Especially those in recent years.

I can't think of any important fictional or semi-fictional films in the past 30 or more years on the Allied defeats in the early stages of the Pacific war, despite the fighting in these campaigns being just as desperate as on, say, Iwo Jima or Okinawa. And worse in some respects, such as the starving Americans and Filipinos in the latter stages of the Philippines campaign, plus the various massacres of Allied troops which were more a feature of Japan in the ascendant than on the defensive. I can't recall any Hollywood films about the Philippines apart from what were essentially propaganda films made during the war.

I suspect that these important campaigns are overlooked in English speaking countries because they were lost by the Allies and don't have the glory attached to the campaigns and battles which pushed Japan back.

The effort of the losing Allied soldiers in the Pacific certainly isn't given much, if any, attention in the popular histories which focus on particular campaigns.

I suspect that as a result the soldiers who fought in these losing campaigns aren't accorded the same respect as those who fought in the winning ones, not least because there is little popular knowledge about their effort as soldiers rather than their suffering as POW's. This seems most unfair.

What do other members think?

Rising Sun*
06-14-2007, 08:52 PM
Some earlier (i.e. older than 30 years) Hollywood films on the Philippines.

Battle at Bloody Beach (1961) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054671/ Starring Audie Murphy who, according to an article I read recently, wasn't mister nice guy on set and scared some of his fellow actors by his conduct. And carrying a gun.

American Guerilla in the Philippines (1950) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042195/ Starring Tyrone Power who actually served in the Pacific, as well as making a war time film Crash Dive.

Return to Bataan (1945) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037522/ Starring John Wayne

But all these films present the Americans in the Philippines as still valiantly fighting after the regular forces were defeated, unlike Bataan (1943) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035664/ which is set during the Japanese invasion and honours the Allied soldiers.


1943 audiences already knew how Bataan would end before they went to see the film, but they went anyway, since this Tay Garnett-directed combat picture is a rugged tribute to the 'expendable' men of the Philippines of 1942. I can't do better than James Agee's fine review when the movie came out, but would like to add a few things of my own.

Rather than try to show the entire evacuation and abandonment of the Phillipines, which would be perhaps overwhelmingly depressing, the film-makers decided to focus on one small, fictional incident that could, in effect, stand in for everything else. They chose wisely. What happens is that we watch a group of soldiers defend and then destroy a bridge, so as to slow down the Japanese army's advance, if only by a few hours, to buy precious time for everyone else. None of these men wants to be a hero. They're all stuck there, and would rather be someplace else. While some are more aggressive than others, no one is wholly brave; and though there is a good deal of nervousness and occasional cowardice, they all pull together admirably in the end.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0035664/usercomments

Anyone know of any films (not documentaries) in the past 30 or so years that deal with the loss of the Philippines? I'm picking 30 years because that's a generation. If there haven't been any films in the past 30 or so years the odds are that nobody under the age of about 45 in the very large segment of the population which gets its war knowledge mostly from films knows much about it.

How about Malaya?

Chevan
06-14-2007, 11:08 PM
I suspect that these important campaigns are overlooked in English speaking countries because they were lost by the Allies and don't have the glory attached to the campaigns and battles which pushed Japan back.

The effort of the losing Allied soldiers in the Pacific certainly isn't given much, if any, attention in the popular histories which focus on particular campaigns.

I suspect that as a result the soldiers who fought in these losing campaigns aren't accorded the same respect as those who fought in the winning ones, not least because there is little popular knowledge about their effort as soldiers rather than their suffering as POW's. This seems most unfair.

I'am absolutly agree Rising Sun.
This is quite unfair.
The problem of failures of the first stage of the war were the lack of experienses of allies high command. Now i read a excellent book of russian historian who specialized on the Pacific compain - he detaled wrote the battle for the Malaya and particulary Bataan.
The reason of defeat was not the American/Filipinian soldiers but the command that leaved the soldiers alone without any supplies.
The simular situation in the first period of war was in the Eastern front.
The lack of soviet command plus the stoopid orders of Stalin - "no step back" - the reason of the 1,5 millions cuptured Red army soldiers in the 1941.Inspite of the fierce resistence some of the soviet units in the summer 1941 - the total adventage of germans was quite clear.
I can not to say the soviet cinema ignored this fact - there were a great quantity of films that were devoted by the first period of war , but as rule , the Red Army were presented as the victims of the numerically massive the German Army - and this is not lie.
Although the Soviet strength was a bigger than the Germans but using the Blitzkrig tactic Germans concentrated in the attack areas a much great power that the Red Army had.
To the contrast the Red Army did not used the "moving defence" coz it had lack of fully mehanized units and infantry simply was not ably to move to the other sector of front enough quickly.

Chevan
06-14-2007, 11:31 PM
But all these films present the Americans in the Philippines as still valiantly fighting after the regular forces were defeated

Well mabe the reason of ignoring the filipino soldiers were the race prejudices. In fact till the end of 1960yy in USA the race prejudices were still strong in society.Therefore the hero in cinema could be only white men IMO;)
BTW i read about the worst conditions of filipine soldiers in the Batan. When the americans still get the few of the food , the filipinians starved much more - the US command stop feeding them.
Is this true?

Rising Sun*
06-15-2007, 01:33 AM
BTW i read about the worst conditions of filipine soldiers in the Batan. When the americans still get the few of the food , the filipinians starved much more - the US command stop feeding them.
Is this true?

I don't know.

I don't recall hearing about it before but my interest is more in Australian theatres than the Philippines, so I'm not up on the details of the Philippines defence.

My understanding is that all the front line troops on Bataan were put on steadily decreasing rations while the troops on Corregidor had better rations. As happened repeatedly during the war, probably during all wars, stores sent from the rear on Corregidor were pilfered by rear area troops so that only a fraction reached the front line on Bataan.

I believe that the difference in rations, and the relative differences in health of the Bataan and Corregidor troops on becoming POW's, was borne out by higher death rates in captivity for the Bataan group. Who also had worse health on becoming POW's from lack of treatment of wounds, malaria, etc.

Rising Sun*
06-15-2007, 01:50 AM
The problem of failures of the first stage of the war were the lack of experienses of allies high command.

I wouldn't be that generous in the Philippines so far as MacArthur was concerned.

MacArthur was potentially a competent commander who allowed his arrogance and conceit to delude himself into the belief that he was a great commander, but he didn't make anything remotely like adequate or competent preparations even with the forces and resources at his disposal.

In the Philippines in1941-42 he was woefully incompetent and, if treated on the same basis as most other incompetent commanders, should never have been given another field command. Australia saved his bacon by requesting him. He turned out to be a competent commander later in the war, but still poor in 1942-43 and, overall, a vastly overrated commander whose reputation rests more on his careful control of the press and cultivation of the rich and powerful rather than his military ability.


Now i read a excellent book of russian historian who specialized on the Pacific compain - he detaled wrote the battle for the Malaya and particulary Bataan.
The reason of defeat was not the American/Filipinian soldiers but the command that leaved the soldiers alone without any supplies.

That's about it.


When MacArthur's 90,000 troops on Luzon reached the Bataan Peninsula after a two week fighting withdrawal, they discovered that adequate equipment and supplies for a lengthy defence of the peninsula were not available because their commander had scattered huge quantities of military equipment, food, and medical supplies across nine of the major islands of the Philippines. The Japanese would become the grateful beneficiaries of MacArthur's foolishness.

Plan Orange had required the Bataan Peninsula to be stocked with sufficient food and medical supplies to enable 43,000 troops to withstand a Japanese siege for six months. MacArthur had only stockpiled enough food and medical supplies on Bataan for a thirty day siege. The troops were immediately put on half-rations. http://www.users.bigpond.com/pacificwar/gatheringstorm/Philippines/SiegeBatCorr.html

MacArthur put about half his relevant food well forward of his final defence positions on Bataan, and duly handed it to the Japanese during the retreat. This was doubly bad as the Japanese relied on foraging and captured enemy rations to survive after the first week or so, although MacArthur may not have known that before the war. Nonetheless, if it can't take them with it a retreating army should deny its resources to the enemy by destroying them before retreating.

Chevan
06-15-2007, 02:04 AM
MacArthur was potentially a competent commander who allowed his arrogance and conceit to delude himself into the belief that he was a great commander, but he didn't make anything remotely like adequate or competent preparations even with the forces and resources at his disposal.

In the Philippines in1941-42 he was woefully incompetent and, if treated on the same basis as most other incompetent commanders, should never have been given another field command. Australia saved his bacon by requesting him. He turned out to be a competent commander later in the war, but still poor in 1942-43 and, overall, a vastly overrated commander whose reputation rests more on his careful control of the press and cultivation of the rich and powerful rather than his military ability.

MacArthur put about half his relevant food well forward of his final defence positions on Bataan, and duly handed it to the Japanese during the retreat. This was doubly bad as the Japanese relied on foraging and captured enemy rations to survive after the first week or so, although MacArthur may not have known that before the war. Nonetheless, if it can't take them with it a retreating army should deny its resources to the enemy by destroying them before retreating.
Thanks i did not know it.
Japanes really got a great present form the MacArthur;)
Neverthheless the US soldiers were able to hold the effective defence for a long time ( in fact the Batan was good fortified) , so why they capitulated ?
Was it stopid decigion of command ( it seems it was general Wainwright order who stay in Bataan afte the escape of MacArtur ) or it was sensless further resistence?

Rising Sun*
06-15-2007, 02:13 AM
Thanks i did not know it.
Japanes really got a great present form the MacArthur;)
Neverthheless the US soldiers were able to hold the effective defence for a long time ( in fact the Batan was good fortified) , so why they capitulated ?
Was it stopid decigion of command ( it seems it was general Wainwright order who stay in Bataan afte the escape of MacArtur ) or it was sensless further resistence?

The Japanese were finally launching their offensive on Bataan. The American - Filipino forces on Bataan were ordered to attack. They didn't have the ammunition or the health even to defend properly, let alone attack.


When, late in the evening of 8 April, General Wainwright ordered a counterattack by I Corps in the direction of Olongapo, General King had already reached the conclusion that he had no alternative but to surrender. By that time all chance of halting the Japanese advance, much less launching a successful counterattack, was gone. The last of his reserves as well as those of the two corps had been committed. On the left, I Corps was still intact but was in the process of withdrawal in an effort to tie in its right flank with the rapidly crumbling II Corps. General Parker's corps on the right had completely disintegrated and no longer existed as a fighting force. Efforts to hold at the Alangan River had failed and General Bluemel had reported soon after dark that his small force of 1,300 Scouts and Americans was in retreat. The Provisional Coast Artillery Brigade (AA) had been ordered to destroy its antiaircraft equipment and form as infantry along the high ground just south of the Cabcaben airfield, near the southern tip of the peninsula. On the night of 8 April this unit formed the only line between the enemy and the supply and service elements around Cabcaben and Mariveles. "II Corps as a tactical unit," wrote King's G-3, "no longer existed."[1]
The deterioration of the line in the II Corps sector gave the enemy free passage to the south where the hospitals with their 12,000 defenseless patients, already within reach of Japanese light artillery, were located. Philippine Army troops were in complete rout and units were melting away "lock, stock, and barrel." Headquarters had lost contact with the front-line troops and could no longer control the action except through runners or the armored vehicles of the SPM battalion. The roads were jammed with soldiers who had abandoned arms and equipment in their frantic haste to escape from the advancing Japanese infantry and armored columns and the strafing planes overhead. "Thousands poured out of the jungle," wrote one observer, "like small spring freshets pouring into creeks which in turn poured into a river."[2]

Even in General King had been able at the last moment to muster enough arms and men to oppose the Japanese advance it is extremely doubtful that he could have averted or even delayed the final disaster. The men on Bataan were already defeated and had been for almost a week. Disease and starvation rather than military conditions had created the situation in which General King now found himself. The men who threw away their arms and equipment and jammed the roads and trails leading south were beaten men. Three months of malnutrition, malaria, and intestinal infections had left them weak and disease-ridden, totally incapable of the sustained


--454--

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physical effort necessary for a successful defense.

http://ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-PI/USA-P-PI-26.html

Read on in the link for another picture of MacArthur, as usual in the early part of the war, urging his troops on to retrieve a situation he had created or was incapable of grasping.

Rising Sun*
06-15-2007, 06:49 AM
The problem of failures of the first stage of the war were the lack of experienses of allies high command. Now i read a excellent book of russian historian who specialized on the Pacific compain - he detaled wrote the battle for the Malaya and particulary Bataan.

Just to avoid any misunderstanding about my post #6, it related only to the Philippines.

Malaya involved an entirely different set of problems and without many of the advantages MacArthur had, and incompetently squandered, in the Philippines. This is partly why Malaya fell more quickly. Also Malaya faced a better Japanese commander, Gen Yamashita, who had advantages in a much shorter campaign in more compact territory without having formations taken away from him in mid-campaign than the somewhat less robust Gen Homma faced in the Philippines.

Conversely, MacArthur had a larger and more scattered area to defend than did Percival in Malaya and with fewer regular troops than Percival had in Malaya, although in the end both of them had far too few experienced officers, NCO's and troops and far too many recent recruits.

There are endless comparisons to show that Malaya or the Philippines should, and with the usual benefits of hindsight (or just better commanders) could have been defended better. But the odds are that even the best and most ingenious commanders would only have delayed the inevitable defeat or, at best, been left in isolated and impotent garrisons in Singapore or Bataan.

The curious thing is that if either Percival or MacArthur had had all the advantages both had and only the disadvantages one of them faced, either might well have repulsed the Japanese in their command areas. As it was, Britain, America and the Netherlands all ran their own shows, with some co-operation but no coherent strategy, and duly lost everything.

Digger
06-16-2007, 02:39 AM
Yes Rising Sun, the Allies were allied in name only, each of them employing no common tactics or thought on how to meet the menace. A certain amount of this was due to arrogance, but also a complete misunderstanding of the dangers facing them and a gross underestimation of Japanese capabilities.

The major areas the Allies were outclassed in by the Japanese was the naval forces and airpower and both of these areas would have needed to be massively reinforced before the invasions for the Allies to have any chance of success.

Of course Macarthur's major failing was his propensity to sit in the rear areas commanding forces who were mere unit no's on his maps and of course as was almost fatal in New Guinea he had little understanding of the terrain or the conditions the men were fighting under.

Macarthur was singuarly the least effective of America's commanders during the war.

Regards digger

Rising Sun*
06-16-2007, 08:42 AM
Macarthur was singuarly the least effective of America's commanders during the war.

And the most vaunted. Apart from Patton, who had even less to justify his reputation.

Shit happens!

And MacArthur was a serious shit!

Despite that, MacArthur was a brave man who had genuine affection for his troops, in his own strange way of honouring only winners. Which is curious, given his history of defeats. But his primary objective was always self-promotion, in which he excelled like no other commander in WWII. On any side.

Crosshairs
06-16-2007, 03:58 PM
I totally agree with you Rising Sun.

Being that I am from America, it is one thing that I know: America likes to keep losses/and tragedies under wraps.

It would make sense that the American Hollywood media would not produce a film of say, Midway or Gilbert Island campagins. Because the media does not see them as a "RIGHTEOUS WAY OF FIGHTING"

(which you mentioned earlier, america trys to avoid the fact they have losses, which is completely true.)

and america would not make a film about a tragedy unless they knew it could have a sexy ending ;) lol

Cavalry Gunner
07-17-2007, 04:34 PM
Well thats a good subject and again most people have little knowlege of his history.
He was the youngest General in the U.S.Army after WW l his father Arthur MacArthur was the commander of the American forces in the phillipines after the Spanish American war and had fought in the Indian Wars of the 1870's and 80's. He had a terrible relationship with Franklin Roosevelt. During the depression WW l vets marched on Washington to collect the money promised to them after WW l .Roosevelt sent none other than MacArthur to clear them out and burn down their tent citys. In 1932 a year after the Japanese invaded manchuria he tried to get Roosevelt to appropriate funding from congress and the senate to build forces in the phillipines because he rightly knew that the danger in the pacific was getting worse by the day. Roosevelt refused to do this as he was doing all he could to fund his social agenda IE the CCC (civilian Conservation corps) NRA (national recovery act) ECT so MacArthur threatened to resign as they argued in the oval office Roosevelt asked him if he was serious and MacArthur replied "that when an American Soldier lay on the ground with a Japanese bayonet in his belly I want his last thought to be Roosevelt not MacArthur".At that point Roosevelt proclimed that Mac we must get togeather on this.
When the Philipines were being invaded Mac wanted to stay and didn't reply to Roosevelts messages for days. Finally Roosevelt ordered him to get out and just like during the veterans march he obeyed the commander in chief.
He demanded that Wainwright be a signator of the peace treaty upon the Japanese surrender.
MacArthur was not the great tactition he requested the reinstatement of retired General Walter Kruger and had him on his staff as the tactical planner of all of his operations during the war in the pacific ,Kruger was Prussian.
and guys there are plenty of hollywood movies about allied defeats
Ill name a few.

1.Battan
2.They were expendible
3.MacArthur (The American Cesar)
4.The bridge on the river kwai
5.Wake Island
6.Tora Tora Tora
7.Kasserine Pass
8.A bridge too far

Cavalry Gunner