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How Japan Plans To Win
The Three Power Alliance And a U. S. -Japanese War

By Kinaoki Matsuo Of The Japanese Naval Intelligence
Translated By Kilsoo K. Haan

FIRST PUBLISHED IN ENGLISH 1941 BY GEORGE G. HARRAP & CO. LTD, LONDON This is a translation of a book written and published in Tokyo in October 1940. It's author was Liason Intelligence Officer for the Japanese Foreign Office and Admiralty and Publicity Chief of the Black Dragon Society. A copy of the book was 'acquired' by the  Sino - Korean People's League, an anti-Japanese secret society, from the hotel room of two visiting Japanese Army officers.    

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 I must now describe how Japan will carry out an attack upon the Philippines. This attack must be made with the object of depriving the United States Fleet of the naval bases through which it may 'advance to the Orient, thus blocking the United States strategy in Asia.

But if the failure of Japanese diplomacy is anticipated by the United States, and the United States Fleet advances to Manila before the declaration of war, Japan's attack upon the Philippines will, in all .probability, be confronted with serious difficulty, and it will be quite impossible for her to expect Victory.

If Japan is behindhand, the United States Fleet will attack the Japanese Fleet at its naval bases before it is possible for the latter to attack the Philippines. It may happen that the United States Fleet will attempt to lure the Japanese Fleet to the vicinity of the Bonin Islands or in the direction of the China Sea and join battle with it. Thus, it is beyond expectation that the Japanese' Fleet, which is actually inferior to the United States Fleet, will be able to attack the Philippines after the latter's arrival at Manila Bay. Therefore, if the United States and Japan find themselves on the verge of war, Japan should not lose 'time in grasping the initiative and attacking the Philippines before the arrival of the United States Fleet at Manila Bay, thus destroying the chance of United States action.

In consideration of the fact, however, that the United States has been 'running the Philippines as one of her great naval bases in, the Orient, it cannot be considered an easy task for Japan to occupy the Philippines.

Let us examine defence conditions at Manila Bay.. In the mouth of Cavite naval harbour, there are studded such islands as Corregidor, Cabra, and El Fraile, each of which has a powerfully armed fortress. All these islands are equipped with strong defence installations ; especially Corregidor, which has a name for impregnability, being armed with 15 12-inch guns, two 10-inch guns, five 6-inch guns, and four 3-inch guns; and the other islands also have many 14-inch or 12-inch guns. This is not all. In the rear of the city of Manila there are two lines of batteries, thus powerfully defending entire Manila Bay. Such being the case, it will be absolutely impossible for any attacking force to make a frontal approach to the Bay, no matter how strong that force may be. Further, Olongapo naval harbour, surrounded by the strong fortress of Subic Bay, is just in a position to protect the flank of Manila Bay from the north. If these facts are set at naught and an attack launched upon Manila, nobody knows what kind of calamity will fall upon the head of the attacking force.

One other important thing should be mentioned. Cavite naval harbour is the main base for the United States Asiatic Fleet. In this harbour there are stationed more than sixty warships including battle-ships, light cruisers, gunboats, destroyers, submarine depots, sub-marines, mine-sweepers, special-service ships, minelayers, and so on. Admiral Hart, the present Commander4n-Chief of the United States Asiatic Fleet, once in a while travels China and the South Seas aboard the flagship Augusta. This is apparendy for the purpose of carrying out certain action, taking advantage of new situations. The ~ghting strength of the United States Fleet is by no means to be over-looked. Ten years have elapsed since the establishment of the in-dependent Philippine air-force and the Philippine air-defence plan was completed. The said air-force consists of more than 3000 airmen, several hundred fighting 'planes, scouting 'planes, training 'planes, heavy-bombing 'planes, and dirigibles. It is really of fearful strength.

Such being the actual state of affairs, it will be difficult for the Japanese Navy, skilful and strong though it may be, to make an open attack upon the Philippines. Under water there will be submarine attacks; explosive mines will be thoroughly scattered; in the air will be the skilful and selected 'planes of the great Philippine air armada. All these facts show that the attack upon the Philippines will not be as simple as that launched by Japan upon Port Arthur at the time of the Russo-Japanese War.

Notwithstanding this, Japan must at any cost capture the Philippines, which are the main base of operations for the United States Fleet in the waters of the Orient. We must know that this is our great concern in the coming war. So long as the islands remain out of Japan's hands her tactics will inevitably become passive, and as a result she will suffer heavy economic and financial blows which will put her in an extremely straitened condition.


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How much fighting strength will be needed, then, by the Japanese Fleet to attack the Philippines? In order to attack the Philippines, the Japanese Fleet should be organized in sufficient strength to smash the United States Asiatic Fleet.

In two or three years the United States Asiatic Fleet will witness a twofold increase in its fighting strength, and in order to cope with this strength Japan needs to make a really important decision. At least, the Japanese Fleet should be dispatched not so much to attack the United States Asiatic Fleet as to limit its activities and prevent its escape. A certain naval critic has said that in the event of a United States-Japanese war the Asiatic Fleet will immediately be attacked by a powerful Japanese Fleet, and that thus the United States will have to sacrifice this fleet as a blood offering to the Japanese Navy. Therefore, if there is a prospect of war breaking out, the United States Asiatic Fleet will hasten to Hawaii to be combined with its home fleet.

But further explanation is needed of this observation. It is highly questionable whether the United States Yangtze and South China garrisons, which are taking the place of the British force and the China Squadron in the job of surveillance, would do such an incomprehensible thing as to withdraw completely from China; the fact that the United States Asiatic Fleet is probably taking the place of the British Fleet in Singapore and Hong Kong indicates that anything like complete withdrawal by the United States from China is almost out of the question. Moreover it must be remembered there is fear of Japanese commercial ships being attacked by the Asiatic Fleet or the Singapore Fleet in Chinese waters, the South Seas, and other places, with consequent damage to Japan's foreign trade.

Therefore, the first thing the Japanese Fleet should do in its attack upon the Philippines is to blockade the entire islands in order to cut off the escape of the United States Asiatic Fleet. Similar steps should be taken to prevent the advance of the Singapore Fleet by restraining the Singapore Naval Base. If this job of blockade is carried out effectively, the next step is to…

In regard to Luzon, where Manila Bay is, its frontal defence is strong, but its rear defences are almost negligible. Lingayen Bay, on the north-west of Luzon, and the region extending from Polillo Bay [sic] to Lamon Bay on the east side is . . . Bias Bay in South China.

The Philippine Islands are about 1200 nautical miles south-west of Kiushiu, and the distance between Manila Bay and Sasebo naval harbour in Japan is only 1318 nautical miles, whereas the distance between Manila and Yokosuka is a little farther as it circles round San Bernardino Strait, the southernmost part of Luzon; but it still does not exceed 1740 nautical miles. On the other hand, Manila is 5000 nautical miles from Pearl Harbour in Hawaii, a little less than four times the distance between Manila and Sasebo, and a little less than three times the distance between Manila and Yokosuka.

That is to say, if the Japanese Fleet, simultaneously with the. departure of the United States Fleet from Pearl Harbour, departs from Sasebo or Yokosuka, it will easily reach the Philippines within one-third of the time it takes the United States Fleet to reach the Philippines. Suppose the Japanese Fleet develops a speed of 15 knots in time of war; it will reach the Philippines within less than four days from Sasebo, whereas it will take more than thirteen days for the United States Fleet to reach the Philippines from Pearl Harbour.

This means that there will be a difference of about ten days between the times of the United States and Japanese Fleets. If the Japanese Fleet is able to avail itself of this margin of time, ten days, to. attack the Philippines, everything will go smoothly for Japan. But it is an interesting problem whether the Japanese Fleet and the Japanese Army could successfully invade the Philippines within this short time.


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 The next question is the attack on Guam.

The island of Guam is located 1340 nautical miles south of the Bonin Islands of Japan, 1500 nautical miles east of the. Philippines, and half-way between Saipan and Yap, a little closer to Saipan.

That means it is a little closer to Hawaii, but even so it is still more than 3300 nautical miles away. - The United States Fleet will not reach Guam for at least nine days after leaving Pearl Harbour with a supposed speed of 15 knots. On the other hand, if the Japanese Fleet departs from Yokosuka, only 1360 nautical miles from Guam, it will arrive about five days earlier than the United State's Fleet. If Japan succeeds in capturing control of Guam in five days, the outcome will be similar to that in the case of the Philippines.

In view of this situation, the United States is devoting herself to strengthening the Guam defences so as to accommodate a big fleet. This is nothing less than expansion of the menace to Japan, and it is beyond estimation how difficult it has become for her to carry out her Pacific war operations. It is also feared that the United States will use Guam as a base of operations for a surprise-attack fleet to hinder Japan's foreign trade, or to inflict losses on the Japanese Fleet by attacking it. Therefore the occupation of Guam is an urgent problem for Japan.

Guam is a small island covering an area of only 228 square miles, but she has Port Apra, fortresses, a big wireless telegraph station, and a coaling station. The island is 32 miles in length, from 4 to 10 miles in width, and about 100 miles in circumference. The size of the island is equivalent to that of Awaji Island in Japan. The capital of the island is Agaña; Port Apra is about 8 miles from Agaña.

The famous wireless telegraph station is located on the hill of Machanao, 600 feet in height; and the Orote peninsula is fortified with 6-inch guns. In the military barracks of the capital, there are about 3000 rnarines. Up to last year (1939) this island was utilized as a coaling-port, but now it. is being armed for defence and converted into a harbour large enough to accommodate a fleet.

Besides Guam, Canton Island, in the Southern Pacific, leased from England, is supposed to be converted into a big naval and air base, thereby proving a new menace to Japan. Such being the case, Japan should attack the following islands-Guam, Canton, and the Philippines as speedily as possible. In the case of delay in occupying these three important strategic points, they will be strengthened and used as bases of operations from which all kinds of manœuvres will be carried out by the United States against Japan. In such a case, Japan would not be able to attack them with small forces, and her ability to occupy them would be questionable. 


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… on Luzon should be carried out simultaneously with the attack upon the United States Asiatic Fleet in Manila Bay.

But because the United States Asiatic Fleet in Manila Bay will be on the alert to strike at the Japanese Fleet, steps should be taken by Japan to pave the way for the safe landing of her troops at Lingayen, Lamon Bay, and other proper points not so much by sinking the United States battleships as by causing a diversion of the United States Fleet. Therefore the Japanese surprise-attack fleet should launch an attack upon the enemy in a death-defying manner.

If the Japanese troop-ships bearing from certain points the necessary military strength are fortunate enough to avoid any trouble on the sea and to advance as far as Luzon, landing operations will prove a great success, although it is highly doubtful whether the transportation of this military strength could be done without being detected by the enemy.

If the Japanese Army embarks from harbours in Kiushiu and Chugoku, it will succeed in reaching its destination within five days; but if this scheme is detected by foreign ships, due to the closing of the regular trade routes, its secret will suddenly be revealed. Therefore, the enemy will enforce stricter defensive measures at all points suitable for the landing, with aeroplanes and submarines round these areas. Until the landing operation is completed, a considerable price will have to be paid. Although it is hard to forecast how the landing will develop, it must be borne in mind Japan should be ready to suffer some losses to be caused by more or less opposition. Homer Lea, in his book entitled The Valor of Ignorance, dealing with the future United States-Japanese war, said that Japan would be able to occupy the Philippines within three weeks, provided an army 40,000 strong was landed at Lingayen and Lamon Bays. Bywater, too, points out that the task of occupying the Philippines will necessitate eight divisions.

 If the task of occupying the Philippines necessitates Japan's dispatching an army 60,000 strong, it should be accomplished with the aid of 500,000 tons of troop-ships, that is, 100 commercial ships, each ship averaging 5000 tons. This will not constitute any problems since Japan possesses a large enough number of commercial ships to meet this demand, though it is highly doubtful whether a troop-ship fleet consisting of 100 ships would be able to advance to the Philippines without being detected by the enemy.

But as General Karl von Clausewitz pointed out, the fundamental principle of tactics is that three units of offensive power should be brought against two of defensive power. Therefore, the task of attacking a United States Army 16,000 strong will be carried out adequately with an army of 25,000. If an army consisting of eight divisions is dispatched, it will require an enormous amount of expense to maintain it and a great number of commercial ships to keep up connexions with the Japanese mainland. It is by no means a wise policy.

Since Japan's occupation of French Indo-China, the United States under various kinds of pretence, has been reinforcing her troops in the areas of China; therefore, if these reinforced troops are concentrated in the Philippines, the total United States military strength on the islands will be considerably increased.

No matter how brave the Japanese Army may be, a landing operation during the day will, it is feared, be exposed to air attack by several hundred fighting 'planes. Rear-Admiral Fiske, in an article dealing with the problem of the defence of the Phi1ippines, remarked rather exaggeratedly to the effect that "the Japanese troop-ships would be completely exposed to bombing by the United States air-force and probably not a single boat could reach the coast safely."

But one thing he should not forget to take into account is the cream of Japan's "land and sea eagles." Instead of leaving her troop ships at the mercy of the United States air-force, Japan will chase the attackers around with a considerable number of "wild eagles." More than that, the Japanese Navy will spread smoke-screens and use anti-aircraft fire, thus protecting the landing of the Japanese Army.

Although' it is the ideal of Rear-Admiral Fiske to force the Japanese Army to a standstill in the midst of the sea, its realization will not be possible.

Further, if the Japanese Navy launches an attack upon Manila Bay, half of the United States air-force will be unable to fly in the direction of Lingayen; thus the landing operation will be successfully accomplished by the Japanese Army without suffering serious loss.

The Japanese Army will land in Lingayen Bay, though the distance between Lingayen and Manila Bays is twice that between Polillo and Manila Bay; but there is the convenience of railway facilities which will enable the Army to advance easily. In the course of its advance, it is thought that the Japanese Army will, of course, encounter the enemy forces in many places, but it is also thought that the Japanese Army will advance as far as the vicinity of Manila almost without resistance.

It should be remembered, however, that in the rear of Manila there are two defence lines; the one is the McKinley Battery and the other consists of a field-artillery force. The former extends 6½ miles in length on the east side of Manila and the other from Manila Bay several miles in length to Laguna De Bay to the south-east. On this lake are gun-boats, apparently in readiness to make a joint operation with the Army.

In view of this, the Japanese Army should be ready for strong resistance by the enemy force at this particular point.

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Once the Japanese Army -thus reaches the rear of Manila, the fall of Manila will be merely a question of time, no matter how bravely the United States Navy and Army may resist it by using various kinds of new weapons.

But in case Japan is delayed too much in occupying Manila, this will affect the morale and dignity of the Japanese nation and the Army, bringing about undesirable results in Japan's relations with foreign countries. Therefore, efforts should be put forth by Japan to occupy Manila as speedily as possible, even at the cost of the considerable sacrifices which would have to be made in the course of this operation.

It is not a mere dream, as a result, to think that the Rising Sun Flag of Japan will be raised over the fortress of Corregidor in Manila Bay within two weeks after the landing of the Army. Once Manila falls into the hands of Japan, and Luzon is completely occupied, it is needless to say that the entire Philippine Islands would be under Japan’s rule.

If Manila falls, there will be no alternative for the United States Asiatic Fleet but to surrender; and in the case of surrender it is thought steps will probably be taken by the Fleet to scuttle itself; but if it is America's method not to allow scuttling, it will have to face the calamity of being captured by the Japanese Fleet. Also, it is not difficult to imagine the United States Asiatic Fleet making an attempt to escape from Manila Bay so that it may devote itself to its task of destroying the trade of Japan. If several cruisers and submarines make a successful escape from Manila Bay, they will cause serious havoc. Therefore, as the first task of its blockade, the Japanese Navy should exercise every precaution to prevent the escape of the United States Asiatic Fleet.

If Japan occupies Guam and the Philippines, she will undoubtedly have a convenient situation for her military operations. As Bywater has pointed out, if Guam and the Philippines fall into the enemy's hands, the United States will be confronted with a serious problem, the solution of which will be almost impossible. The loss of Guam and the Philippines means that the United States will not have even a single base of operations in the West Pacific. Without such bases she will never be able to strike at the heart of Japan from Pearl Harbour.

On the other hand, the morale of the Japanese nation will be greatly heightened by the occupation of Guam and the Philippines; at the same time if the brave Japanese submarines will haunt the long Pacific coasts of the United States, attacking United States commercial ships and threatening to destroy the supply routes between the United States mainland and Pearl Harbor, the American people, proud though they are, will be extremely worried about the situation.

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