The Philippines was home to significant American naval bases, and was well positioned not only for Japanese lines of communication, but also for launching attacks on the Dutch East Indies. On 8 December, just hours after Pearl Harbor, Japanese bombers destroyed American air bases. The United States Asiatic Fleet was forced to withdraw, leaving American forces without air or sea support. Japanese troops then invaded, firstly in northern Luzon, followed by Legazpi and then Mindanao. They took Manila on 2 January 1942. The Americans were forced to retreat as much-needed reinforcements never arrived following the destruction at Pearl Harbor. On 9 April 60–80,000 American and Filipino troops in Bataan surrendered and were forced on a ‘Death March’ during which 7–10,000 men lost their lives. Remaining Allied troops on the island of Corregidor surrendered soon after, giving the Japanese full control, although guerrilla activity continued throughout the war.
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