The Battle of Bataan (7 January 9 April 1942) was a battle that represented the most intense phase of Imperial Japan’sinvasion of the Philippines during World War II. In January 1942, forces of the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy invaded Luzon along with several islands in the Philippine Archipelago after the bombing of the American naval base at Pearl Harbor. The commander-in-chief of all Filipino and American forces in the islands, General Douglas MacArthur, consolidated all of his Luzon-based units on the Bataan Peninsula to fight against the Japanese invaders. By this time, the Japanese controlled nearly all of Southeast Asia. The Bataan peninsula and the island of Corregidor were the only remaining Allied strongholds in the region. Despite a lack of supplies, Filipino and American forces managed to fight the Japanese for three months, engaging them initially in a fighting retreat southward. As the combined Filipino and American forces made a last stand, the delay cost the Japanese valuable time and prevented immediate victory across the Pacific. The surrender at Bataan, with 140,000 soldiers surrendering in the Philippines altogether, was the largest in American and Filipino military histories, and was the largest United States surrender since the American Civil War’s Battle of Harper’s Ferry. Soon afterwards, Filipino and American prisoners of war were forced into the Bataan Death March.
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