American Forces Take Control of Pasig River

The battle for Manila was one of the only urban combat experiences for the US Army in the Pacific.

General Robert Beitler, US Army 37th Division was given the assignment to capture Manila in house-to-house fighting. Although MacArthur banned air strikes against the city, Artillery was used to pound resistance. MacArthur (prematurely) declared the city liberated on February 6th, and returned to Manila on February 7 from the north. The battle for the city lasted for a month, ending with the fighting in the Spanish walled city of Intramuros, where fanatical Japanese defended until the end. After the battle an estimated 100,000 Filipinos had died in the city as well, likely one of the highest civilian casualties in urban combat of any WWII battle, second only to Stalingrad.

While the battle of the strongpoints raged, 7 to 24 February, the 1st Cavalry Division was sweeping wide east, south, and west, around the city to Manila Bay. When the 37th Infantry Division crossed the Pasig at Malacanan Gardens, the 129th Infantry Regiment pivoted sharply west, campaigning toward the east wall of Intramuros. The 148th Infantry Regiment swung more broadly south, west, and north, bringing it up against the south wall of Intramuros. The 1st Cavalry Division swung on an axis parallel to these, but flung further out, around the whole city. Thus, the 1st Cavalry Division implemented a standard element of siege doctrine: isolate the defenders.