Date of Graduation

Spring 2020

Degree

Master of Arts in History

Department

History

Committee Chair

Sarah Panzer

Keywords

guerrilla, survival, Pacific, Philippines, Japan, U.S., Luzon, Bataan, jungle, interview

Subject Categories

History of the Pacific Islands | United States History

Abstract

Guerrilla warfare in Central Luzon from 1942 to 1945 was extremely limited by available resources and manpower, especially following the mass surrender of U.S. troops in the Philippines to Imperial Japan during the surrender at Bataan on April 9th, 1942. By closely analyzing the primary accounts of Luzon guerrillas Doyle Decker and Robert Mailheau, I seek to confirm, confront, and consider many established expectations of guerrilla warfare, especially since much of the established literature espouses a loose set of guidelines for irregular warfare. In this paper, I analyze the pre-war Philippines in order to establish the decisive disadvantages that American forces were faced with prior to guerrilla warfare, after which these limitations were only compounded with the dissolution of U.S. command structure in the Philippines following the surrender. I then heavily analyze primary interviews and accounts given by Decker and Mailheau in order to present concrete examples of local cooperation, military limitations, and environmental hazards that the guerrilla soldiers of the 155th guerrilla unit faced in Central Luzon. This study’s purpose is to present a new avenue for analyzing guerrilla tactics through individual accounts and case studies, so that the human element of decision-making in such strategy can be taken into account more frequently and incorporated into broader discussions of guerrilla tactics.

Copyright

© Alexander William Decker

Open Access

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