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The Fall of the Philippines 1941–42

The Fall of the Philippines 1941–42 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review December 2012 Title The Fall of the Philippines 1941–42
Author Clayton Chun Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2012 ISBN 9781849086097
Format 96 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $19.95


At the start of World War II in the Pacific, Japan planned a 50-day conquest of the Philippines.  Imperial commanders expected to win in 45 days.  It took 6 months.

That tactical triumph spawned, as author Clayton Chun notes, the "largest single surrender of American forces in military history".  It also produced the infamous Bataan Death March, staggering civilian suffering and years of brutal occupation.

Chun recaps Japan's vicious victory in Osprey's handy The Fall of the Philippines 1941–42.

After a brief introduction with convenient chronology, contents capably course through opposing commanders, forces and plans.  The bulk of text then details fighting.  And brief "aftermath" and "battlefields today" sections conclude coverage.

Informative photos, extended captions, maps, charts, sidebars, and paintings enhance this informative effort.  A selective bibliography and index complete contents.

But clarity concerns cloud Chun's otherwise useful account.  Those are Mitsubishi Ki-30 – not K-30 – "Anns" on the Agloloma Bay skirmish painting.  The caption says 3.  But the illustration shows 4.  Which was it?

Text also regularly references the Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor Island.  But neither appears on a map until p 79.

I also noted the absence of key secondary studies – like William H. Bartsch's seminal Doomed at the Start and December 8, 1941 – from Chun's bibliographic notes.  The latter especially illumines the crucial consequences of American air power losses for readers seeking further detail.

Nitpicks notwithstanding, I enjoyed The Fall of the Philippines 1941–42.  Make it a springboard to further study of this critical campaign.


My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!