By Nathan N. Prefer Troops of the Imperial Japanese Army soon followed. Hong Kong fell on Christmas Day. In China, Shanghai fell the first day. Guam was occupied on December 10. Two months later, Singapore, the British “Gibraltar of the Pacific,” fell to the Japanese. The United States Marine garrison on Wake Island repulsed the first Japanese attempt to seize that tiny atoll in the middle of the Pacific, but it, too, finally fell on December 22. For reasons never satisfactorily explained, the Japanese caught the United States Army Air Forces units in the Philippines on the ground late on December 8. That airstrike effectively removed General Douglas MacArthur’s air assets from the campaign, although those remaining fought to the end with great courage and skill against an overwhelming force. With air superiority now assured, the Imperial Japanese Army landed troops on Bataan Island on December 8. More troops were landed at Aparri and Vigan on December 10. These landings on northern Luzon were weakly opposed, the untrained and ill-prepared Philippine Army units simply unable to handle the onrushing Japanese. From the Palau Islands additional landings were made on December 12 at Legaspi. The island of Mindanao was invaded, also from the Palaus, on December 20. Jolo Island was invaded Christmas Eve. The main Japanese landings in the Philippines also came Christmas Eve at Lingayen Gulf on Luzon between San Fernando and San Fabian. These new troops—43,110 men of the 14


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