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Batan Island

Batan Island (121.98E 20.45N) is a small island located between Luzon and Formosa.  It is politically a part of the Philippines.  Though it lacks a good anchorage, in 1941 it had a primitive grass airstrip at Basco.

Because of the potential value of the island for basing air power within easy range of the Phillipines, the island had been identified by the Japanese as an early objective in the event of war with the United States as early as 1937. Third Surprise Attack Force accordingly seized the airstrip on the morning of the Pearl Harbor attack (8 December 1941, local time) to provide air cover for landings at AparriFighters from 24 and 50 Air Regiments began arriving almost at once. However, the unexpectedly swift collapse of American air power in the Philippines meant that the Nates on the island were almost irrelevant to the outcome of Aparri landings or the Phillipines campaign.

References

Evans and Peattie (1997)

Morison (1948)

 


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