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Zamboanga


Photograph of Zamboanga area

National Archives. Via ibiblio.org

Zamboanga (122.072E 6.913N) was located on the extreme southwest tip of the Zamboanga Peninsula of Mindanao. It was the location of a bartering post between Chinese, Malays, and native Filippinos as early as the 13th century. The Spanish founded the city in 1635 with the establishment of Fort Pilar. The city is located at the foot of the Basilan Mountains, which reach 4380' (1335 meters). There is a narrow coastal plan in the vicinity of Zamboanga itself, with a reef and numerous coral heads offshore. The city commands Basilan Strait and was an important fishing port.

Elements of 32 Base Force seized the port on 2 March 1942 and set up a seaplane base.

Victor IV. The Allies returned to Zamboanga in March 1945. The regular forces assaulting the city were built around 41 Division (Doe), They would receive significant assistance from Fertig's guerrilla force, which by this time numbered 38,000 men organized into the 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, and 110 Divisions and the Maranao Militia Force. There was also a Sulu Area Command with another 1500 guerrillas.

Preliminary bombardment began on 8 March 1945 and air support was provided by Marine pilots flying from Dipolog Airfield on the northern part of Zamboanga Peninsula, which had been captured by the guerrrillas of 105 Division and further secured by two companies from 21 Regiment flown in on 8 March. Landings began on 10 March three miles west of Zamboanga by elements of 162 Regiment. The Allies anticipated a stubborn defense since intelligence believed there were strong defensive positions around the town. However, the landing force found the fortifications mostly deserted and the main jetty demolished. Zamboanga and its airfield were secured the next day. The Americans moved north with assistance from guerrillas, encountering their first serious resistance three miles north of the town on 12 March. This was overcome by 24 March and the remaining Japanese withdrew up the coast in hopes of evacuation. 41 Division was relieved at Zamboanga by elements of 368 Regiment in early July 1944. 

The nearby island of Basilan, across the strait from Zamboanga, was occupied on 16 March 1945.

Two airfields, Calarian and Moret Fields, were established near Zamboanga to support the attack on eastern Mindanao.

Climate Information:

Elevation 23'

Temperatures: Jan 88/73, Apr 88/74, Jul 87/74, Oct 88/74, record 96/66

Rainfall: Jan 5/2.1, Apr 6/2.0, Jul 12/4.9, Oct 11/5.6 == 42.3" per annum


References

Morison (1959)

Pearce and Smith (1990)

Rottman (2002)



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