7.068N) is the principal city and port
the island of Mindanao, at the
southeast end of the Philippines.
has a large, deep
anchorage, often used by units of the U.S.
Asiatic Fleet in 1941, but
facilities were limited.
On the morning of December 8, 1941 the U.S. Navy
was operating a patrol squadron, VP-101 (4 Catalinas,) from William
Preston anchored in Davao harbor. Aircraft from
raided the seaplane base, destroying two of the Catalinas but failing
to damage the tender. 500 men of the 33 Regiment, 14
were landed near Davao on the night of 19 December 1941. The
defenders, from 101
Philippine Division, broke and fled and the Japanese quickly occupied the
In a speech to the Diet on 18 December 1941, Tojo claimed that the Americans had tortured 10 Japanese to death and shot 38 others at Davao. However, Tojo himself began to doubt the truth of the allegations by 23 December, suspecting that they had been manufactured by jingoistic newspaper reporters.
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