70 years ago, the greatest battles on our shores took place. These battles were part of the mission to liberate Cebu!
It was on March 26, 1945 on the beaches of Talisay when the fight for the freedom of this island began. US “troops from the 3rd battalion of the 82nd regiment” belonging to the Americal Division were sent to liberate our ancestors, as reported in the footage of the battle below. US cruisers and destroyers bombarded the beach to neutralize mines before their soldiers came up on shore. But it did not fully clear the beach of mines. When 15 Landing Vehicle Tracked (LVT) Amtracs hit land, 10 were destroyed. Realizing the beach had not yet been fully cleared, some of the troops were sent to do the task while the rest were at a standstill. After more than an hour of waiting, all remaining mines were cleared. American Forces successfully got on land and started mapping a route to Cebu City.
On the way to Cebu City, US forces did not find much difficulty moving forward because the enemy’s troops were disorganized. It was only at Pardo where they first met organized enemy resistance, around an hour and a half after US soldiers first landed in Cebu. But the biggest battle for our island’s freedom took place at the Gochan Hill.
If you’re not familiar with the Gochan Hill, it’s situated behind the University of the Philippines Cebu in Lahug. The school lies along Gorordo Avenue. The grueling battle lasted 3 days, killing 200 of the Japanese forces from in their bunkers and pillboxes with mostly flamethrowers. US forces tried to gain control of the airfield in Lahug in a single day but failed due to the continuous mortar fire from the enemy. Despite the initial problems, the first day ended with the capture of 10 Japanese soldiers and 88 dead. For the US, 39 were wounded but only 8 were killed in battle which was seen at the time of the war as “extremely light,” as described in the report.
By the end of the 3 days of fighting, Japanese forces who were retreating made one last attempt to hit back at the American soldiers by planting traps and mines as they made their escape but they ultimately failed to regain their control over Cebu. 16 of their troops were held as prisoners. In succeeding to drive out the Japanese from Cebu, the enemy’s hold on the Central Visayas was broken.
Below is a video of the surrender of Japanese’ soldiers.