Contents - Hirohito's War
6 Plan ORANGE and MacArthur’s Philippines Debacle
[December 1941–April 1942]
[Maps: 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5]
Plans ORANGE and RAINBOW-5 (p 187) General MacArthur, Soldier and Propagandist (p 188) MacArthur in ‘Cloud Cuckoo Land’ (p 192) Homma, the ‘Poet General,’ Invades Luzon (p 196) MacArthur’s Lies and Obfuscation (p 198) The Battle of the Bataan Peninsula (p 201) MacArthur’s Escape to Australia (p 206) The Destruction of the US Army on Bataan (p 208) The Fall of Corregidor (p 209) The Bataan Death March (p 211) MacArthur: Culpability, Honors and Money (p 212)
Plans ORANGE and RAINBOW-5: In 1939, War Plan RE D was a United States military plan dealing with the outbreak of a war with Great Britain; War Plan BLACK was for a war versus Germany and War Plan ORAN GE was for a war versus Japan, which was considered the most likely to be put into use. Developed by the US Joint Army and Navy Board in the 1920s and 1930s, the color-coded plans were designed for every eventuality; a War Plan BROWN was even developed for the US to deal with a colonial uprising in the Philippines.
However, after the Austrian Anschluss, the occupation of Czechoslovakia, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and other aggressive actions by Hitler, the US Army considered it a strong possibility that it could be called upon to fight on several fronts against multiple enemies. In response, the Joint Planning Board developed RAIN BOW Plans 1–5 that combined the color-coded plans such as ORAN GE with multi-enemy combinations. By the autumn of 1941, with war with Japan considered by Washington to be all but inevitable, War Plan RAIN BOW-5 (incorporating ORAN GE) had become the operational default plan for American Forces. It assumed that America would be fighting a war against a combined German-Japanese alliance. War Plan RAIN BOW-5, taking account of Plan DOG that Admiral Stark had proposed a year earlier, putting an overall emphasis of effort on the war in Europe and the Atlantic, called for America to defend the Philippines (or at least the Bataan Peninsula and the island of Corregidor) until such time that the US Navy could fight its away across the Pacific to relieve US forces.
At 3.30 a.m. on 8 December 1941, Major-General Lewis Brereton, who, after a career that had survived a nervous breakdown and accusations of alcoholism, had become head of the Far East Air Force (FEA F) of the US Army Air Forces based in the Philippines, learned there was a Japanese attack in progress at Pearl Harbor. General Douglas MacArthur, Commander in Chief of the US Army of the Far East was also awoken in his penthouse atop the Manila Hotel by a call from his Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Richard Sutherland. A stunned MacArthur exclaimed, “It [Pearl Harbor] should be our strongest point.”1 While he dressed hurriedly, Brigadier-General Leonard Gerow, head of the Army’s War Plans Division, called MacArthur to tell him the news and suggested that he “wouldn’t be surprised if you get an attack there [the Philippines] in the near future.”2 MacArthur sat down to read his bible. Meanwhile