Shipwrecks: When History Resurfaces - The Recapture
“People of the Philippines: I have returned! […] our forces stand again on Philippine soil – soil consecrated in the blood of our two peoples.” Douglas MacArthur’s speech in October 1944 marked the Allied reconquest of the Philippines after two years of Japanese occupation, and a personal victory for the general. A few weeks earlier on September 21–22, 1944, he’d organized an air raid in Manila Bay and Coron Bay. It was a victory for America: 300 Japanese planes, 25 merchant vessels and several battleships were neutralized, eventually leading to the surrender of Japanese troops.
On February 11, 1945, the Americans and Filipino guerillas finally liberated Manila. Strewn beneath the crystal-clear waters of the island nation, amazing underwater wreckage tells the tale of liberation while preserving the memory of some of WWII’s bloodiest and most devastating sea battles.
Shipwrecks: When History Resurfaces - The Fall
“Fresh Japanese troops constantly arrived in great numbers by air or sea, while I could only bury my dead.” Thus recalled General Douglas MacArthur upon finding himself surrounded by the Japanese Army in the Philippines in 1942. The Pacific Battle of WWII had just begun. It would last three years, and the spectacular defeat of American forces at the unexpectedly powerful hand of the Japanese Empire was its opening act.
In April 1942, MacArthur was forced to flee the Philippines for Australia, abandoning his troops with a heavy heart. But he vowed to return and free the prisoners. Today, the Southeast Asian island nation is rich with underwater treasures from this tragic chapter in history. Kevin Sempé and his crew will dive into the deep waters of the Philippines in search of the vessels and battleships, as well as tanks and fighter planes, that tell the story of the Japanese invasion, and the desperate fight the Allied Forces put up.