The following month, with air support above them, Japanese soldiers came ashore on Corregidor. General Homma (depicted here at Lingayen Gulf, Christmas Eve 1941, and ultimately tried and executed for war crimes in 1946) had a plan of attack which nearly failed because of fierce American resistance.
His troops, sometimes on bicycles, gained a foothold on the island. From there, they made their way to the Malinta Tunnel, Wainwright’s main island defense, which included a hospital for the sick and wounded.
As the battle continued, however, American and Filipino soldiers were not supported. Exhausted and hungry, they were left - on their own - to do what they could against the onslaught.
On May 6, 1942, Joanthan Wainwright surrendered Corregidor (and, following a meeting with the Japanese commander, General Homma, the entire Philippine garrison). Filipino and American men inside the tunnel had no choice but to surrender to the invaders.
For the next 2½ years, Japan would occupy the Philippines. An invasion force of 1,000 Japanese had defeated 15,000 Corregidor defenders. In the end, it wasn’t lack of numbers which had caused the surrender. It was lack of properly supplied men who - without proper nourishment and weapons - could no longer do their jobs.
At the time, few of the captured American and Filipino troops knew that Japanese soldiers considered surrender a fate much worse than death.
Surrender, to the average Japanese fighting man, was a traitorous, dishonorable act. And, since Japan had signed, but never ratified, the Geneva Convention (which guarantees protection of war prisoners), captured Filipinos and Americans were about to experience unimaginable treatment and torture.
Japanese conquerors celebrated their triumph with a victory parade through Manila. Captured Filipinos and Americans, however, were far removed from any type of celebration.
In fact, the vast majority of the captured men of Bataan and Corregidor would never celebrate anything again.