Imperial Japanese Army 3rd Company, 7th Tank Regiment on Route 5, Luzon

Japanese Imperial Army Type 89b tanks of the 3rd Company, 7th Tank Regiment, 14th Imperial Japanese Army, during the advance on Luzon, probably on Route 5 moving towards Baliuag. The 7th Tank Regiment's companies landed thirty-four Type 89 tanks and fourteen Type 95 tanks at Lingayen Gulf on December 22, 1941. They destroyed the American half-tracks armed with M1897 75mm (3-inch) anti-tank guns at the beach and proceeded towards Manila on Route 5. At Baliuag on December 31, 1941, the United States Army's 192nd Tank Battalion armed with half-track guns and M3 light tanks engaged the Japanese forcing them to withdraw. The Americans claimed eight tanks destroyed but Japanese records only admit one loss. The 7th Regiment moved around Baliuag but were unable to prevent the withdrawal of the Philippine 51st Infantry. The 7th Tank Regiment was commanded by Colonel Seinosuke Sonoda (1895-April 6, 1942) who assumed overall command over Lieutenant Colonel Shoji Kumagaya's 4th Tank Regiment, armed with 38 Type 95 tanks. Feeling optimistic about the conquest of the Philippines, the 4th Tank Regiment was removed to Indonesia. Sonoda was killed in action on April 6, leading the assault on Mount Samat. Two of the United States Army's 31st Infantry Regiment's 37mm (1.46 inch) anti-tank guns opened fire on Sonoda's six tanks, killing him three days before the Bataan garrison surrendered. Before Bataan's surrender, and faced with superior maneuverability and firepower from the American tanks, the Japanese rushed two Type 97 Shinhoto Chi-Ha tanks to the Philippines in time to land them, and a captured M3, on Corregidor. The sight of the 7th Tank Regiment on Corregidor convinced Lieutenant General Jonathan M. Wainwright to surrender. Sonoda's death was reported in the April 14, 1942 Asahi Shimbun.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Route 5