The 'Battle of Manado' was fought between Japanese and Dutch forces as part of Imperial Japan’s 'H' (i) operation to take the island of Celebes in the Dutch East Indies (11/12 January 1942).
The battle took place at Manado (otherwise Menado) on the Minahasa peninsula on the northern part of Celebes island, and is notable as the first occasion in Japanese military history that the country had deployed paratroopers in an operational capacity.
Despite the fact that it contained no important raw materials and possessed no major military installations, the the Minahasa peninsula was militarily important to the Japanese: the sheltered waters of Manado Bay and Lake Tondano provide good locations for seaplane bases, as indicated by the fact that the Dutch had created a naval base on the south-east side of Lake Tondano Lake near Tasoeka. A seaplane base was also established on the southern part of the lake near Kakas. Aside from that, the Dutch had also constructed two airfields in the area, these including the Menado II/Langoan airfield at the the village of Kalawiran near Langoan and the, after the outbreak of war, the Manado I airfield just to the east of Manado City at Mapanget, but this was still under construction at the time of 'H' (i).
As part of Japan’s plan to seize the Dutch East Indies, and most especially the large island of Java, air support was required from bases in southern Sumatra, Kuching and Banjarmasin on the western and south-east coasts of Dutch Borneo, and Makassar and Kendari on the southern part of Celebes island. However, in order to allow the basing of this air support capability, especially in southern Celebes and at Banjarmasin, intermediate airfields had first to be created at Manado on Celebes, and at Tarakan and Balikpapan on Borneo.
The seizure of Manado was outlined as part of Japan’s so-called 'Eastern Offensive' drive to capture the Dutch East Indies, and the responsibility for conducting attacks in this sector was allocated to the Imperial Japanese navy. The ground force assembled for the task comprised Captain Kunizo Mori’s Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force with Mori’s own 1st Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force of 1,800 naval infantry and Commander Uroku Hashimoto’s 1st Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force of 1,400 naval infantry, and Commander Toyoaki Horiuchi’s Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force of 1,400 naval infantry, and Commander Toyoaki Hashimoto’s 2nd Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force with the 334 paratroopers of the 1st Drop Group, 173 paratroopers of the 2nd Drop Group, 169 men of the Kema Landing Group, 22 men of the Tondano Lake Landing Group and 64 men of the Manado Landing Group.
Warships support was the responsibility of the Eastern Attack Unit under the command of Rear Admiral Takeo Takagi, who delegated command during Battle of Manado to Rear Admiral Raizo Tanaka. The Eastern Attack Unit comprised three sub-elements. The first of these was Tanaka’s own 2nd Destroyer Flotilla, whose major components were the Support Unit (5th Cruiser Division with Nachi and Haguro, and the 6th Destroyer Division with Ikazuchi and Inazuma; the 2nd Escort Unit, whose major components were the 2nd Destroyer Squadron with the light cruiser Jintsu, the 15th Destroyer Division with the destroyers Natsushio, Kuroshio, Oyashio and Hayashio; and the 16th Destroyer Division with the destroyers Yukikaze, Tokitsukaze, Hatsukaze and Amatsukaze; and the Transport Unit whose 1st Echelon comprised the Oha Maru, Shinko Maru, Shoka Maru, Koshin Maru and Chowa Maru, and [2nd Echelon the Nankai Maru, Kinai Maru, Hokuroku Maru, Amagisan Maru and Katsuragi Maru.
The second sub-element was Commander Ruitaro Fujita’s Air Group (2nd Air Unit) with the 11th Seaplane Division (seaplane carriers Chitose and Mizuho) and the patrol boat P-39. The third sub-element was Rear Admiral Kyuji Kubo’s Base Force (1st Base Unit) with the light cruiser Nagara, the patrol boats P-1, P-2 and P-34, the 21st Minesweeper Division (W-7, W-8, W-9, W-11 and W-12), and the 1st Submarine-Chaser Division (CH-1, CH-2 and CH-3).
The land force of the Dutch East Indies army, under the command of Majoor B. F. A. Schillmöller, were the Compagnie Menado of 188 Manadonese men, the Mobiele Colonne of three 'brigades' with 45 men, and the Reserve Korps Oud Militairen of 500 men (five companies with eight 'brigades' each with between 15 and 18 retired personnel), the Kort Verband Compagnie of nine 'brigades', the Europese Militie en Landstorm Compagnie of about 100 men, the Menadonese Militie Compagnie with about 400 Manadonese militiamen, and the Stadswacht Menado of 100 home guardsmen armed with hunting rifles. Also available were one or two 75-mm (2.95-in) field guns and for the defence of the Tasoeka naval base on Lake Tondano, three truck-mounted 37-mm guns.
The Dutch plan for the defence of Manado consisted of initial defence against a coup-de-main surprise attack; a stiff resistance against any Japanese landing and then, in the event that the fighting led to the loss of most men, a guerrilla campaign; the defence of the Tasoeka naval ai rbase and Langoan airfield; and the monitoring of a northern landing area to the west of the road linking Ajermadidih and Tateloe.
Between May 1940 and December 1941, the Dutch forces in Manado prepared the defence of the area. The preparations comprised the establishment of several monitoring services (coast guards and surveillance of airfields and other vital objectives), to which two Reserve Korps Oud Militairen companies were assigned, and the construction of of several defensive positions. However, limited funding meant that few of these positions had been completed by the outbreak of war with Japan.
By 8 December 1941, Schillmöller had deployed his troops to these positions. A combined force of Compagnie Menado, Stadswacht Menado and Landstorm Compagnie, one machine gun section and one 75-mm (2.95-in) field gun was based in Manado. If this force failed to defeat a Japanese landing, its men had to delay the Japanese advance from Manado to Tomohon by means of the the defence preparations in Tinoor and Kakaskasen. One 'brigade' of the Reserve Korps Oud Militairen’s A Company was stationed at Ajermadidih, with another two stationed at Kema. The Mobiele Colonne with six trucks carrying the three 37-mm guns and four Reserve Korps Oud Militairen 'brigades' were stationed at Poso to defend Lake Tondano. One Reserve Korps Oud Militairen 'brigade' was stationed at Tasoeka naval base. One Reserve Korps Oud Militairen 'brigade' was stationed at Kakas seaplane base. Three Reserve Korps Oud Militairen 'brigade' were stationed at Langoan airfield. One section of the Kort Verband Compagnie was stationed in Kakas as a reserve. One Kort Verband Compagnie (less one section) was stationed in Langoan as a reserve. And Schillmöller’s staff and one Reserve Korps Oud Militairen company were based at Tomohon.
For the defense of Langoan airfield and Kakas seaplane base, Schillmöller established the Tactical Command Kakas under the command of Captain W.C. van den Berg, who had the available forces at his disposal.
Finally, to provide for the fallback guerrilla plan, nine underground dumps were built to store supplies. The surviving Dutch troops were to be divided into six sections, each assigned to a specific dumps.
The Eastern Attack Unit was assigned as the Japanese naval force tasked with the seizure of Manado. Despite the fact that he was in overall command, Takagi delegated the detailed planning of the operation to Tanaka. The resulting plan was based on the commitment of the Sasebo Combined Landing Force and Yokosuka 1st Special Naval Landing Force. The task of the Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force was fourfold: firstly, to undertake landings on both the northern and southern coasts of the peninsula’s north-eastern tip, to envelop and then destroy the Dutch forces in the town, and then to advance from Manado toward the Kakas base via Tomohon; secondly, to make landing at Kema and tp advance toward Tondano lake and Kakas airfield via Ajermadidih; thirdly, together with the 1st Yokosuka Special Landing Force dropped on the airfield, to make a pincer attack on the Dutch forces in the airfield area from the east and the west; and forthly, after destroying the Dutch forces in these areas, to reassemble in Manado and prepare for the forthcoming operation to seize Kendari in the south of Celebes.
The Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force was to depart Davao, on the Filipino island of Mindanao, on 9 January and make its landings on 11 January.
The 1st Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force, in conjunction with the Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force, was to undertake a paradrop operation on the Dutch airfield at 09.30 on 11 January with the support of the fighters of the 1st Air Raid Unit. The 1st Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force's objectives were the seizure of Langoan airfield and the Kakas seaplane base, two facilities essential for the support of subsequent Japanese operations in the Dutch East Indies.
The 1st Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force was divided into five groups. The 1st Drop Group, which had 334 men including 58 headquarters signals personnel, was to paradrop on Langoan airfield on 11 January and then divide into a pair of sub-units whose 1st Company of 139 men was to take the airfield and 2nd Company and the rest of the force was to seize the Kakas seaplane base. The 2nd Drop Group, which had 173 men, was to paradrop on the Langoan airfield on 12 January. The Kema Unit, which had 169 men, was to depart Davao in the Katsuragi Maru on 6 January and, after landing at Kema, transport supplies before joining the main body. The Tondano Lake Unit, which had 22 men including 10 anti-tank gunners, was to depart Davao on 11 January in Kawanishi H6K 'Mavis' flying boats and land on Lake Tondano before joining the main body and receiving further orders. And the Manado Unit, which had 64 men, was to depart Davao as separately designated, transport supplies and then join the main body and receive additional orders.
The Mitsubishi G3M transport aircraft of the 1st Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force were to fly with an interval of 1,640 yards (1500 m) between each company. Each carrying 12 paratroopers and seven containers, 10 aircraft were assigned to the 1st Drop Group and eight to the 2nd Drop Group. The drops were to be made at an altitude of 490 ft (150 m) and speed of 115 mph (185 km/h).
After the Japanese transport ships had been on 10 January, Schillmöller immediately ordered a combined force of 400 men under the command of Kapitaan W. F. J. Kroon of the Compagnie Menado to occupy Manado’s coasts. On Kroon’s left flank, in the Sario district, he deployed 1e Luitenant F. Masselink’s Europese Militie en Landstorm Compagnie, and on the right flank 1e Luitenant M. A. Nolthenius de Man’s Stadswacht Menado. The engineers were placed on standby to await the order to destroy vital installations. Non-commissioned officers and members of local government were also informed of the imminent Japanese landing.
The st Sasebo Special Naval Landing Force came ashore on the northern and southern coast of Manado at 04.00 on 11 January. On hearing reports of the landing, Kroon’s Compagnie Menado immediately withdrew to the rear positions at Pineleng and Tinoör, without waiting to learn what was happening on the beach, as Mori’s troops overran the 75-mm (2.95-in) gun that was firing at the landing boats. Yet they also ran into stout opposition from Masselink’s militiamen, forcing them to bring all their automatic fire to bear. Japanese pressure forced Masselink to withdraw to Pineleng, only to find that the 1st Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force had bypassed them into the town at 05.00, forcing them to move farther to the south.
When Kroon’s troops arrived 30 minutes later, Mori’s troops forced him to withdraw to the south to Roeroeken along the road linking Manado and Tomohon. When Masselink reported his positions to Schillmöller, he was ordered to occupy the bridge at Pineleng, even though Japanese troops had already occupied it. Masselink eventually continued the retreat, reaching Tinoör by 07.00. After battling the Combined Force, Mori’s 1st Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force had occupied Manado by 08.30. As reports of the landing began to reach him, Schillmöller sent five Reserve Korps Oud Militairen 'brigades' under 1e Luitenant W. G. van de Laar in Tomohon to Tinoör to support the retreating Combined Force. Immediately after capturing Manado, Mori advance southward to Tomohon at 09.45, bypassing the Dutch line of retreat.
Schillmöller soon pulled three 'brigades' from van de Laar’s force back to Tomohon to reinforce the town after false intelligence had reported a Japanese landing at Tanahwangko, farther to the west from Manado. Despite this withdrawal, van de Laar was reinforced by stragglers from Compagnie Menado and an overvalwagen (wheeled armured personnel carrier) as well as Stadswacht troops under de Man. To provide protection against Japanese tanks, the Dutch troops swiftly cut a heavy tree to been felled onto the road the moment tanks appeared. As Mori’s vanguard of four Type 95 Ha-Go light tanks approached the town at 10.30, the falling tree forced them to halt and concentrated machine gun fire knocked out three of them and thus repelled Mori’s troops. van de Laar’s men held Tinoor until about 12.00, when a shortage of ammunition forced them back to Kakaskasen.
Now supported by overvalwagen vehicles, van de Laar set up a new defensive position just to the north of Kakaskasen. The 1st Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force engaged them again at 16.00, but the Dutch troops managed to check the Japanese advance and inflicted substantial casualties before retreating again. As Mori’s troops continues to bypass them, once the Dutch arrived in Tomohon, they immediately found themselves in action against the 1st Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force once more. The Dutch attempted to create a defence against the Japanese advance, but could not stop Mori’s men from seizing Tomohon by 19.30. van de Laar’s troops moved eastwards to Roeroekan, arriving at 22.00. By morning of 12 January, Mori’s men had advanced to Langoan airfield by way of Tomohon and Kawangkoan. By 12.30, Mori’s force had established contact with the paratroopers of the 1st Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force and reached Langoan and Kakas at 14.00. The Dutch forces had, by then, retreated to Amoerang farther to the west, destroying bridges and dumps as they did so, but made no attempts to counterattack,
1e Luitenant A. O. Radema’s A Company, tasked with defending the eastern coast, was spread along the road between the coastal city of Kema and Ajermadidih. In addition to the 'brigades' at both of these towns, three 'brigades' were stationed at Mapanget airfield, and one brigade each at Likoepang and Bitoeng, farther to the north from Kema. Radema also established machine gun casemates and anti-tank barricades along the road from Kema to Ajermadidih.
At the same time as the 1st Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force's landing, Hashimoto’s 2nd Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force came ashore at Kema in the east at 04,20 and engaged Radema’s two 'brigades'. When notified about the landing, Radema ordered the dispersed A Company to concentrate at Ajermadidih, but only the troops from Likoepang eventually arrived. Meanwhile at Kema, the two 'brigades' retreated after destroying the town’s bridge; Hashimoto wasted no time in continuing the advance to Ajermadidih. Near Kasar the 'brigades' clashed with the 2nd Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force and had to withdraw, again after inflicting modest casualties.
By 09.00, the 2nd Sasebo Combined Special Naval Landing Force, supported by three Type 95 light tanks, had advanced to the east of Ajermadidih and engaged Radema’s A Company, now reinforced with its remaining 'brigades' to a total of about 300 men. Even though Radema’s troops managed to inflict considerable casualties, the Japanese tanks eventually broke through and threatened to outflank the Dutch defense, forcing Radema to retreat by 14.00. To cover the withdrawal, two men continued to fire from their bunker until it was destroyed by fire from the tanks' 37-mm main guns.
Another cover force, comprising a single 'brigade', held Hashimoto’s troops at Sawangan to allow Radema’s company safe passage to Tondano. After driving this 'brigade' back with a combination of ground and air attacks, an element of the [e0]2nd Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force reached Tondano by 18.00, and by 22.00 Hashimoto had reached the town and halted for the night. During the morning of 12 January, Hashimoto advanced along the road to the eastern and western shores of Lake Tondano, linking with the paratroopers of the 1st Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force by 11.00 and the 1st Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force by 12.30. By the night of 11 January, however, Schillmöller had decided to withdraw to the west and behin his planned guerrilla campaign.
Radema left with about 12 men to the dump allocated to his company, but his men began to desert along the way. When he reached the dump, he found that it had already been looted by the local population, forcing him to try to infiltrate Ajermadidih to gather what is left of his forces. The rest of his men also abandoned him the journey. The high rate of desertion was exacerbated by the fact that the Japanese had taken hold all major cities and towns, and therefore these places' women and children, within 24 hours. In addition, Japanese forces also dropped pamphlets that read: 'The war is not going on against you, only against the Dutch. So be sensible, don’t interfere and go home.'
During the night of 10/11 January, the Kakas command post had been brought to alert by Tomohon, persuading van den Berg to send motorcycle messengers to warn his men. When Tomohon informed him again at 05.00 of the Japanese landing in Manado and Kema, a 'brigade' from the Kort Verband Compagnie reserve section at Kakas moved to Papakelan to close the roads leading to Tondano.
At 06.30 on 11 January, 28 G3M adapted bombers left Davao for Manado, carrying the 1st Drop Group. As the flight approached northern Celebes, a group of Mitsubishi F1M 'Pete' reconnaissance floatplanes that were covering the naval landing force mistakenly attacked them, shooting down one G3M and killing all 12 paratroopers on board. To prevent further 'friendly fire' incidents, Mitsubishi A6M Reisen 'Zero' fighters from the carrier Zuiho then escorted the flight to the drop zone. In due course, the 1st Drop Group began dropping over Langoan at 09.52 and had completed the drop by 10.20. van den Berg immediately ordered the rest of the Kort Verband Compagnie reserve section to take position to the west of Kakas to defend against another possible landing. He also wished to call in the Kort Verband Compagnie reserve section at Langoan, but Schillmöller had already used it.
The 3.5 'brigades' of the Reserve Korp’s C Company, under the command of Sergeant majoor H. J. Robbemond at Langoan airfield, lacked any anti-aircraft guns but used their Vickers and Madsen machine guns to open fire at the paratroopers and repel the initial assault. Several paratroopers were dropped close to Dutch pillboxes, which they destroyed with pistols and hand grenades as the rest of the group gathered heavier weapons from the container which had been dropped with them.
Upon retrieving their weapons, Horiuchi’s men focused their attack on Robbemond’s 'brigades' on the northern side of the airfield, and by 10.50 the paratroopers had enveloped this northern side and captured the Dutch overvalwagen. Schillmöller then committed the Reserve Korp’s reserve section in Kakas. The section was ordered to advance to Toelian and reinforce van den Berg’s troops at the airfield, but the order was not completed, however, as the unit disappeared with no further notification. van den Berg then ordered the two reserve overvalwagens under the command of Sergeant majoor A. J. ter Voert to attack the Japanese on the airfield. Reaching the area of Langoan under heavy fire, one overvalwagen had its engine destroyed, but its two gummers kept firing their machine guns to provide cover for rest of the crew, before retreating in the face of the advancing paratroopers. The second overvalwagen reached the airfield and took part in the battle before eventually withdrawing.
Despite the dogged nature of the resistance it faced, the 1st Drop Group had overrun the airfield by 11.25. As the battle continued, van den Berg called 1e Luitenant H. Fuchter’s six 'brigades' of the weaplane defence unit, along with the Mobile Colonne, to attack the paratroopers from the west via Panasen. Fuchter’s force did not arrive at Kakas until 11.30, however, and by that time Langoan airfield had been lost so the counterattack was cancelled. van den Berg then ordered Fuchter’s force and the Mobile Colonne to take position to the south and west of Kakas and relieve the Europese Militie en Landstorm Compagnie stationed there. Then, after assessing the number of casualties already sustained and the very few troops still able to fight, van den Berg ordered his men to destroy the Tasoeka naval base and prepare to move into their assigned guerrilla warfare area.
At 12.35 van den Berg informed Tomohon that he was leaving for the area east of Tasoeka. He sent the Europese Militie en Landstorm Compagnie , which was deemed unfit for guerrilla operations, westward to Kotamobagoe to join forces with the Manado Militie Compagnie. 1e Luitenant J. B. Wielinga, the overall commander of the airfield’s defences, did not use his 'brigade' to support the battle, and had already retreated.
After securing the airfield, Horiuchi sent a reconnaissance team to the Kakas area at 13.00 to reconnoitre Dutch movements. ter Voert and the two men who had manned the machine gun of the overvalwagen and who just reached Kakas on foot, immediately reported the movement. The Japanese team encountered and captured an overvalwagen before moving into Kakas, where it engaged another overvalwagen and forced it to withdraw. Two Japanese companies, advancing toward Kakas, engaged Fuchter’s company, which was supported by an overvalwagen. After a fight, the paratroopers drove Fuchter’s troops off and had seized Kakas by 14.50. At 15.50 the paratroopers attacked the seaplane base and had captured it by 18.00. The attack was supported by the Tondano Lake Landing Unit, which had landed in two H6K flying boats on Lake Tondano at 14.57. While landing, the Tondano Lake Landing Unit came under fire from the Mobile Colonne’s 37-mm guns, which proved incapable of preventing the Japanese landing.
On the following day, the 2nd Drop Group parachuted onto Langoan airfield at 09.52 and linked with the 1st Drop Group. Horiuchi’s force, now at full strength less losses, launched an assault on Langoan and neighbouring Tompaso. By then, Schillmöller had withdrawn to the west in the direction of Amoerang, leaving behind large quantities of weapons and ammunition. Langoan had been captured by 11.25, with Tompaso following at 12.30. Another paratrooper element advanced to Paso and seized the city at 10.35. By 14.00, Horiuchi managed to link up with both the 1st and 2nd Sasebo Combined Special Landing Forces.
From 13 January, the Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force undertook a mopping-up operation in the Manado region. The Japanese completed the operation on 16 January, and assembled in Menado to start preparations for the capture of Kendari. The 1st Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force, on the other hand, remained at Langoan airfield until 24 April, when it was assigned in small groups to attack nearby islands in landing craft. The force reassembled at Makassar in November 1942 to be transported back to Japan.
In the 'Battle of Manado', the 1st Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force lost 32 men killed and about 90 men wounded, and the Sasebo Combined Special Landing Force lost 12 men killed and 154 men wounded. The Dutch lost 140 men killed, and another 48 were taken prisoner. The Japanese also captured 10 machine guns, large quantities of small arms and ammunition as well as other militarily important supplies.
In retaliation for what it saw as its large number of casualties, Horiuchi’s paratroopers executed 13 men who had been taken prisoner, and two other men died under torture.
On the night of 11/12 January in Roeroekan, when the Dutch decided to switch to a guerrilla campaign, Schilmöller gave money to three of his subordinate commanders and ordered them to begin the guerrilla fighting in their respective regions. The Minahasa peninsula’s geography of open terrain made it difficult to wage guerrilla warfare, however, and some of the underground dumps had already been looted by the local population, which compounded the difficulties of the guerrilla fighters.
Schilmöller himself planned to set up his base in the Lake Tondano area and establish contact with any unlocated units from there. With three 'brigades' from the Reserve Korps Oud Militairen’s B Company, he moved to the area between Lake Tondano and the Lembean mountains. After his only radio set broke down, Schilmöller marched his group westward to Kotamobagoe, where the Menadonese Militie Compagnie was located, to establish communication with the Dutch headquarter in Java. On 20 January, his group made contact with van den Berg’s group just to the south-east of Lake Tondano. The latter suggested that he left B Company and take the elderly and the physically weak to Kotamobagoe. Instead, Schilmöller, kept B Company and reinforced it with van den Berg’s best troops.
On the following day, the former’s group left for Pasolo on the east coast, whence they boarded coastal craft to head as far to the south as possible. When the group reached Pasolo, however, the insufficiency of local water transport meant that continued movement as a single unit was impossible, so half of the group was left for later extraction. Before this could be undertaken, however, the Japanese overran and captured the group. After being subjected to extensive torture, the group’s two senior men were executed in Langoan on 27 January.
Schillmöller arrived in Kotamobagoe on 26 January, and was here able to re-establish radio communication and reported his conditions to the Dutch general headquarters at Bandoeng on Java. On 31 January, the headquarters ordered Schillmöller to make his way to Makassar, from which he would be transported back to Java. Under pressure from Japanese propaganda, which he believed could trigger a local uprising, Schillmöller decided to bring his group to Poso in the central part of Celebes. The Dutch were unable to acquire sea transport until 26 February, however, and at which point Makassar had already fallen into Japanese hands more than two weeks earlier on 9 February.
With few options remaining to him, Schillmöller decided to continue to wage guerrilla warfare in central Celebes, bolstering his group with Dutch detachments from Poso, Paloe and Kolonedale. First to join was Luitenant Willem van Daalen and his 60 men, while another two detachments joined from Poso, one of them under the command of Luitenant Johannes de Jong. Despite their increasing numbers, most of the troops were lightly armed, and some of the local militia had received no training. Furthermore, there was also the consideration that the local population could not be expected to provide support in continuing the fight. Eventually, when he heard the news of Dutch surrender at Java on 8 March, Schillmöller decided to capitulate.
On 12 January, Kroon and his company’s remaining 50 men left Roeroekan and headed northward to Kembes. The high rate of desertion by his Menadonese soldiers had left Kroon with only nine men at the time when they were captured by the Japanese, who took them to Kembes before eventually transporting them to Manado. On 26 January, a day after they arrived, all six European soldiers, but not Kroon, were executed.
The group led by Abbink, commander of the Kort Verband Compagnie, headed to the south-west to start their guerrilla fighting in the Amoerang area, but the similar wave of desertions left him with only four men. Hoping to connect with other guerrilla forces, Abbink was on the move from 17 January to 1 February, when his group met with eight men of the Reserve Korps Oud Militairen under Masselink at a point to the north-east of Amoerang. After the battle in Tinoör, Masselink and one sergeant had reached Kakaskasen and attempted to reach the command post in Tomohon. Yet when they heard that Japanese troops had occupied the city, their guerrilla warfare had already begun.
On 13 or 14 January, Masselink’s group met a group of 27 former soldiers who had retreated from Tanahwangko. As they began preparing for the guerrilla fighting, the high desertion rate had shrunk Masselink’s group to just five men. The Abbink/Masselink group soon learned of the Dutch forces' surrender in Manado and lost contact with Schillmöller’s group. These factors led them to leave for the safety of Kotamobagoe, where they raided supplies and arms from the local police. After arriving at the Compagnie Menado’s barracks on 9 February, they left for Poso in central Celebes.
On 11 January, Sergeant Johan Meliëzer’s E Detachment of the Reserve Korps Oud Militairen was stationed at Amoerang, where it came under fire from Japanese ships, losing one man killed and three wounded. Having lost contact with Tomohon, Meliëzer sent a motorcycle messenger to Schilmöller, who ordered the detachment to reinforce the troops at Langoan airfield. Making the advance under constant fear of air raid, E Detachment’s 20 men reached the airfield on 12 January, only to find that Japanese troops already occupied it. E Detachment’s troops immediately dispersed and returned home, with many unwilling to commit themselves to a guerilla campaign. Even so, Maliëzer refused to capitulate and began organising a guerrilla group of about 15 men during the second half of January. The group was joined by a number of civilians, among them the wife of a retired officer who was executed for aiding the guerrilla movement On 8 February, the group repulsed a day-long Japanese attack at Kanejan, just to the east of Toempaän. In reprisal for their loss at Kanejan, Japanese troops burned down a village and beheaded five civilians, including two women. In another battle, just four days later, the Japanese captured Meliëzer’s group and brought the men to Langoan. After a short time in captivity, Maliëzer was beheaded in Langoan on 20 February, along with 12 other members of his group including Mrs Hoffman.
From Tasoeka, van den Berg’s group make camp on the slopes of the Lembean mountains during the night of 11 January. A steady influx of men increased his strength to 101 within three days. van den Berg divided them into four 'brigades' each of 22 men, along with a staff group of 13 men and nurses. Two of the 'brigades' were commanded by Fuchter, while Sergeant Majoor Ranti commanded the other two and ter Voert led the staff group. On 17 January, in Karor, naval personnels from Kema, under the command of Luitenant ter zee der 2de klasse W. A. de Ruiter, joined the group. Three days later, van den Berg’s group met Schilmöller’s group in an area just to the north of Kajoe Watoe. As mentioned above, Schilmöller deprived the group of most of its fighting strength, leaving van den Berg with just 23 men, along with Ranti and ter Voert, to gather other straggling troops in the region, thus diminishing the capacity to wage guerrilla warfare on the Minahasa peninsula.
During the encounter with Schilmöller, Fuchter’s 'brigades' had been on patrol for five days when they encountered a Japanese motor convoy in a chaotic night engagement which left Fuchter with just 10 men. On the night of 22/23 January, Japanese troops raided Fuchter’s base at Kombi and captured his entire group. Ranti’s 'brigades', deployed to the south-eastern side of Lake Tondano on 15 January, returned from the patrol on 20 January. Only half of the men decided to continue the guerrilla campaign in Kaweng.
On 4 on February, the group at Kaweng fought off a Japanese attack that killed three of their soldiers, for the unconfirmed loss of 37 Japanese troops. Meanwhile, van den Berg’s group, now only of 'brigade' strength, continues to maintain itself in the Lembean mountains and carried out demolition attacks. The group also continued to gather stray soldiers in an attempt to plan and carry out a large-scale raid on Langoan airfield or Tondano.
Before this could be attempted, a force of between 60 and 80 Japanese soldiers, aided by the local population,, encircled van den Berg’s base just to the south-west of Kasar on 17 February. Realizing that a daylight break-out was impossible, the group attempted to escape from its base at night. One by one, and under cover of darkness, the group’s men slipped away from the base, with van den Berg the last to leave. Despite the success of the escape, the involvement of the local population on the Japanese side meant that the group’s situation was becoming more untenable.
By 20 February, leaving the sick and elderly, the group moved to the mouth of Kali Rakar, from where it began the movement to the south along the coast using wooden boats. After rowing for 14 hours, the brigade reached Pasir Poetih, about 50 miles (80 km) to the south of Kali Rakar. A local fisherman quickly told the Japanese of the group’s presence, and the Japanese quickly surrounded it on the coast. Even so, the group managed to flee once more, but was captured on 22 February, a day after it had come ashore. Admiring the group’s persistence, the Japanese war council in Langoan spared van den Berg’s group from execution.
On 12 March, Schillmöller sent one of his officers to Manado to discuss surrender terms with the Japanese. He had hoped that his troops would be allowed to keep their weapons, to maintain order and protect the European civil servants and families travelling with the group. Instead, the Japanese demanded that the Dutch surrender all their weapons and for all members of the group to make their way to Manado. Schillmöller left the group for Manado on 23 March, while a detachment of 50 Japanese soldiers was sent to Poso to bring his group back to Manado. de Jong and van Daalen rejected the demand to surrender their weapons, however, and reversed their decision to capitulate. When the Japanese detachment arrived in April, the Dutch opened fire at them, killing the detachment commander and wounding others.
In May, the Japanese sent a force of some 400-men to engage the Dutch guerrilla force of 125 soldiers, who withdrew and continued their fight inland. de Jong and van Daalen created two groups based in the area to the east of Poso and around Kolonedale respectively. On 9/10 June, de Jong’s group came upon a national administration radio station in Kolonedale and established contact with Dutch representatives in Australia, requesting food, weapons and ammunition. Unknown to them, however, the Japanese intercepted the radio communication.
Responding to the newly-established contact, a group was created in Australia to infiltrate Celebes and come back with intelligence or undertake sabotage operations. Named 'Lion', the party comprised the engineer Robert Hees, telegraphist Bernard Belloni and marine engineer Hans Brandon. The 'Lion' party departed in a two-masted boat named Samoa on 24 June and landed at Wotoe, to the south of Kolonedale, after a 1,055-mile (1700-km) passage. Members of the local population immediately reported the party’s presence to the Japanese, who captured all three after a firefight on 12/13 July. After a period of captivity and torture, the three men were beheaded by the Japanese in Makassar on 14 September.
Even as the Japanese continue to increase their pressure on both surviving guerrilla groups, which were also beset by increasing levels of desertions and casualties, each group continued to inflict losses on the Japanese. Before July, the group had killed some 100 Japanese soldiers, at a loss of three men killed and four captured.On 7 July, de Jong’s men attacked the Japanese in Salenda: the Japanese had arrived in three vehicles and were equipped with automatic weapons and mortars. A heavy firefight ensued until 21.00, and continued to between 06.00 and 09.00 on the next day. At the end of the engagement, seven Japanese officers and between 35 and 70 Japanese soldiers had been killed. Witnesses stated that all three vehicles were festooned with Japanese bodies, which were then burned with petrol.
It was not until 15 July that supplies arrived from Australia, but the Japanese had landed at Kolonedale, destroyed the radio station and seized the supply drops. Over this period local residents had been recruited to aid the search for the Dutch guerrillas. The Japanese finally captured de Jong and van Daalen on 9 August. Both men were imprisoned at Kolonedale before being transferred to Manado. After extended interrogation and torture, de Jong and van Daalen were beheaded on 25 August. Along with them, the Japanese also beheaded 15 (11 Dutch and four Indonesian) of the group’s other men. Earlier, on 13 August, none other men had also been executed.
Ithas been argued that the guerrilla actions led by de Jong and van Daalen had been quite effective as a result of the Minahasa peninsula’s natural suitability and the Japanese’s lack of experience in dealing with guerrilla warfare. The group had initial hit-and-run successes, but as the local population’s support for the Japanese grew and more troops were being allocated to fight them, the efficacy of the guerrilla war eventually dwindled.
Manado remained under Japanese occupation until October 1945, when the Australian 'Manada' Force liberated the region.