Political map of East Asia and the Western Pacific 03 March 1945 (Philippines Campaign): While its bombers hit Japan (XXI Bomber Command), the US secured Leyte (Battle of Leyte) and its neighboring islands in the Philippines. By January, the Americans were ready for the main island of Luzon (Battle of Luzon) and, in February, the capital of Manila (Battle of Manila (1945)). The Japanese defended Manila to the death, taking many Filipino civilians with them (Manila massacre), over a one month battle which saw the total destruction of the city.