Relief map of Jolo

Jolo (121.008E 6.058N) is a island and port in the Sulu Archipelago near the southwest end of the Philippine Islands. It is the second largest island in the archipelago, 40 miles (64 km) long and 14 miles (23 km) wide with mountains reaching to 2664' (812 meters).

The city had a small airstrip in 1941 and was the target of a Japanese landing on 25 December 1941 by a battalion from 146 Regiment, elements of 1 and 2 Kure SNLF, and an airfield construction unit. The landings allowed the Japanese to bring aircraft forward to cover a further move against Tarakan off eastern Borneo.

The Sulu Archipelago was informally ruled by Sultan Mohammed Janail Abirir II, who had previously fought the Spanish and the Americans before surrendering to Pershing in 1911. Thereafter he felt honor-bound to be scrupulously loyal to the Americans, and he retreated into the hills of Jolo to continue resisting the Japanese.

The island was retaken by 163 Regiment, 41 Division on 9 April 1945, which landed six miles to either side of Jolo City and converged on the town rapidly. The Japanese had withdrawn to Mount Daho and Mount Tumatangus. Daho was reduced between 15 and 22 April and Tumatangus between 25 April and 2 May. Moro guerrillas were tasked to mop up the survivors, and 163 Regiment was relieved by elements of 368 Regiment on 19 June. Casualties were 35 killed and 130 wounded for the Americans and 3780 Japanese killed and 30 taken prisoner, just 90 evading the Moros to surrender at the end of the war.


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