Cushing's Coup

The true story of how Lt. Col. James M. Cushing and his Filipino guerrillas captured a Japanese Admiral and changed the course of the Pacific War

This website is about my latest book: "Cushing's Coup", a war thriller about the most important intelligence coup of World War II.

It was no less than the capture of Japan's "Plan Z" - the Empire's  fully detailed strategy for prosecuting the last stages of the Pacific War. It is a story of happenstance, mayhem, and intrigue, and resulted directly in the spectacular U. S. victory in the Philippine Sea and MacArthur's early return to the Manila, doubtless shortening the WWII by months.

One night in April 1944, Admiral Koga (successor to Yamamoto), commander-in-chief of Japanese forces in the Pacific, took off in a seaplane to establish new headquarters in Davao, Philippines. For security reasons he had his chief-of-staff, Rear Admiral Fukudome, fly in a separate seaplane. But both aircraft ran into a tremendous typhoon and were knocked out of the skies. Koga's plane crashed with the loss of all hands. Fukudome's crash-landed into the sea off Cebu, the Philippines, and both the admiral and the precious Japanese war plans floated ashore.

Lt. Col. James M. Cushing was an American mining engineer who happened to be in Cebu when war broke out in the Pacific. He soon took charge of the local guerrillas and became a legendary leader. But his most spectacular exploit came when he captured Admiral Fukudome and the "Plan Z" that was in his tow. The result was a ferocious cat-and-mouse game between Cushing's guerrillas and the Japanese occupation forces. While Cushing desperately sent out messages to MacArthur to say what he had found, the Japanese scoured the countryside, killing hundreds of civilians in a full-scale attempt to retrieve their loss.

Cushing finally traded the admiral in return for a cessation of civilian deaths - but he still secretly retained the Japanese war plans. Naturally both Tokyo and Washington tried to cover up what was happening at the time - neither wanted the other to know what they'd lost, or what they'd found. However, in this book we finally learn of the huge intelligence coup by Lt. Col. Cushing that helped to shorten the entire war.

Cebu Island

Cebu Island is one of the larger islands of the Philippine archipelago. The island is located in the Central Philippines, between the islands of Bohol and Leyte in the east and the island of Negros in the west. Cebu is a long and narrow island; from north to south are approximately 217 km, and about 32 km across at its greatest width. The land area of the province is 4,864 sq. km.  The island is mountainous with several mountains higher than 700 m. and a highest peak of 1,013 m. The coasts are steep and offer only a few sheltered places for ships. The island is almost completely deforested; mountain slopes are bare except for extensive scrub vegetation. The valleys, however, are fertile and yield valuable crops of tobacco, sugar, cotton, coffee, hemp, and maize. Staple food in the province is not rice but maize. Today the total population of the province is about 3 million people; half of this is living in Cebu City, the capital of the province.

Out of the Blue Sky

Thirteen Japanese survived the crash, another dozen perished from the impact of the plane. Eleven were soon picked up by Philippine fishermen who brought them to the nearest guerrilla unit. The prisoners told the guerrillas that they were unimportant staff officers from Japan on a routine inspection of the area. The leader of the guerrillas, however, noticed that the others treated one of the prisoners with considerable deference. Perhaps he was a high-ranking general? Moreover, the papers in the briefcase chained to the officer's wrist, with their red TOP SECRET markings, were of obvious importance. Quickly a runner was sent to Col. Cushing. Two of the Japanese, however, were able to stay out of the hands of the fishermen and managed to alarm Japanese forces in Cebu City. The Japanese Headquarters in Tokyo was alarmed. Where were the admirals Koga and Fukudome? Who had fallen into the hands of Cushing?

Japanese atrocities

It is estimated that between 1937 and 1945, the Japanese military murdered nearly 3 to 10 million people, most likely 6 million Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos and Indochinese, among others, including Western prisoners of war.

The most infamous incident during this period was the NANKING Massacre of 1937-38, when, according to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, the Japanese Army massacred as many as 300,000 civilians and prisoners of war, although the accepted figure is much higher.

In the Philippines, the Manila Massacre of February 1945 resulted in the death of 100,000 civilians in the Philippines. In Cebu probably some 7,000 Cebuanos were killed. It is estimated that at least one out of every 20 Filipinos died at the hands of the Japanese during the occupation.

Guerrillas in the Philippines during World War II

After the Fall of Bataan and Corregidor, many who escaped the Japanese reorganized in the mountains as guerrillas still loyal to the U.S. Army Forces Far East (USAFFE). By the end of the war, some 277 separate guerrilla units made up some 260,715 individuals, were officially recognized as having fought in the resistance movement. Probably the most well-known of these groups were the guerrillas under the command of the Colonels Wendell Fertig (Mindanao), Russell Volckmann (Northern Luzon), and James Cushing (Cebu).

About the author

Dirk Jan Barreveld was born in the central part of the Netherlands, about 30 kilometers south of Amsterdam. He grew up on a dairy farm. Because of a severe form of hay-fever he went to the Amsterdam Naval College in the Netherlands and the Royal Netherlands Naval College and spent 10 years at sea as officer in the Royal Netherlands Navy and merchant navy. After his career at sea he became an international transport specialist. He worked for several large transport companies, among others Schiphol Amsterdam Airport, international institutions, and foreign governments. During the nineties he was instrumental in the modernization of Mactan-Cebu International Airport. He also has a doctoral degree in Economic Science from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He started writing in the mid-nineties. He came across the story of his latest book (Cushings Coup) during his stint as visiting professor Economic Science (San Carlos University) in Cebu, Philippines.

Book Specifications

Title: Cushing's Coup

Subtitle: The true story of how Lt. Col. James M. Cushing and his Filipino guerrillas captured a Japanese Admiral and changed the course of the Pacific War

Hardcover: 312 pages; Publisher: Casemate; Language: English; ISBN: 978-1612003078;

For those who like to know more about the Island of Cebu, see my e-book: Cebu, A Tropical Paradise in the Pacific (ISBN 978-1312577190)


Drs. Dirk J, Barreveld


Tel. +31 627358370