Defenders of the Philippines

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1944 Events

 

 

September 9-10

Mindanao--Three groups, twelve carriers in all, from TF 38 attack airfield on the island.  There is little resistance.

September 12-14

The three groups of TF 38 which attacked Mindanao on 9 and 10 September shift their attention to the Visayas or Central Philippine Islands.  On 14 September one group again hits targets on Mindanao.  More than 200 Japanese planes are destroyed in the 2400 missions flown.

September 21-24

Twelve carriers from TF 38 attack targets on Luzon, especially near Manila and Manila Bay on September 21st and 22nd.  On the 23rd there are no attacks, but on September 24 the Visayan islands are hit once again.  In the operations since August 31 TF 38 has destroyed at least 1000 Japanese aircraft and sunk 150 ships of all types.  The Americans have lost 72 aircraft including 18 accidents.

October 11

Two groups of TF38 led by Admirals Cain and Davis carry out a small attack on airfields in the north of Luzon while the remainder of the force is refueling.

October 14-15

On Luzon, the carrier Forces of TG 38.4 send attacks on Aparri Airfield on 14 October and against other targets north of Manila on 14 October.  In the operations of the whole of TF 38 between 10 and 15 October the Japanese have lost about 370 and the Americans less than 150.

October 16-19

The preliminary air attacks and fleet movements for the US landing on Leyte take place.  On 16 October there are attacks by land-based aircraft of Thirteenth and Fifth Air Forces from Biak, San Sapor and Morotai against targets on Mindanao.  The eighteen escort carriers of Admiral and TF Sprague's TG 77.4 also begin operations with attacks on Leyte, Cebu and Mindanao.  These attacks continue on October 17 and are reinforced by the four carriers of Davison's TG 38.4 who attack Luzon.  Also on 17 October mine-sweeping begins on Leyte while the large carriers, now 12 in three groups, still strike at Luzon.  On 19 October the escort carriers maintain their attacks on Leyte.  Fifth Air Force strikes at Mindanao.  The Japanese air forces lose heavily in these operations and in their own, unsuccessful attacks on the American naval squadrons.  On 19 October the remaining unites are concentrated in First Air Fleet under Admiral Onishi's command on Luzon.

October 20

There are US landings on the east coast of Leyte.  All the escort and fleet carriers involved in the preparatory attacks and Fifth Air Force provide air support.  The landing ships and the bombardment and escort groups are form Kinkaids Seventh Fleet and the troops landed are from Krueger's Sixth Army.  Four divisions from two corps are landed.  Sibert's X Corps, 1st Cavalry and 24th Infantry Divisions land slightly to the south of Tacloban and Hodge's XXIV Corps, 96th and 7th Divisions, three battleships as well as cruisers and destroyers.  The cruiser Honolulu is badly damaged by aerial torpedo in these operations.  There is little fighting in the beaches as the defending Japanese 16th Division soon retires to prepared position inland to await reinforcements.  The Americans are therefore able to take Tacloban Airfield, but cannot the beachheads of the two corps.  By nightfall 132,000 men are ashore. General MacArthur, who is in Supreme Command, lands a few hours after the assault troops and broadcasts to the Philippine people recalling his famous promise, "I shall return."

The Japanese have set in train a massive fleet operation, Sho-go, to counter the American landings,.  A carrier force commanded by Admiral Ozawa leaves Japan while other units are assembling at Brunei in North Borneo.

October 21

After a successful battle with Japanese night attacks, the US forces take Dulag airfield and Tacoblan village, but they are still unable to link their bridgeheads.  The ships of Seventh Flett and one group of TF 38 give gunfire and air support.  Two groups of TF38 attack targets on Panay, Cebu, Negros and Masbate.

October 22

On Leyte all the US forces push forward. The most notable gains are by the 7th Division on the right flank who advance toward Abuyog.

October 23

The battles on Leyte continue.  The 1st Cavalry Division attacks northwest from Tacoblan.  In the XXIV Corps sector a tank unit accompanying the 7th Division takes Burauen.

October 24

A small force from 1st Cavalry Division crosses the San Juanico Strait from Tacloban to land on Samar.  Other units from the division advance along the sound side of the strait to Guintiguian.

October 25

In the northeast of Leyte 1st Cavalry Division continues its advance.  To the south, however, some US units are forced to be inactive because of lack of supplies.

October 26

On Leyte, the Japanese positions on Catmon Hill just north of Dulag, are fiercely attacked by the US forces.  The attacks are repulsed but the defenders later retire.  The Japanese garrison on the island receives reinforcements at their base at Ormoc.

October 27

On Leyte, the US 7th Division takes Buri Airfield.

 October 27-30

On 27 October one group of three carriers commanded by Admiral Sherman attacks Japanese shipping around Luzon, sinking two destroyers.  They also send attacks against Luzon Island.  The battleship California is damaged by the Japanese.  On 28 October Davison and Bogan take over and in air operations and ground-attack mission on 28 and 29 October they destroy almost 100 Japanese aircraft for the loss of just 15.  The carrier Intrepid is slightly damaged by a Kamikaze attack.  On 20 October two more carriers are badly hit by suicide attacks as the ships of TF 38 begin to withdraw to Ulithi.

October 28

Around Dagami the US attacks only make slow progress and there are heavy losses.  In the north of the island there is a fierce engagement near Carigari where the advance of 1st Cavalry Division is held up.

October 29

On Leyte, Abuyag, south of Dulag, falls to the US forces.  Elsewhere Catmon Hill is cleared of one or two final pockets of resistance and the advance to Dagami continuer.

October 30

ber Dagami on Leyte is taken by an attacking regiment from the 7th Infantry Division.

The Japanese forces receive reinforcements at their bas at Ormoc on Leyte.  General Suzuki now commands the Thirty-fifth Army which includes the original 16th Division and the newly arrived 30th and 102nd.  In the American advance 7th Division takes Babay.  Offshore one US destroyer is sunk and five badly hit in suicide and conventional bombing attacks.

November 1

The Japanese forces receive 2000 reinforcements at their base at Ormoc on Leyte.  General Suzuki now commands over Thirty-fifth Army which includes the original 16th Division and the newly arrived 30th and 102nd.  In the American advance 7th Division takes Baybay.  Offshore one US destroyer is sunk and five badly hit in suicide and convention attacks.

Novembe4 4

On Leyte there are American advances west of Dagami around the feature known as "Bloody Ridge"

November 5-6

Admiral McCain, who has replaced Mitscher in command of TF 38, leads three groups of the force in attacks on targets on Luzon and the waters nearby.  Among the carriers involved is the new Ticonderoga.  The American lose 25 planes and manage to destroy about 400 of the Japanese force.  One Japanese cruiser is sunk by submarine attack and a second badly damaged and forced to beach.  The US carrier Lexington is badly damaged by Kamikazes.

November 7

On Leyte, the US 96th Division completes the capture of Bloody Ridge wiping out the last Japanese pockets.  Near the north coast at Carigara the American advance is held for the moment.

November 9

Further Japanese reinforcements, 2000 men of 26th Division land at Ormoc on Leyte but the transporting warships are forced to retire before all the supplies are ashore.

November 10

AThe fighting near Carigara is still fierce.  There is a small amphibious move by units of 24th Division west along the north coast from Carigara toward Belen.

November 11

A Japanese convoy is attacked off Ormoc by planes from eight carriers from TF 38.  Four destroyers and one minesweeper are sunk as well as five transports with nearly 10,000 troops.

November 13-14

McCain's carriers once more attack shipping and targets on Luzon especially near Manila.  One cruiser and four destroyers are sunk by the carrier planes.

November 19

McCain's carriers carry out further attacks on Luzon and shipping targets in Manila Bay.  They sink one cruiser and three other vessels.

November 21

On Leyte the US advance by 32nd Division from the north coast is strongly held in the Ormoc Valley.  The 7th Division also begins to try to move toward Ormoc; attacking north around Baybay.

November 25

The US advance is being held in most sectors of Leyte.  One US paratroop unit is advancing in the difficult terrain west of Burauen TG 38.2 and TG 38.3 again attack Luzon and the waters nearby.  Seven American carriers are involved and they sink the cruisers  Kumano and Yusoshima.  In return Kamikaze attacks damage four of the carriers.

November 27

The battleship Colorado and two light cruisers are damaged in suicide attacks in Leyte Gulf.  On Leyte the Japanese attacks around Burauen continue and are reinforced by a small parachute unit.  They come close to taking the Burauen airfield.

November 28

On Leyte there are more Japanese night attacks in all sectors.  The heaviest pressure is at Kilay Ridge in the north and around Buri and Buraen.

November 29

The Japanese attacks continue on Kilay Ridge on Leyte but in fact they lose ground to later US counterattacks.

December 7

Early in the day the US 77th Division (General Bruce) land about a mile south of Ormoc on Leyte.  The Japanese resistance is not particularly fierce.  The escorting naval forces include 12 destroyers, one of which is sunk by a suicide attack.  The US 7th Division which is already attacking north toward Ormoc along the coast, makes good progress in its advance.

December 8

The newly landed 77th Division makes an important advance to within a mile of Ormoc.  In the center of Leyte part of the Japanese 26th Division attacks near Buri but is beaten off.

December 10

Ormoc is taken by the US 77th Division.  Ormoc has been the main Japanese base on the island of Leyte.  The main Japanese forces are now northwest of Ormoc, especially at and near Polompon.

December 14-16

To cover the landings on Mindoro there are intensive attacks on airfields throughout Luzon by planes of TF 38.  Admiral McCain now commands this force and it includes thirteen carriers and eight battleships as well as the usual complement of cruisers and destroyers.  Of the 1670 missions flown all but 250 are by fighters.  The Americans lose 65 planes, the Japanese 170.

December 15

There are US landings at San Augustin on Mindoro.  There is almost no resistance and the forces advance inland up to eight miles.  General Dunckel is in command and his troops include part of the 24th Division and a parachute Regiment.  The naval cover includes three battleships and six escort carriers.  One of the carriers and two destroyers are hit by Kamikazes.

December 16

There is considerable air activity with the Japanese attacking American shipping and the Americans replying with strikes against the Japanese air bases.  On Mindoro the landing force does not attempt an advance but confines itself to construction work on an airstrip and to consolidating the perimeter.

December 18

TF 38 retiring to refuel and replenish  after the recent attacks on Luzon, is caught in a violent typoon along with the units of the fleet train.  Three destroyers are sunk and the damaged ships include three fleet carriers, four escort carriers, four escort carrieres and 11 destroyers.

December 19

The Japanese decide that they can do no more to send reinforcements or supplies to Thirty-fifth Army on Leyte.  The fighting continues north of Ormoc and throughout the northwest of the island.

December 21

The advances of US X Corps and XXIV Corps meet in the center of the Ormoc Valley on Leyte.  There are still various groups of Japanese holding isolated positions in the area.

December 22

On Leyte the main Japanese forces are now near Polompon, and this will be the main American objective for the next few days.

December 25

Part of the US 77th Division is moved by sea from Ormoc to San Juan on the west coast of Leyte north of Palompon.  There is no opposition to the landing.

December 26

A Japanese naval force which has come from Indochina bombards the American beachhead in Mindoro.  There are two cruisers and six destroyers in the attack.  One destroyer is sunk by the an American PT-boat.  This is the last sortie by a Japanese naval force in the Philippines Area.

December 31

There are vicious Japanese counterattacks on several part of the northwest of Leyte, but the American forces beat them off with heavy losses.  Elsewhere on the island the Japanese resistance is all but over.  In the battle for Leyte Japanese casualties have been around 70,000 almost all killed.  The American casualties have been 15,500 dead and