Chapter VIII

1 The severity of this bombardment accounted in great measure for the initial ease of the Allied landings. In addition to forcing the enemy from many of his beach entrenchments, it seriously disrupted his entire communication system. General Tomochika stated: " The positions of the 16th Division Artillery Regiment along the first line of defense were subjected to a severe pre-landing naval bombardment which resulted in the destruction of a great number of its field pieces. Regimental radio-telegraphic communications were disrupted by this bombardment, and direct communications with the 35th Army and with the 14th Area Army Headquarters in Manila were never re-established. Direct liaison between regiments and smaller units of the division could no longer be carried out effectively." loth Information and Historical Service, HQ Eighth Army, Staff Study of Operations of the Japanese 35th Army on Leyte, Part I (R). Hereinafter cited as: Eighth Army, Staff Study, Leyte.

2 General MacArthur's radio broadcast, 20 October 1944.

3 Although the Japanese had anticipated the landings at Dulag, they were not prepared for a direct assault on Tacloban and had even located their division headquarters there, thinking it would be well behind the battlefront. "We had misestimated the location of the initial enemy landings," said General Tomochika, " and consequently our defense in the area was very weak. We had estimated that there was a greater possibility of an enemy landing in the Dulag area since it was at the entrance to Leyte Gulf, instead of at Tacloban which was almost at the upper extreme end of the Gulf. The strategy employed by the enemy in landing at our weak spots can be attributed to the splendid intelligence system of the enemy, aided at times by the guerrilla agents who had infiltrated into our lines and had sent out vital information concerning our troop dispositions." Interrogation Files, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.

4 See Plate No. 55, "Enemy Ground Dispositions, 30 September 1944," Chapter VII.

5 GHQ, SWPA, Special Communique, 20 Oct 44.

6 GHQ, SWPA, Communique No. 931, 25 Oct 44.

7 To protect their possessions against the Allied advance, the Japanese had developed an elaborate strategy of combined and interdependent Army, Navy, and Air Force actions known as Sho operations. These operations were intended to cover four critical areas of probable attack : Sho No. 1 applied to the Philippines; Sho No. 2, to Formosa, the Nansei Shoto (Ryukyu Islands) and southern Kyushu; Sho No. 3, to Shikoku, Honshu, and the Nampo Shoto (Southern Islands); Sho No. 4, to Hokkaido. The suddenness of the Leyte landings, together with the heavy losses in the battle off Formosa, caused several hurried modifications, although the main theme of the plan remained the same. Simultaneous operations would be undertaken by powerful naval and air forces against the Allied invasion units and landing points while, under cover of these movements, intensive attempts would be made to land troop reinforcements in the threatened area. Sho No. 1 was activated on 18 October as soon as the Japanese had ascertained that the Allied attack on Leyte was the main invasion effort.

8 USSBS, The Campaigns of the Pacific War, p. 281.

9 In a report of 10 January 1945, Admiral Kinkaid commented on the background for the assumption that the Japanese surface fleet would come out in force in case the Philippines were attacked: " The reconstruction of the Japanese fleet, after the sweeping Blue [U. S.] air victory over Truk on February 17th, into a strong task force organization termed the First Mobile Fleet; the capture of the 'Z' Operations Orders issued by the Combined Fleet Staff on March 8th, detailing the circumstances in which that fleet would be used to counter the Blue offensives; the fact that the striking force was brought out by the Japanese in mid June to engage our forces in defense of the Marianas-all these factors, and many others combined to provide the background of subsequent intelligence bearing more directly on probable Japanese reactions to Blue landings in the Philippines. By September it was clear that the striking force... had been readied for use in the immediate future. The 7th Fleet Intelligence Officer, in a Staff memo on 24 September, estimated that the 2 diversion attack forces comprising the tactical organization of the First Mobile Fleet would be utilized for the defense of the Philippines, with a probable strength of 4-5 BB, II CA, 2 CL, 22 DD, plus 2 XCV-BB, 2 CV, 4 CVL." COM7thFLT Report Serial No. 000107 to CINCSWPA, 10 Jan 45.

10 A G-2 report of the time contained the following latest available information on the location of major enemy fleet units:





NE Area







1 u/s












































G-2, GHQ, SWPA, Special Intelligence Bulletin, No. 526, 15/16 Oct 44, Appendix 1.

11 Naval estimate, "Japanese Fleet Possibilities-King-Two Operation," 4 Oct 44, G-3, GHQ, SWPA Journal, 4 Nov 44. The following significant estimate of the possibility of Japanese fleet intervention in the Philippines appears in this report : "The surface danger to the King-Two Amphibious Forces lies in the First Diversion Attack Force, [under Adm. Kurita] ... (unless it is previously damaged by air. It is a typical Tokyo Express based at Brunei Bay , at present out of range of land-based and seaborne air but within striking distance of the landing force area. If the last half of the distance is negotiated during darkness its approach can only be detected by a submarine or airborne surface-search radar. Islands along the approach will cause protective shadows on other radars. That force already has received a directive to attack the Invasion Force at night.... If our bombardment forces retire to seaward at night Surigao Strait becomes an open back door. It must be assumed therefore that the Japanese Second Diversion Attack Force [Adm. Shima's Force] (battleships) will attempt to create diversions which are calculated to draw off our slow battleships, and our cruisers and destroyers, from screening positions in the vicinity of Surigao Strait. Conclusions are that an enemy night striking force is poised to attack the King-Two expedition through Surigao Strait, which should be forced and secured, as soon as control of the air has been obtained, at latest A-1 Day, and that surface forces superior to the enemy's First Diversion Attack Force should be maintained within intercepting distance of that force regardless of larger enemy fleet movements."

12 G-2, GHQ, SWPA, Special Intelligence Bulletin, No. 528, 17/18 Oct 44.

13 Ibid.

14 C.O.I.C. Situation Report No. 290, 17 Oct 44.

15 G-2, GHQ, SWPA, Special Intelligence Bulletin, No. 529, 18/19 Oct 44.

16 Op. cit. No. 531, 20/21 Oct 44.

17 C.O.I.C. Situation Report No. 295, 22 Oct 44.

18 G-2, GHQ, SWPA, Special Intelligence Bulletin, No. 534, 23/24 Oct 44.

19 Op. cit. No. 528, 17/18 Oct 44.

20 Ibid.

21 Op. cit. No. 531, 20/21 Oct 44.

22 Ibid.

23 Op. cit. No. 533, 22/23 Oct 44.

24 Op. cit. No. 535, 24/25 Oct 44.

25 Ibid.

26 COM7thFLT Report to COMINCH US Fleet: Report of Operation for the Capture of Leyte Island including Action Report of Engagements in Surigao Strait and off Samar Island on 25 October 1944 (King Two Operation), p. 37. Hereinafter cited as COM7thFLT Report.

27 Ibid. p. 13.

28 Ibid.

29 Ibid.

30 Ibid.

31 G-2, GHQ, SWPA, Special Intelligence Bulletin, No. 534, 23/24 Oct 44. That the movement of enemy naval combat and supply units to Coron Bay provided an important clue to Japanese intentions is evident from Admiral Kinkaid's radio message of 23 October : " I view the approach of enemy combatant ships and tankers toward Coron Bay as the first phase of the build-up. Also magnified are express runs toward Leyte. I feel it highly probable that the tanker group which arrived at Coron Bay between 0200 and 0300/1 0n 23 Oct came for the purpose of refueling a major task force of the Japanese Fleet which has been assembling for several days in southern Formosa. Submarine reports indicate 3 probable battleships approaching from the south in position to arrive Coron Bay tonight, Monday. Another group of 11 enemy ships with many radars showing could reach that Bay at about the same time. There are signs of a concentration of a large number of enemy aircraft in the Luzon area. It is extremely important that early preparations for these enemy operations be discussed. Comdrs 5 and 13 AF are requested to continue their thorough reconnaissance of Coron Bay and its approaches, and to strike day and night if practicable. COM3rdFLT is requested to strike Coron Bay at the earliest practicable time, and to extend his search as far as it is possible to the west and northwest. The primary objective is enemy combatant ships and aircraft. It is possible that enemy carriers will protect their surface forces and will strike from west of Palawan. TG 77.4 is hitting the western Visayas twice daily." COM7thFLT Radio 230142/Z to CINCSWPA et al, 23 Oct 44, G-3, GHQ, SWPA Journal, 24 Oct 44.

32 COM7thFLT Report, p. 37.

33 Ibid.

34 Ibid.

35 Admiral Kurita's formidable force was consistently underestimated in the early sightings. It was composed of the battleships, Yamato, Musashi, Nagato, Kongo, and Haruna, 10 heavy cruisers, the Atago, Maya, Takao, Chokai, Myoko, Haguro, Kumano, Suzuya, Tone, and Chikuma, 2 light cruisers, the Noshiro and Yahagi, and 15 destroyers.

36 COM7thFLT Report, p. 37.

37 The Southern Force at this time comprised 2 battleships, the Yamashiro, and Fuso, the heavy cruiser Mogami, and 4 destroyers, the Michishio, Asagumo, Yamagumo, and Shigure.

38 In General Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Area, General MacArthur's G-2 Section assessed the enemy capabilities at this time as follows: " A late report ... indicates a Japanese Task Force ... in a position ... 75 miles north by west of the northwest tip of Zamboanga Province [in the Sulu Sea].... It is apparently heading for the Mindanao Sea, presumably either to bring reinforcements to the Leyte area or possibly to make a surface attack through Surigao Strait against the southern flank of our supply line.

"A second late report states that around n00n two forces ... on a southeast course in the Sibuyan Sea were also sighted. It is considered possible that this force may proceed through San Bernardino Strait in an attempt to attack our Leyte position from the north.

"It is considered significant that no carriers have been reported in either of these sightings, thus leaving the enemy the capability of bringing his carriers down the east coast of Luzon to support the possible attacks of his converging surface forces in the Leyte area. However, it is considered more probable that the carriers will be deployed in the vicinity of Mindoro, in order that their planes may strike across the Central Philippines, possibly staging through shore bases in the Visayas. Enemy air reaction since the landing on Leyte has been very weak.... This lack of activity gives rise to the enemy capability of launching a relatively strong air attack against our naval units, possibly in support of a naval engagement...." G-2, GHQ, SWPA, Daily Summary No. 945, 2 3/ 2 4 Oct 44.

39 The light carrier Princeton was damaged so severely in these attacks that it had to be abandoned and sunk.

40 In pointing out the highly precarious position of the U.S. forces on Leyte, General MacArthur's G-2 stated:

There is no question that the Leyte position is vulnerable to the extent of U. S. Fleet availability ; it is essential that its presence is continuous in adjacent waters, east of the Philippines, to interpose continuously between our land operations and possible enemy fleet intervention, which is essentially the primary mission of our Fleet." G-2, GHQ, SWPA, Daily Summary No. 944, 22/23 Oct 44.

41 The battleship Fuso suffered minor damage in this attack which took place at 0800 on 24 October.

42 Admiral Oldendorf's fleet comprised 6 battleships, 8 cruisers, 26 destroyers, and several squadrons of torpedo boats. The battleships included some veterans of the Pearl Harbor disaster. The more modern battleships were with Admiral Halsey.

43 COM7thFLT Report p. z8.

44 Ibid. pp. 19-20.

45 Ibid. p. 21.

46 COM7thFLT Report p. 14.

47 The Japanese Northern Force actually consisted of 2 converted battleship-carriers, the Ise and Hyuga, the large carrier Zuikaku, the 3 light carriers Chitose, Chiyoda, and the Zuiho, the 3 light cruisers Oyodo, Tama, and Isuzu, and 8 destroyers.

48 William F. Halsey and J. Bryan III, Admiral Halsey's Story, (New York, 1 947) p. 214.

49 Ibid.

50 COM7thFLT Report p. 25.

51 Ibid.

52 Admiral Halsey explained the three alternatives before him at the time as follows : "1. I could guard San Bernardino with my whole fleet and wait for the Northern Force to strike me. Rejected. It yielded to the enemy the double initiative of his carriers and his fields on Luzon and would allow him to use them unmolested. 2. I could guard San Bernardino with TF 34 while I struck the Northern Force with my carriers. Rejected. The enemy's potential surface and air strength forbade half-measures; if his shore-based planes joined his carrier planes, together they might inflict far more damage on my half-fleets separately than they could inflict on the fleet intact. 3. I could leave San Bernardino unguarded and strike the Northern Force with my whole fleet. Accepted. It preserved my fleet's integrity, it left the initiative with me, and it promised the greatest possibility of surprise. Even if the Central Force meanwhile penetrated San Bernardino and headed for Leyte Gulf, it could hope only to harry the landing operation It could not consolidate any advantage, because no transports accompanied it and no supply ships. It could merely hit and run." Halsey and Bryan, op. Cit., pp. 216-217.

53 "The Northern Force carriers had left the Inland Sea with a total of 108 planes of various types on board. By 24 October, Admiral Ozawa had lost 66 planes which failed to return from reconnaissance missions and attacks directed against the Third Fleet, leaving him with 42 planes on his carrier decks at the time he was sighted by Admiral Halsey's scout planes. After Admiral Ozawa felt that he was definitely contacted by the U. S. forces, he dispatched his entire operational bomber complement of 15 planes to airfields in Luzon leaving himself with 10 inoperable bombers and 17 fighters to meet the advancing Third Fleet on 25 October." Statement by Captain Ohmae, former Senior Staff Officer of Admiral Ozawa's First Mobile Fleet, 23 Sept 48. Interrogation Files, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.

54 The escort carriers were the Fanshaw Bay, St. Lo, White Plains, Kalinin Bay, Kitkun Bay, and Gambier Bay; the destroyers were the Hoel, Heermann, and Johnston; the destroyer escorts were the Dennis, J. C. Butler, Raymond, and S. B. Roberts.

55 The escort carriers comprised the Natoma Bay, Manila Bay, Marcus Island, Kadashan Bay, Savo Island, and Ommaney Bay; the destroyers consisted of the Haggard, Franks, and Hailey; and the destroyer escorts were the R. W. Suesens, Abercrombie, Leroy Wilson, and W. C. Wann.

56 This group had the following escort carriers: Sangamon, Suwannee, Santee, and Petrof Bay; the destroyers were the McCord, Tratben, and Hazelwood and the destroyer escorts, the R. S. Bull, R. M. Rowell, Eversole, and Coolbaugh.

57 COM7thFLT Report, p. 25.

58 Ibid.

59 CINCSWPA Radio to COM3rdFLT et al, 21 Oct 44, SOPAC No. 538, C/S, GHQ, (S). General MacArthur's message was in reply to a request from Admiral Halsey regarding withdrawal of Third Fleet units from the covering of the Leyte operations. Admiral Halsey's request read: "My present operations in strategic position to meet threat of enemy fleet forces are somewhat restricted by necessity of covering your transports and other overseas movements; request early advice regarding withdrawal of such units to safe position, which will permit me to execute orderly re-arming program for my groups and allow further offensive operations." COM3rdFLT Radio to CINCSWPA et al, 21 Oct 44, SOPAC No. 537, C/S GHQ, (TS).

60 COM7thFLT Report p. 27.

61 Halsey and Bryan, op. Cit., p. 219.

62 Ibid.

63 Op. Cit. p. 220. Vice Adm. Willis A. Lee was commander of the battleships under Admiral Halsey.

64 Ibid.

65 Ibid.

66 Ibid.

67 There has been much speculation and controversy regarding Admiral Kurita's crucial decision to break off the battle at this point and return to the north rather than continue on to Leyte Gulf. Perhaps the most concise summary of the reasons behind this move is given by Rear Adm. Tomiji Koyanagi, Admiral Kurita's chief of staff. "One reason", Admiral Koyanagi stated, "was that the Second Diversion Attack Force [Admiral Shima] reported the almost complete destruction of Admiral Nishimura's force.... The second reason was that Nishimura's force meant to go into the Bay in the morning and our force was to have entered at 0600 to coordinate but the approach of our force was greatly delayed. After the battle off Samar we finally decided that the cooperation of the two forces would not be effected at all, and if we ever decided to go into the Bay, the interval would be too much. The third reason, we intercepted a telephone message sent by your carrier to get reinforcements. We also intercepted an answer to the telephone call to the effect that it would be two hours before reinforcements of planes arrived; that is to say by the time we entered this Bay. We thought that planes would have come out and that warships would have come out and that the transports would have dispersed enough so that only a part would have been inside; they would escape from the danger zone. We figured by that time that the transports might have heard of the battle and started already in the morning. The fourth reason, we intercepted again a telephone message sent by carrier to the planes to the effect that all planes should go to Leyte shore strips; and also we thought reinforcement of the American carriers might come along and so your force would be very big, carriers and land-based planes, and it would not be advisable to go into this danger zone and be a target for attack by shore and reinforced carrier planes in narrow waters. The fifth reason, we surmised that your American Task Force might come down from the north; so after we failed to destroy this first American force, we thought that if we came back north now we might encounter another American Task Force, but we were very regretful that we failed to destroy your first American force. The sixth reason, if we continued the battle here at Leyte, it would consume more fuel; that was another reason for cruising north instead of staying around. We had no tankers anywhere around." USSBS, Interrogation of Japanese Officials, Vol. I, pp. 151-152.

68 As a result of the Samar Battle the Japanese lost the three heavy cruisers Chokai, Suzuya, and Chikuma and one destroyer. The U. S. Navy lost the escort carriers Saint Lo and Gambier Bay, the destroyers, Hoel and Johnston, and the destroyer escort S. B. Roberts. The escort carriers Sangamon, Suwannee, Santee, Fanshaw Bay, White Plains, and Kalinin Bay were also damaged as was the destroyer Heermann and the destroyer escorts Dennis and R. M. Rowell.

69 Rear Adm. C. A. F. Sprague Report to COMINCH, Action Against the Japanese Main Body off Samar, 29 Oct 44, G-3, GHQ, SWPA Journal (S).

70 COM3rdFLT Radio 251317/Z to CINCSWPA et al, 25 Oct 44, SOPAC No. 544, C/S GHQ (S).

71 Japanese Second Demobilization Bureau Report, Philippine Area Naval Operations, Part II.

72 The total losses inflicted on the Japanese Navy during the operations described were 3 battleships, 4 carriers, 9 cruisers, and 9 destroyers.

73 CINCSWPA Radio 291311/Z to CINCPOA, 29 Oct 44, C/S, GHQ, SOPAC No. 545. (S).

74 The precarious air situation in the Leyte Gulf area was fully reported by the U. S. Navy at the time. "At present our control of the air is not satisfactory," said Admiral Kinkaid in his radio of 27 October. "Enemy air has been attacking in force for the past 72 hours, disrupting our unloading, refueling, and rearming. The activation of our dromes is being delayed as a result of enemy raids. Heavy combat air patrol is required and strikes against enemy airfields needed until enemy air strength is materially reduced. The support of at least 1 and preferably 2 fast carrier groups is required until we have control of the area. Remaining CVE's must refuel on 28 October, and can supply no planes. Army air squadrons are moving into the fields today, but difficult field conditions make doubtful effective operation." COMTF77 Radio 270221/Z to COM3rdFLT, CINCSWPA et al, 27 Oct 44, G-3, GHQ, SWPA Journal, 28 Oct 44 (S). On 26 October Admiral Halsey had reported as follows: "Two carrier groups will furnish support at Leyte on 27 Oct ; after 17 days of fighting our fast carrier force is virtually out of bombs, torpedoes, and provisions and pilots are exhausted ; I am unable to provide any extended direct air support. When will your shore-based air take over air defense at the objective?" COM3rdFLT Radio 261235 to CINCSWPA et al, 26 Oct 44, 385 Plan 21, G-3, GHQ, Adm (TS).

75 "Up until October 1944, "stated General Utsunomiya," strategy in the Philippines had been defensive in the Visayas and Mindanao areas and offensive in Luzon.... The strategy ... did not directly change after the arrival of General Yamashita. The forces, according to General Yamashita's plan were still to delay the American units as long as possible to allow preparations for the meeting and annihilation of the enemy landing on Luzon." Lt. Col. Yorio Ishikawa stated: " Prior to the American landings on Leyte, the Fourteenth Area Army's plan of defense in the Philippines was to conduct a decisive battle on Luzon through the all-out employment of air, sea, and ground forces.... When the American invasion of Leyte was commenced, the Fourteenth Area Army was ordered to carry out a decisive battle on Leyte in spite of the fact that the Commanding General Yamashita, Chief of the General Staff Muto, and the majority of the staff members favored a decisive battle on Luzon." Interrogation Files, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.

76 Interrogation of General Yamashita after his capture on Luzon disclosed that he " insisted that sending reinforcements to Leyte was not his idea ; that he was against committing additional strength and that the reinforcements were sent on orders from higher headquarters." G-3, Sixth Army, Combat Notes, Vol. X, p. 20 (R).

77 The guerrilla information net in the Philippines, backed by numerous radio stations, furnished valuable data in this critical period. The late General Roxas, first President of the Philippine Republic, helped to establish contacts in Manila in the highest circles. Through these channels important plans and major decisions of the Japanese High Command became known in fragmentary form. Messages were usually relayed to General MacArthur's Headquarters via Mindoro where an important radio outlet was maintained by SWPA secret agents.

78 The strategic consequences of this move were described by Maj. Chuji Kaneko, staff officer of the 102nd Division: "Our naval intelligence had estimated that the channel [between Leyte and Samar] could not be penetrated by boats, except small native boats. Elements of an American Division, I believe it was the 24th Division, made their way through the straits in small boats and barges from Tacloban and emerged onto Carigara Bay, where they effected landings on Barugo and Carigara. This surprise maneuver caught us off guard and upset the Thirty-fifth Army's plans to recapture Tacloban, since our units advancing on Tacloban by way of Carigara had now to contend with these troops that had now established positions to the south of Carigara." Interrogation Files, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC. This maneuver of the 1st Cavalry Division also prevented the intended landing of the enemy 68th Brigade on north Leyte for a pincer drive on the X Corps forces. Eighth Army, Staff Study, Leyte.

79 The Japanese were unable to retake Carigara. In the words of General Tomochika, " the loss of Carigara was a stunning blow to Japanese defense plans, especially to the 16th Division, whose main force was in the Dagami area, because Carigara was a key center of supply and communication to the entire Leyte Valley. Furthermore Carigara was important as a port for direct supplies by sea from Luzon...." Eighth Army. Staff Study, Leyte.

80 G-2, GHQ, SWPA, Daily Summary, No. 977, 28/29 Nov 44.

81 The Japanese planned to use these two newly arrived divisions in a drive northwestward to secure the Carigara-Jaro sector. The general plan for the defense of Leyte was divided into three phases. Phase One: The 16th Division, reinforced, was to hold the line running through Burauen, Dagami, and northward in order to contain the United States forces on the east coast. Phase Two: By the middle of November, the bulk of the incoming reinforcements was to concentrate behind the 16th Division in the sector from Carigara to Jaro. The 1st Division was expected to occupy the area southeast of Carigara and later be joined by the 102nd Division and the 68th Brigade. The 26th Division was to advance from Ormoc, traverse the mountains and occupy the sector south of the 1st Division below Jaro. The 16th Division was to be further strengthened by the arrival of the main force of the 30th Division. Phase Three: A large-scale attack was to be launched on Leyte together with diversionary attacks against the rear lines from Samar. Interrogation of Col. Junkichi Okabayashi, Chief of Staff, Japanese 1st Division. Eighth Army, Staff Study, Leyte.

82 G-2, GHQ, SWPA, Daily Summary, No. 972, 19/20 Nov 44.

83 CINCSWPA Radio 130248/Z to COM7thFLT et al, 13 Nov 44, ANF No. 115, C/S GHQ (S).

84 The Japanese countermeasures were described by General Tomochika: "The 1st Division was sent along the road north from Ormoc and then eastward along Carigara Bay to attack the American forces in the Carigara area. At the same time the 26th Division was sent over the mountains to attack in the direction of Jaro. The battle to re-take Carigara never took place because, before the 1st Division could reach Carigara, American forces had landed near Pinamopoan and engaged the advance elements of the 1st Division. The 1st Division was compelled to divert its attention to repelling this landing force.... The best that the 1st Division could do was to set up battle lines along the mountains behind Pinamopoan." Eighth Army, Staff Study, Leyte.

85 Faulty intelligence caused the Japanese to commit a serious mistake in this action. "According to the information received from the 16th Division Headquarters, the important cross-island road from Baybay to Abuyog had been rendered impassable through the demolition of bridges and by bomb craters; therefore, no provisions were made to defend this road nor was it considered as a route of advance for Japanese units. The information proved to be erroneous and the mistake, made when the 35th Army failed to verify this information, resulted in great losses when the American 7th Division advanced westward along this road and flanked the 35th Army positions." Interrogation of General Tomochika. Eighth Army, Staff Study, Leyte.

86 CINCPOA Radio 292349/Z to CINCSWPA et al, 29 Nov 44, Navy No. 576, C/S GHQ (S).

87 The postponement of the Mindoro operation came as a great relief to the Third Fleet, as explained by Admiral Halsey: ". . . the strain of the Kamikaze attacks, on top of our long stretch of combat, made an adequate rest period obligatory at once. MacArthur's next move, the invasion of Mindoro, was scheduled for December 5. We hated to request a postponement, but there was no help for it. Almost as soon as his obliging reply was decoded, we turned our prows toward Ulithi." Admiral Halsey's Story, p. 234.

88 "The Ormoc landing came as a complete surprise because the strait between Bohol and the southern coast of Leyte had been mined and Japanese Army Headquarters considered that not even LSTs could navigate through these waters. Furthermore, it was thought that the Bohol Straits were controlled by the Japanese navy and that the Americans would not attempt a maneuver so daring as a movement of troop transports into the landlocked waters. Because of these considerations, the defense of the Ormoc area had been limited to the 35th Army Port Unit (Mitsui), reserve elements of the 26th Infantry Division, and the right wing detachment of the 35th Army. These poorly equipped forces resisted stubbornly but were soon driven from the beaches. The Mitsui Port Unit was forced into the hills south of Ormoc. A counterattack was launched by the Imabori detachment on the night of the 8th, only to be re pulsed. By the 11th, Ormoc had been completely overrun." Interrogation of General Tomochika. Eighth Army, Staff Study, Leyte.

89 The U. S. destroyers Ward and Malian were so severely hit in this enemy attack that they had to be abandoned and sunk.

90 GHQ, SWPA, Communique No. 975, 8 Dec 44.

91 The plight of the Japanese which resulted from the seizure of their supplies is told by Colonel Okabayashi:

"On or about the third of December 1945, Japanese ships landing at Ormoc brought about a half month's supply of f00d and ammunition for the Japanese troops on Leyte. The American forces who landed near Ormoc on 7 December captured almost all of these supplies. Consequently, all Japanese troops on Leyte after the 1st of December were on a starvation diet and were compelled to live off the land gathering whatever they could find such as coconuts, bananas, papayas, native potatoes, a variety of grasses, bamboo shoots, and the heart fibres of coconut tree trunks. A powder of meal, prepared from native potatoes was used for making a crude bread." Eighth Army, Staff Study, Leyte.

92 GHQ, SWPA, Communique No. 979, 12 Dec 44.

93 HQ Sixth Army, Report of the Leyte Operation, pp. 77 - 79.

94 GHQ, SWPA, Communique No. 993, 26 Dec 44 .

95 The testimony of Admiral Fukudome, Commander, Second Air Fleet, July 1944 to 15 January 1945, tells the story of the defeat of the Japanese Naval Air Force in the Philippines: " Myself, together with my colleagues on the spot, felt that victory at Leyte was absolutely indispensable; and those in General Headquarters were of the same opinion. So there was agreement that every possible plane, as well as all possible Army forces, should be sent to the Philippines . I believe that up to the middle of December, the total air strength of between 600 and 700 planes was maintained. After that, however, replacement could not be continued to keep up that level. The losses increased as time passed and, from the middle of December, replacement could not keep pace with our losses; and by the early part of January, I had lost practically all of my planes, my air force had been practically wiped out. Replacements were not getting through owing to operations of your air force." USSBS, Interrogation of Japanese Officials, Vol II, p. 502.

96 The following is a brief historical resume of the enemy divisions which were engaged in the fighting on Leyte . The Japanese 1st Division from the Tokyo area was shipped directly to Leyte from Manchuria in November 1944 and was decimated in the northern Ormoc Corridor. The 16th Division from central Japan had participated in China operations and in the battle for Bataan; it remained in the Philippines and was the main force employed in the early phases of the Leyte fighting. The 26th Division had previously been stationed in North China and then on Luzon; it suffered heavy losses in convoy en route to Leyte and was destroyed in the final phases of the defense of the southern sector. The 102nd Division, activated in the central Visayas, was sent to Leyte in late October, and was defeated in the northern Ormoc Corridor. The 68th Brigade came to Manila from Formosa in December 1944 and was trapped on the west coast in the Palompon-San Isdro area. Elements of the 8th Division were committed in the Valencia sector where they were destroyed or driven into the hills.

97 The swift inland drive of the U. S. forces caught the Japanese unawares: "We had thought," said General Tomochika, "that the Allies, after landing, would try to secure their beachheads before proceeding with their advance; however, the enemy rather caught us off guard with their tactics of immediately starting their penetration inland even before their newly won beachheads had been secured." Interrogation Files, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.

98 In a staff study dated 20 September 1944, Japanese Imperial General Headquarters stated: "The enemy has detailed information of our troop distribution in the Philippines." ATIS, G-2, GHQ, SWPA, Current Translations, No. 148, 6 Feb 45. Concerning intelligence in operations General Tomochika declared: " American intelligence was so far superior that a comparison is useless. It seemed to me as if we were fighting our battles blindfolded, while the enemy seemed to have ten times the intelligence we possessed." Major Kazuo Taguchi, Fourteenth Area Army staff officer, acknowledged that the " lack of an effective intelligence system and the ultimate failure to surmise correctly the mobility and speed of the American forces and the time and place of their actual landing attempts " was one of three "major Japanese mistakes." Said Colonel Kobayashi: "We had no inside information on American pre-invasion preparations. From ship movements and radio message traffic count we could estimate the probable site of landings. By past tactics and strategy, we were able to estimate the force, the method of landing and the time to some extent. We had no other intelligence." Interrogation Files, G-2 Historical Section, GHQ, FEC.

99 A summary of the cumbersome Japanese command situation in the Philippines is contained in a report by the U. S. Sixth Army: "General Yamashita's immediate superior was Field Marshal Terauchi, Commander of the Southern Army, which had its headquarters at Saigon and comprised the Malaya, Burma, French Indo-China. N.E.I., New Guinea , Solomons, Admiralty Islands, and Philippines area. Although General Yamashita came into direct command of all ground forces and of air and naval troops on Leyte and Luzon at the time of the U.S. landings on each of these islands, all tactical air units in the Philippines remained under Terauchi's direct command, and General Yamashita had no control over their employment. At the same time, all naval fleet units were controlled directly from Tokyo . This command set-up permitted no co-ordination of the three services and was a constant source of discord throughout the campaigns. Thus, for example, Yamashita knew nothing of the intents of the Japanese Fleet off Leyte until five days before the historic 24-25 October actions." Sixth Army, Combat Notes, Vol X, p. 19.

100 General MacArthur's long and brilliant record in the service of his country won him promotion to the newly created rank of General of the Army on 18 December 1944.

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