Title Banner: The Army Air Forces in World War II

Chapter 13

AS SUBSEQUENTLY viewed by General Kenney, the whole Leyte operation was "unsound from the very beginning unless the Jap was definitely on the down grade."1 The supposition that his power was declining proved to be correct enough, but the experience at Leyte served to emphasize the soundness of SWPA's traditional pattern of attack: the advancement of ground, naval, and land-based air forces in coordinated moves, with new beachheads always kept within the normal fighter-escorted bomb line. Carrier-based air power had again demonstrated that it was a superior striking force when operating independently and an acceptable supporting force when properly integrated with land-based aviation, but that it was no suitable substitute for land-based bombers and fighters in the support of a beachhead. In the further development of SWPA operations, this lesson was not forgotten.2

The Revised Pacific Strategy

Having accelerated the target date for Leyte, the JCS had intensified their discussions of the Formosa versus Luzon issue. Despite apparent enthusiasm for an invasion of Formosa, Navy planners had not solved the problem of finding the troops for such a campaign,3 and a logistical study prepared by the Army Service Forces in August had found Luzon to be a more practical operation than Formosa.4 Casualty expectations furnished another telling point in favor of Luzon. While SWPA's casualty rates had always been low, estimates based upon POA's experience at Saipan (where American casualties had been 17,000 in overcoming an enemy force estimated at 20,000) indicated that casualties at Formosa might reach a prohibitive figure of


25,000.5 The Joint Logistics Committee reported on 26 September that resources were available to undertake the invasion of Luzon by 20 December, but it saw no way to obtain forces for Formosa until three months after a German surrender.6 This target date far Luzon had been suggested by MacArthur,7 and was stipulated in his own revised strategic plan (MUSKETEER III) of 26 September.8 Tactically similar to its antecedents, the new plan proposed a combined airborne and water movement on 5 December to southwest Mindoro (LOVE III), where air units would be installed to protect convoys in waters west of the main Philippine Islands and to soften the invasion areas on Luzon. If carrier-based air could not insure uninterrupted transit of naval assault shipping through the straits north of Luzon, it might become necessary to land at Aparri (LOVE II) on 20 December, so as to establish air and light naval facilities. This would delay the main landing on Luzon until about 15 February 1945, but it was assumed that the Aparri operation could be dispensed with. Accordingly, two SWPA corps with support from the Pacific Fleet would be prepared to seize a beachhead at Lingayen Gulf (MIKE I) on 20 December 1944. Thereafter, an airborne division dropped in the central plains of Luzon would speed the drive toward Manila. If it became necessary to turn the Japanese flank, one corps would land at Dingalan Bay on the east coast (MIKE II) between 10 and 20 January 1945.

In Washington, discussions of strategy had been joined to proposals for a change in the command of Army forces in the Pacific. MacArthur in August had urged upon OPD representatives that a single commander be designated for all Army forces in the Pacific with authority equal to that of Nimitz, who actually controlled most of the naval resources in the Pacific; General Hull had returned from his visit to the two theaters* convinced that POA leadership for Army troops in the Marianas had not been adequate.9 On 22 September General Marshall formally proposed a solution to the problem of troop shortages: all Army resources in the Pacific, except those essential for POA defensive and logistical establishments, should be made available to MacArthur, who would undertake the occupation of Luzon on 20 December and would plan to invade Formosa as soon as possible thereafter. All planning for operations subsequent to Luzon, however, should be kept flexible in case invasions of the Ryukyus or

* See above, pp. 284-86.


even of Kyushu might become advisable instead of Formosa. Nimitz was to furnish necessary naval support to SWPA, and to plan the seizure of positions in the Bonins and Ryukyus with the aid of U.S. Marines.10 Maj. Gen. L. S. Kuter, AC/AS, Plans, considered the proposal "a great stride forward" and recommended to Arnold full AAF support so long as the status of the Twentieth Air Force was not affected.11

Opposition to this plan came from Admiral King, who on 23 September set forth at length his objections to such an arrangement until the Japanese fleet had been destroyed and U.S. naval power was firmly implanted on Formosa and the adjacent China coast.12 Even then, he felt the over-all command belonged to Nimitz. Though he favored the earliest possible seizure of the northern Philippines, King described MacArthur's estimate of six weeks for the capture of Luzon as optimistic and insisted that it would be impossible to keep the Pacific Fleet off Luzon for that length of time. The Chief of Naval Operations then proposed that Nimitz be directed to support SWPA in a movement northward through the Philippines to Luzon but, on his own, to occupy Formosa-Amoy on 1 February 1945. Two days later, King submitted to the JCS seventeen points of comparison between the Luzon and Formosa operations, most of them to show that the latter was more attractive.13 On examination of this paper, however, Army Service Forces thought that logistical problems had been slighted; the weight of the argument still favored Luzon.14

Nimitz, meanwhile, had begun to discount the necessity for a base on the China coast, influenced apparently by the prospect of a naval base at Leyte Gulf and by Japanese ground victories in China. Turning his eye from the China coast toward Japan, he suggested to his subordinates that Iwo Jima and Okinawa might better serve as immediate objectives for POA.15 Nimitz evidently persuaded King to accept this view at a conference in San Francisco late in September, for King returned to Washington as sponsor for such a plan. On 2 October, the day of his return, he submitted to the JCS a proposal that CINCPOA, failing to acquire sufficient troops for Formosa, be directed to employ his forces against Iwo Jima on 20 January 1945 and against Okinawa on 1 March 1945. MacArthur, supported by Nimitz in an invasion of Luzon on 20 December 1944, would support POA in the assault on Okinawa. The necessary directive was approved by the JCS on 3 October substantially as King had written it.16 The question


of a unified Army command for the Pacific was dropped, pending maturity of plans for an assault on the Japanese home1and.17

Seizure of Southwest Mindoro

From the point of view of both topography and weather Mindoro was well suited as an advanced air base for the movement to Luzon. Lying on the southern flank of Luzon and separated from it by the eight-mile-wide Verde Island passage, Mindoro is roughly oval in shape with a northern prolongation bending to the west. About ninety-five miles long by fifty miles wide, the island ranks seventh in size among the Philippines. It has relatively little steep coast line on the west side despite a mountainous north-south range in the center which provides shelter and causes southwestern Mindoro's dry season to coincide with the northeast monsoon, a season usually lasting from December through May. The southwestern end of the island, with the town of San Jose and its surrounding sugar plantations, is relatively isolated from the rest of the island, but this area offered good local roads and a narrow-gauge railway. The coastal cane fields promised much better terrain for airfields than the rice paddies of Leyte, and Japanese interest in Mindoro had been slight: not more than 1,000 Japanese troops, scattered in small detachments, garrisoned the island.18

SWPA issued a final staff study for the operation on 11 October and followed it with formal operations instructions two days later.19 The Sixth Army was to send the 503d Parachute Regiment from Leyte to seize the area around San Jose in an airborne assault on 5 December (U-day). On U plus 1, the 19th RCT was to land amphibiously and assist in establishing a perimeter defense. About U plus 10 the Eighth Army was to assume control and subsequently to use the Mindoro forces to clear the whole island and threaten southwestern Luzon. Task force engineers were to build a fighter strip by U plus 5 and an additional strip suitable for light bombers by U plus 15; if airdrome potential proved suitable, other fields might be built to accommodate an expanded air garrison. Because of the pressure of the strenuous campaign on Leyte and the many uncertainties shrouding LOVE III, Sixth Army did not issue a definitive field order on Mindoro until 20 November, when the Western Visayan Task Force, commanded by Brig. Gen. W. C. Dunckel, was established and charged with the duties outlined.20


The air assignments fell chiefly to the Fifth Air Force, which was to intensify attacks on western Visayan and Luzon targets after U minus 5 to cover LOVE III convoys. The Thirteenth Air Force in conjunction with the RAAF Command was to assist the Fifth and, as a secondary mission, to continue attacks on Celebes, North Borneo, and Sulu Archipelago and to maintain the blockade of Makassar Strait. Tactical units tentatively specified for the Mindoro garrison were to be controlled there by the 310th Bombardment Wing.21

Map: San Jose Area (Mindoro)

San Jose Area

Since it was assumed at first rhat Leyte airfields would be ready before 5 December to permit sustained FEAE attacks on Luzon for cover of the Mindmo convoys, SWA had not requested carrier support. But as the target date for Mindoro approached, it became evident that even the most cautious estimates about Leyte airfields had been optimistic. By 16 November it seemed doubtful that heavy bombers could operate from Leyte against Luzon prior to U-day, or that more than two fighter groups would be available for convoy cover from Leyte.22 Next day, Whitehead took the news to a "very much disappointed" MacArthur, who was nevertheless determined to go through with the operation on 5 December. Leaving Leyte to be


defended by AA, he planned to use all the fighters for convoy cover; he had already asked Nimitz for Third Fleet strikes against enemy aircraft on Luzon and naval facilities at Manila Bay.23 Nimitz replied on the 17th that SWPA's adherence to target dates was agreeable, but Third Fleet's need for two weeks' rest prior to strikes in support of Mindoro-Luzon would prevent the use of its carriers as requested.24 SWPA, however, continued with its planning: the airborne drop was canceled--the 503d Regiment would travel in LCI's, a plan which increased the shipping to be protected from Japanese air attack. To conserve the air cover available, Rear Adm. A. D. Struble decided to combine his U-day and U plus 1 convoys, even though he would have to leave some LST's at Mindoro overnight. The Fifth Air Force continued to refuse a guarantee for neutralization of Luzon unless ASCOM could provide the fields at Leyte.25

Contacted as the Third Fleet was nearing the end of its support for Leyte, Halsey proved willing to help against Mindoro and issued radio operations orders on 24November for neutralization of hostile air forces on Luzon from U minus 1 to U plus 1 and for emergency strikes on U plus 3 and U plus 4.26 When Japanese suicide crashes on the 25th damaged four of the fast carriers, however, Nimitz at Pearl Harbor was none too pleased with Halsey's commitment. After Halsey assessed his damages, he recommended on 29 November postponement of Lingayen by ten days, and late on the same day Nimitz urged that Mindoro also be delayed. While CINCPAC thought the carriers could "to a degree" neutralize Luzon for a considerable period of time, he argued that the Mindoro operation could be rendered reasonably safe only by land-based aviation.27 Kinkaid even suggested consideration of a complete cancellation of the Mindoro operation in favor of an island-by-island advance through the Visayas.28 Faced with these arguments, MacArthur on 30 November postponed the target dates for Mindoro and Lingayen, respectively, to 15 December 1944 and 9 January 1945.29

This postponement provided time for Sixth Army's landing on 7 December at Ormoc* and for accompanying air operations. Turning increasingly from the defensive to offensive attacks on hostile Visayan airfields, Leyte's fighter-bombers, assisted by XIII Bomber Command heavies from Morotai, substantially reduced the enemy air strength in the Visayas. Allied estimates of 114 Japanese planes based there

* See above, pp. 381-83.


on 2 December had been reduced to 58 by 16 December; postwar interrogation of enemy leaders indicated that 30 planes based on Negros comprised the chief striking force in that region.30 From its rearward bases, V Bomber Command attacked targets on Mindanao and Celebes, while the 22d and 494th Groups flew from Angaur to bomb the Bicol Peninsula.31 This left the Japanese aircraft on Luzon--estimated at 359 operational planes on 9 December--for the Navy carriers, although B-24's of the 63d Squadron, staging through Tacloban from Angaur, heckled enemy airdromes on Luzon night after night. After perfecting new tactics for handling suicide attacks,* Task Force 38 sortied from Ulithi on 10-11 December and swept Luzon airfields on the 14th, 15th, and 16th. During the three days, carrier pilots claimed destruction of 270 enemy planes and 6 ships, at a cost of 27 U.S. aircraft. So successful were the new tactics that not a single bogey approached closer than twenty miles to the Third Fleet.32

There were Japanese planes left, however, and the convoy route to Mindoro remained a perilous one. From early on 13 December, when the convoy entered the Mindanao Sea, until it returned through Surigao on the 17th, it had to move through waters which were within range of numerous Japanese airfields and which were so confined as to limit defensive maneuver. Land areas looming up on radar screens hindered detection of enemy aircraft. The V Fighter Command rested its long-range fighters for several days prior to the embarkation, and the 308th Bombardment Wing, nearing the end of its duties on Leyte, prepared special diagrams and schedules for continuous air cover of the route during daylight hours. F6F night fighters were to furnish dawn and dusk patrols, and carrier aircraft from the CVE's were to augment the air cover. The planners had done their utmost.33

The first attack on the convoy came at approximately 1500 hours on the 13th, when a single-engine plane buzzed out suddenly over Siquijor Island and crashed the cruiser Nashville amidship, killing 175 men including Col. J. T. Murtha, commander of the 310th Bombardment Wing, and wounding 100. Admiral Struble shifted his flag to a destroyer and sent the cruiser back to Leyte, along with one of the

* Halsey's solution was to reduce the number of bombers and increase the complement of fighters aboard each carrier, to effect channelized return procedures for preventing Japanese planes from trailing carrier planes home, and to inaugurate constant fighter patrols over enemy bases within range of the carriers.


destroyers crashed during a flurry of dusk attacks that evening. But the enemy's attempts the next day failed. Escort carrier planes claimed thirty-four enemy aircraft, six of them on sweeps to enemy fields judged to lie too close to the track of the convoy. Land-based fighters, ordered to range outside the ships' AA defended area, made no kills.34

Having reached waters off Mindoro on the night of 14/15 December, the combat troops began landing at 0730 next morning, the 19th Infantry four miles north of Caminawit Point and the 503d Paratroopers in the vicinity of San Agustin. The few Japanese defenders fled into the hills; during U-day only five Japanese soldiers were killed and two were captured. The chief defensive reaction came in an 0850 attack by some ten to sixteen Japanese planes on the LST's the men called them "Long Slow Targets.'' Despite the loss of eight Zekes to P-38 and F4U cover, the attackers destroyed two LST's with the equipment of the 8th Fighter Group and the 418th Night Fighter Squadron aboard them. Except for this, the debarkation was smoothly accomplished. To speed unloading, the Sixth Army had sent along 1,200 men as supernumeraries, and all 25 of the remaining LST's were unloaded during U-day, a record achievement in the SWPA. The supporting group departed on the morning of U-day, the amphibious group was able to retract its ramps in the early evening, and the return voyage to Leyte was accomplished without damage.35 According to plan, the Third Fleet was to continue its strikes against Luzon to cover establishment of land-based air on Mindoro, but a typhoon materialized suddenly on the 18th and lashed the fleet so severely that it had to withdraw to Ulithi for extensive repairs. The Japanese, who had been taken by surprise at Mindoro, quickly seized the opportunity. After having flown about 100 sorties against the beachhead on U-day and U plus 1 they reinforced their Luzon air units and stepped up attacks so that Mindoro experienced 116 red alerts, during many of which several raids took place.36

For the Americans who landed at Mindoro, many of them with the mud of Leyte still on their combat boots, the countryside around San Jose seemed almost idyllic. General Dunckel was favorably impressed with his tactical situation, especially since all installations had been captured intact; within a week he had "a thundering railroad," a waterworks, an electric light plant, an ice and refrigeration plant (the latter not quite ready), and a big lumber industry.37 Landing immediately behind the infantry, an engineer survey party at 1030


hours had reached a site selected from aerial photos for the fighter strip (later named Hill Field); there, the RAAF No. 3 Airdrome Contruction Squadron and the 1874th Engineer Aviation Battalion began work at mid-afternoon. Precisely on schedule, 20 December, they completed a 5,750-foot runway and dispersals for the initial fighter group, but Hill Field was extremely dusty and, as expected, would be vulnerable to rainfall. The 866th Engineer Aviation Battalion had made a prompt beginning on another strip (Elmore Field)* located just west of the sugar mill near San Jose, and its 6,000-foot runway was ready for emergency use on 23 December, two days ahead of schedule. Elmore could be used in moderately wet weather, but the two strips (of clay and gravel) were at best temporary.38

The 8th Fighter Group--its new model P-38J's and L's serving as escort for C-47's carrying the unit's air echelon--had flown into Hill Field on 20 December. The P-38's of the 36th Squadron assumed the burden of defense at Hill even before they landed, for they were vectored out by ground control against nine Japanese aircraft which threatened the C-47's as they unloaded. The pilots had just flown the route Noemfoor-Palaus-Tacloban-Mindoro, but they shot down six of the Japanese planes, including one new Frank II, which hitherto had not been identified in SWPA. P-61's of the 418th Night Fighter also reached Hill on the 20th, and P-47's of the 58th Group the 23d, 25th, and 27th.39

These Fifth Air Force planes reached Mindoro none too soon. At 0900 hours on 24 December a Japanese naval unit, comprising one heavy cruiser, a light cruiser, and six destroyers, left Cape St. Jacques on a mission to sink Allied transports and shell the beachhead at Mindoro. Thereafter, three of the smaller destroyers were to refuel at Manila, but the rest of the unit would retire to Camranh at top speed before the Allies could bring up their own naval forces. Forewarned by submarine sightings, Dunckel dispersed his supplies inland, and SWPA search patterns were extended to the coasts of Indo-China. Air echelons of the 17th (B-25) and 110th (P-40) Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons were flown to Elmore and Hill fields on the 23d and 25th, although Elmore was still soft. But at 1600 hours on the

* Hill Field was named for Col. Bruce C. Hill, C/S Western Visayan TF, who was killed aboard the Nashville, and Elmore Field for Lt. Col. Howard S. Ellmore, CO of the 417th Bombardment Group, who was killed in action on 2 January 1945. In the latter case, official usage has perpetuated a misspelling of the name, but it has seemed inadvisable to attempt a correction in this text.


26th, when a PB4Y search plane reported what it believed to be a battleship, heavy cruiser, and six destroyers 100 miles west of Mindoro speeding toward the Allied position at 28 knots, the force available to the 310th Bombardment Wing was still extremely small for the mission. That the aid of four Allied cruisers and nine destroyers was promised by 1430 hours on the 27th was of little moment. Bomb stocks at Mindoro were not only limited, but for fighters to take bomb loads off the short and rough strips by night was extremely hazardous. Col. Jack A. Wilson, new commander of the 310th Wing, alerted all units, ordering as many planes as possible loaded with available bombs and the rest readied for strafing. Unit commanders, knowing that low-level attacks on destroyers were often fatal, hesitated to order their men on such a mission, but the crews, even though they believed they were going out to strafe a battleship, volunteered without hesitation. There was no time to coo k, even had the darkness permitted.40

At 1940 hours the first wave of planes found the vessels just offshore. Before the wild engagement was over, the full wing strength--thirteen B-25's, forty-eight P-47's, and twenty P-40's--had attacked every ship at least once. "When I saw a solid sheet of flame," reported one pilot in describing the AA "I knew I was over the vessel." Each pilot while wheeling away from the target, flashed on his running lights to avoid collision. Some planes landing in the Mindoro blackout for rearming, made as many as three strikes against the enemy vessels. Although PT boats, lurking close to shore, fired torpedoes at the silhouetted Japanese targets, only the destroyer Kiyoshimo went down, and the fleet persisted toward the beachhead, where at 2240 it fired star shells which began an ineffective forty-minute bombardment. Only one Liberty ship, which had not sought refuge behind Ilin Island as directed, was sunk. Naval gunfire and simultaneous Japanese air attacks caused little damage at Hill, but made it difficult for the airmen aloft to land. With gasoline running short, most of the pilots made as many attacks as possible and then headed through the night and bad weather for Leyte, a flight more dangerous than the Japanese AA had been. When a full count was made, losses during the engagement totaled three B-25's, seven P-38's, ten P-47's, and six P-40's. For the force engaged this was a heavy loss, but it was not in vain, for several Japanese survivors attributed the amazingly poor bombardment by their fleet to the aerial clawing


which had demolished main batteries and killed a majority of the gun crews.41 Dunckel thought that without a doubt the airmen had saved the beachhead from serious losses: "The action of our Air Units on that night," he wrote, "will stand forever . . . as one of the most gallant deeds to be established in the traditions of American fighting men."42

The continuous Japanese air offensive against Mindoro proved more damaging than this cruiser strike. Between 18 December and 7 January a minimum of 400 enemy sorties were flown into the area.* Perceiving the tenuousness of the Allied sea routes from Leyte, the Japanese wisely concentrated against shipping. The first resupply convoy heading into Mindoro on 22 December lost two LST's to about twenty Oscars and Vals which attacked out of clouds to the stern of the convoy. Five 49th Group P-38's, which the convoy controller had ordered forward of the convoy, managed to splash only one enemy plane. The second resupply convoy was attacked by some 100 enemy planes altogether, both to and from Mindoro, with the loss of 3 merchant ships, 3 LST's, 2 destroyers, and 2 LCM's. Aided by a brilliant moon (one participant called it perfect for a tourist folder but observed that the men afloat would have cheerfully shot it down), the Japanese attacked around the clock, but their most damaging attacks took place on the morning of the 28th when Leyte fields were weathered in and the Mindoro garrison, still exhausted from the fleet attack, had no fighters to send up.43

The loss of 2 tankers and the destruction on Christmas evening of the 1,000-barrel storage tank at Hill Field made it doubtful that any planes could long continue to fly from Mindoro. On 30 December Colonel Wilson notified Whitehead that with only 8,500 drums of fuel on hand he was ceasing all air effort except minimum fighter cover; until tankers arrived on the U plus 23 convoy (7 Ja could do no more. Soon the problem of ammunition became equally serious. On the morning of 28 December a Japanese plane had detonated a vessel loaded with bombs for the 310th Wing, and on 4 January another kamikaze attack exploded the ship's replacement just off San Jose. All but 300 tons of steel landing mat had been lost on

* Of the attack in planes, Mindoro-based fighters shot down fifty-five definites, and 94th AAA Group fire destroyed forty-eight others. Still other planes were shot down by fighters from Leyte and by ship AA.


29 December when the vessel from which it was being unloaded was sunk in about 60 feet of water. The 90-mm. AA guns of the task force were down to less than two units of fire by the 28th, and stocks of Air Force technical supplies, personal equipment, and even rationsth each ship sinking. The kamikaze pilots, many of whom now wore black funeral robes on their flights, threatened to deny to the Allies all the advantages of Mindoro.44

Nevertheless, Fifth Air Force continued to move air units forward he engineers could expand facilities at Hill and Elmore. nearly all of the planes of the 49th Fighter and 417th Groups and of the 82d Tactical Reconnaisance, 547th Night Fighter, 25th Photo, and 3d Emergency Rescue Squadrons were on the island. GHQ had authorized the addition of the 3d Bomp, and its ground echelon had been added to the U ,although not all of its A-20's could immediately be in Mindoro. The aggregate strength of the units forward, however, was less than the station list would indicate. Only parts of the air echelons of the 25th, 82d, and 547th Squadrons had reached Mindoro. The 17th Squadron was hamstrung by a crew 1 January Whitehead sent FEAF an urgent demand for lete crews-trained or untrained. As of that date, the roup was short seventeen P-38's, and a Japanese night anuary destroyed or damaged fifteen more P-38's and Yet, the garrison was a more powerful one than Kenney had specified for protection of the Lingayen landing: given sufficient fuel and no hard rain, it was strong enough to extend worth-while support to initial ground operations on Luzon.45

Preparations for Luzon

Flanked to the east and west by mountain ranges, the central plains of Luzon offered only two logical entrances for a major expeditionary force. From the south, the entrance was through Manila Bay, an area blocked by fortifications on Corregidor, at Cavite, and along the bay northern end of the plains was Lingayen Gulf--the "back door to Manila." Once ashore there, Allied forces could drive rapidly against Manila via a well-developed highway network and a north-south railroad, routes vulnerable only where they were bridged across swamps near Plaridel and Calumpit. En route they planned to


overrun the old American air center around Clark Field-Tarlac-Fort Stotsenburg, a center improved by the Japanese as their own major air base area on the island.46

Though geography decided that the major landing would be made at Lingayen, there were other routes for subsidiary and supporting attacks. From Subic Bay on the western coast, a road led through the Sierra Madre Mountains to Pampanga Province; a flanking attack from the Subic Bay-Zambales coast would seal off Bataan peninsula, making it impossible for the Japanese to duplicate the American delaying action of 1942.

Southwestern Luzon offered a southern approach to Manila: there were several favorable landing beaches along the coasts, and although the terrain was hilly to mountainous, there were roads and a railroad leading northward. A secondary drive from this direction would permit early seizure of Nichols and Nielson fields--the other major Japanese air center--a few miles southeast of Manila.47

In 1941 the Japanese had landed one prong of their offensive at Aparri and had driven southward through the Cagayan Valley and Balete Pass to the central plains. SWPA had been compelled by JCS pressure to plan an operation designed to seize and develop the Japanese airfield at Aparri (LOVE II ) in the event convoys were routed through Luzon Straits, but it was recognized that an overland expedition through the Cagayan Valley could easily become bottled up at Balete Pass. Northwest Luzon, lying between the Cordilleras and the sea, offered only a narrow coastal plain, traversed by a highway paralleling the coast and the Japanese airfields at Vigan and Laoag. The southeastern peninsula of Luzon-the Bicol provinces-was mountainous and so isolated from Manila as to be in effect a separate island. SWA had projected but never seriously considered a preliminary operation (LOVE VI) to capture the airfields there near Legaspi.48

These several avenues of attack complicated Japanese plans for defense of Luzon, and the Allied landing on Mindoro added further to the enemy's bewilderment. Tokyo's naval staff believed that landings would be made on the southern coasts of Luzon. The Fourth Air Army estimated that the Allies would attempt simultaneous landings at Aparri, Lingayen, and Batangas. General Yamashita looked for initial attacks on the coasts of Lingayen and Batangas, but not until late January or early February. If Japanese commanders later denied


that they had ever believed rumors planted in the American press that SWPA, delayed at Leyte, would abandon Luzon for Formosa, they badly underestimated the speed with which SWPA forces could launch their attack.49

Accepting the loss of Leyte by mid-December, Yamashita had deployed the newly organized Forty-first Army for defense of Manila, the Bicol area, and southwestern Luzon. Early in January, with the 8th Division of this army deployed in the Batangas-Nasugbu area and the 105th Division in the Bicol provinces, the main force of the Fourteenth Area Army, nearly seven divisions, was concentrating in northern Luzon. The 103d Division was at Aparri, the 19th Division at San Fernando (La Union Province), the 58th Brigade was entrenched at Lingayen with the 23d Division en route to its flank, the 10th Division and 55th Brigade were covering San Jose, and the 2d Tank Division was at Cabanatuan, under orders to move to Clark Field. The Fourteenth Area Army had about 90,000 soldiers, while supporting air units totaled about 25,000 men and navy units approximately 20,000. Yamashita's situation was so remarkably immobile, however, that he hoped to fight no more than a costly delaying campaign. Toward this end he began moving supplies out of Manila into redoubts in the hills near Baguio and the mountains east of Manila, but by the end of December only about 10,000 tons had been moved. Some of his troops from Manchuria lacked critical items of supply because of heavy losses at sea; Leyte had drained off other supplies. Because of a fuel shortage, redisposition of combat divisions necessitated marching, an exertion estimated to have cost each unit approximately 30 per cent of its physical battle strength.50

Nor was the Japanese Navy in condition to attempt more than hit-and-run strikes against a Luzon invasion. The Allies expected strong interference from submarines and from hayabusa boats, the latest agency of suicide attack perfected by the desperate Japanese. These high-speed torpedo boats, armed with a warhead of depth charges, were designed for crash attacks on Allied vessels. Shelters for them had been noted in Subic and Manila bays and along the southeast coast of Batangas; one P/W from a Batangas squadron had identified nine such squadrons on Luzon and claimed that his own unit possessed thirty such boats. The Allied Naval Forces also predicted that Lingayen Gulf, well within range of Formosa bases, would be heavily mined and that Japanese suicide aircraft, as at Mindoro, would constitute


the chief threat to the convoys. Actually, the enemy had conceded that Allied forces could quickly overrun his airfields, and the high command was reluctant to send in more planes. A Japanese naval airman later estimated that, as of 1 January 1945, no more than fifty fighters and twenty bombers were operational on Luzon. But such planes as could be prepared for flying were to be committed exclusively to "special attacks" against Allied transports en route to Luzon.51

As for Mindoro, basic SWPA instructions for the invasion at Lingayen had been issued prior to Leyte. On 12 October SWPA had charged the Sixth Army, employing I and XIV Corps, to seize and occupy beachheads in the Lingayen-Damortis-San Fernando area preparatory to an immediate campaign southward to Manila. Sixth Army directed I Corps (6th and 43d Divisions) to land in the Dagupan-Mabilao area with divisions abreast while XIV Corps (37th and 40th Divisions) took responsibility for the right flank. The 25th Division, 13th Armored Group, and 158th RCT were to provide a task force reserve afloat, to be committed between S plus 2 and S plus 4, and the 11th Airborne Division was to be prepared to undertake an airborne landing in the central plains after 1 January. Following establishment of a beachhead, ASCOM was to build a fighter strip by S plus 6 or, if soil conditions required matting, by S plus 10. MacArthur actually wished the strip operational by S plus 8, two days before he had to return the borrowed battleships to Nimitz. By S plus 15 ASCOM was to have operational a second strip built to medium bomber standards, and by S plus 45 the fighter strip was to be similarly expanded. Both strips were to be surfaced for all-weather flying.52

Kinkaid, who planned to command in person, organized his fleet units, augmented by seven old battleships and seventeen escort carriers, as the Luzon Attack Force (Task Force 77), the San Fabian Attack Force (Task Force 78) and the Lingayen Attack Force (Task Force 79).53 Third Fleet would cooperate with its fast carriers. All fast carrier groups, the old battleships, and the borrowed escort carriers would have to be released by SWPA in time to prepare for POA's operation against Iwo Jima.54

Coordination of SWPA-POA plans with forces in the Burma-India and China theaters was reached at a conference held in Hollandia


early in November. In a revision of the basic plan, it was agreed that SWA air forces would assume responsibility for neutralization of central Luzon from S minus 3 through S minus I, with Third Fleet aircraft remaining north of a line Santa Cruz-Bagabag-Cape San 11 defonso. Seventh Air Force (494th Group) heavy bombers were to deliver strikes into the Bicol provinces between S minus 15 and S minus 10,their targets being designated by AAFSWPA. The Fourteenth Air Force agreed to attack hostile air and naval targets at Hong Kong. The Twentieth Air Force was to furnish offensive reconnaissance on call after S minus 15, attack the Shinchiku-Taihoku area of Formosa from S minus 3 to S minus 1, and direct all available sorties against harbor and aircraft installations on Formosa between S minus 3 and S plus 4.55 Kenney's forces had thus assumed the major part of the air mission. In addition to normal preliminary work, the Fifth Air Force was expected to initiate land-based air activity from Lingayen bases at the earliest opportunity, installing maximum strength there by S plus 6 "in order to provide the greatest possible support in the early phases of the ground force operation." By that date, too, it was to be ready to relieve the escort carriers. The whole air garrison, under control of the 308th Bombardment Wing, was to be installed by Splus 15, on a no-dispersal basis if necessary.56

As plans were perfected during the next two months, with a postponement of S-day to 9 January 1945, close attention was given to protection of a friendly civilian population: except for clearly defined enemy installations, all targets had to be cleared with GHQ.57 Final plans for aerial and guerrilla destruction of Japanese communications were jointly devised by GHQ, the Sixth Army, and FEAF. Believing that the Japanese would blow out all bridges as they retreated, the Sixth Army wished all roads blocked south and southeast of Manila, all bridges between Manila and the Pampanga River destroyed, and all wire communications lines sabotaged after S minus 10. GHQ ordered the air forces to interdict the northwestern coastal route (Highway No. 3) at the Claveria, San Esteban, and Tagudin defiles before S minus 3, to cut rail and road routes south of Manila along Laguna de Bay between S minus 5 and S minus 3, to block Balete Pass and destroy the railway bridge east of Calauag between S minus 5 and S minus 1, and to blow out the railroad and road bridges at Plaridel and Calumpit and the road bridge at Baliuag on S minus 4. The Fifth


Air Force accepted all targets except Claveria, San Esteban, and Tagudin, which, far to the north and out of air range, were reassigned to the guerrillas.58

Assuming that V Bomber Command heavies would be in place at Leyte by 1 December, Whitehead had hoped to bring large-scale attacks on the Clark Field airdromes early in the month, But, other than small B-24 night attacks from Tacloban and unescorted Liberator raids into the Bicol provinces from Angaur, heavy bomber missions to Luzon had not been possible. Fighter escort became available on 20 December, and two days later the Angaur-based 22d Bombardment Group sent a twenty-three Liberator mission to Clark Field; on the next day, twenty-two B-24's of the 494th Bombardment Group hit Grace Park airfield in the northern suburbs of Manila. Limited to strikes on alternate days because of the necessity to stage home through crowded Tacloban, the two groups continued their strikes against the six airdromes at Clark Field each day that weather permitted for a total of four more strikes during December. Hostile fighters attempted interceptions in small force, but they were not equal to the 49th, 348th, and 475th Group fighters, which, at a loss of seven planes, shot down ninety-four enemy planes. Bomber crews claimed seven others, but the heavy concentration of guns defending Clark sent many of the B-24's limping back to Tacloban riddled with flak, more than a few bearing wounded crewmen.59

Leyte-based planes also intensified their attacks upon Luzon. The fighters had raided Legaspi airdromes early in November, and on the 17th two 460th Squadron P-47's made a sweep of central Luzon, the first land-based U.S. fighters to reappear over Manila, Bataan, and Corregidor. By the end of the year, V Fighter Command planes had completed 50 sweeps, 40 bombing, 28 strafing, and 6 reconnaissance sorties over Luzon, in addition to 443 sorties on escort duty. Leading a 431st Squadron fighter sweep on 26 December, Maj. Thomas B. McGuire, Jr., shot down four Japanese planes to run his score up to thirty-eight enemy aircraft destroyed.* The 110th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron and Marine Air Group (MAG) 12 combined to add another 184 sorties by the Leyte air garrison, whose strength at the close of the year was augmented by the Corsairs of MAG 14

* On 7 January 1945 Major McGuire crashed during an engagement between four P-38's and a lone Zero over Negros. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.


moving into the new airdrome at Samar.60 In a movement accelerated by the Japanese fleet raid on Mindoro, B-25's of the 345th Group were ferried to Leyte at a "dizzy pace" on 27 December, and having crowded onto the three operational airfields, they undertook a small mission against shipping off San Fernando that night. The next night four B-25's made low-level attacks over Clark, and on 30 December nine of the group's planes made attacks at Tuguegarao field in the Cagayan Valley. Although believed to be a staging airfield, the airmen found nothing more practicable to attack with their 100-pound bombs than a barracks area.61 Up at Mindoro during the last week of December, the 310th Wing, despite its almost exhausted store of aviation gasoline, was attempting to blockade the Luzon coast from Vigan to Batangas. Special resupply by sea scheduled to arrive on 4 January with drum and bulk gasoline promised that the garrison might be able to fulfill its commitments during the critical period of support for MIKE I; until resupplied, Wilson felt compelled to cancel all but defensive operations after the 30th.* Whitehead, however, promised aerial delivery and held him to a full offensive. The C-46's of the 2d Combat Cargo Group, flying directly from Morotai, and C-47's of the 317th Troop Carrier Group, operating from Leyte, delivered approximately 600 drums of gasoline each day between 3 and 10 January. The Navy's service group, bound for Lingayen, pumped off 10,000 barrels on 5 January to put the garrison out of danger. During the first week of January the CRTC sent needed B-25 replacement crews to the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron, and Whitehead drew P-38's from Leyte units to replace 310th Wing losses from night raids.62

Thus strengthened, the 310th Wing continued the coastal blockade. On 30 December, less than a day after its A-20's reached Mindoro, the 675th Squadron teamed up with the 17th and 110th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons against an enemy supply convoy off northwest Luzon, sinking a frigate and three cargo vessels to gross more than 20,000 tons. On 2 January the 417th Group's A-20's sank another frigate and four smaller cargo ships at San Fernando. This successful mission cost the life of Lt. Col. Howard S. Ellmore, commander of the group since July, when his A-20 collided with the superstructure of a vessel, cartwheeled into the sea, and exploded. When the Japanese stopped efforts to bring ocean-going ships into

* See above, p. 400.


Lingayen Gulf, the Mindoro garrison added its efforts to the attack against communications. Fifteen reconnaissance fighters, carrying 500-pound bombs under each wing, were partly successful in starting landslides in Balete Pass on 4 January. By 7 January the two bridges at Calumpit had been destroyed, and on 9 January dive-bombing F4U's from Leyte completed demolition of the dual-purpose rail and road bridge at Plaridel. The Cabanatuan rail yards were attacked by A-20's on 8 January and reported destroyed. Railroads and rolling stock, roads and vehicles, and bridges were attacked throughout central and southern Luzon in a campaign which would be intenssed as the Allies went ashore at Lingayen.63

So far, however, FEAF did not have enough strength within range to neutralize Japanese air power on Luzon. Either the 22d or the 494th Group continued to hit Clark daily, failing only on 1 January when the 494th was turned to an alternate target and on the 5th when neither group could fly because of weather. Against the 22d Group, raiding Mabalacat strip on the 2d, the Japanese attempted their last interception, only to lose thirteen planes to Allied fighters; but next day, as if to prove the target no "milk run," Japanese AA shot down a 494th Group plane. Snoopers set fires on the airfields almost nightly, and on the 3d, four 58th Group P-47's from Mindoro swept one of the Clark strips. Two of the fighters were quickly shot down (one piloted by the group commander, Col. Gwen G. Atkinson, who was rescued by guerrillas), but the other two strafed and burned eleven parked enemy planes. Medium bombers of the 345th Group attacked the Porac and Floridablanca strips on the 4th. Although the Japanese later paid tribute to the effectiveness of the heavy bomber attacks, they were not up to FEAF standards. Limited by the necessity of staging through Tacloban, only one heavy group at best could get over Clark each day. The XIII Bomber Command's two heavy groups at Morotai could not reach Clark, nor could the 90th Group which was flying with skeleton echelons from Biak. Except for night flights by its 63d Squadron and filler crews rotated to Angaur, the 43d Group at Leyte, having no base facilities, was out of action. Some r00 enemy AA batteries at Clark, mustering 74 heavy, 237 medium, and174 light guns, promised to make it a suicidal target for massed medium and light bomber attacks.64

Already Seventh Fleet units had begun to leave Leyte for Lingayen


Gulf. The minesweepers, leaving first on 2 January, sustained damage to four vessels from air attack. The bombardment group (Task Group 77.2)' which left Leyte on 3 January with an escort of twelve CVE's, lost a CVE off the west coast of Panay on the 4th. On the next afternoon, as the vessels were passing Subic Bay, between fifty and sixty enemy planes penetrated the fighter cover to damage two cruisers, two CVEs, and three destroyers. As the minesweepers and fire support ships deployed in Lingayen Gulf on the morning of the 6th, they exposed themselves to kamikaze planes which, despite vigilant fighter cover from the CVE's, damaged sixteen vessels during the day. Land masses blocked radar warning apparatus and denied fighter cover the advantage of early warning;65 only vigorous air attack against the source of the raiders held promise of stopping the enemy before the transports reached Lingayen.

Task Force 38, still organized in three groups, had sortied from Ulithi on 30 December, gaining tactical surprise on 3 January in strikes against Formosa and the southern Ryukyus. But the advantages of surprise were largely canceled by weather conditions which prevented attacks in force on the 3d and forced suspension of all strikes next day shortly before noon. Carrier pilots nevertheless claimed 111 Japanese planes destroyed. The fleet refueled on the 5th preparatory to strikes on the next day against north Luzon fields for cover of minesweeping at Lingayen. MacArthur had asked Halsey to include the Clark airdromes in his missions of the 6th, to attack before and after the 0900-1500 period reserved for FEAF. Instead, Halsey decided to maintain continuous air patrol over Luzon from dawn to sunset, with his pilots briefed on the risks arising from the presence of FEAF and CVE planes. On the 6th a solid overcast blocked out all efforts to cover northern Luzon, but Task Force 38 planes ranged southward to Manila Bay and shot down eight of eighteen enemy planes seen airborne and destroyed nineteen more on the ground.66 FEAF put twenty-two B-24's of the 22d Group over Clark shortly after 1035 hours and sent forty-four Liberators of the 5th and 307th Groups from Morotai to cover dispersals at Nichols and Nielson with 120-pound frag clusters.67

Neither Halsey's "rolling blanket" nor FEAF's heavy bomber attacks checked the savage assault on the Allied vessels in Lingayen Gulf. Alarmed by a situation which threatened to require reconsideration


of plans, Kinkaid asked Halsey for strikes on the 7th directed especially against airfields, large or small, in the Lingayen area. He also suggested that Halsey consider moving the Third Fleet west of Luzon to provide cover when the transports arrived. Halsey, who had planned to hit Formosa on the 7th, instead concentrated persistent attacks against enemy fields in northern Luzon, and, with favorable weather, he also blanketed the whole island: his pilots claimed destruction of seventy-five planes on the ground.68 Wisely, he refused to attempt cover for the transports.

Third Fleet's efforts on 7 January were supplemented by the largest coordinated mission of light and medium bombers ever employed in the SWPA. In view of the heavy concentration of enemy AA about Clark Field the plan of attack was especially daring: forty B-25's of the 345th Group and twenty A-20's of the 312th Group were to execute a low-level strafing and parafrag attack over the airdromes, flying from northwest to southeast in a sixty-plane front; they were to be followed immediately by sixty A-20's of the 312th and 417th Groups flying abreast from northeast to southwest. Two squadrons of Mindoro-based P-38's would cover the bombers. Early in the morning the 345th and 312th Groups (the latter flying its first combat mission from Tanauan strip) launched their planes at Leyte and flew to Mindoro where the wing was joined by A-20's of the 417th Group in the take-off for Luzon. Beginning at 1025 hours the attack was executed nearly as planned, although low-hanging clouds hindered assembly so that some of the planes were still jockeying for position as they flew over the airfields. Each A-20 squadron had sent out 52 planes, and in all 132 bombers, roughly divided in 2 equal waves, went over the targets, strafing and training out 7,536 x 23-pound parafrags at anything that looked worth while. Japanese defenses were taken by surprise-some guns still had their covers on them--but a B-25 and an A-20 were shot down and three other A-20's were lost when the ground seemed to blow up in front of them. Flak intelligence officers later found the explanation in a number of partially buried 50-kilogram bombs wired for detonation from nearby machine-gun positions. As the B-25's came on the target, 6 or 7 Hamp fighters maneuvered over them at about 1,000 feet, but the aerial bombs they dropped did no damage, unless to the Japanese ground defenses. All told, it was a highly successful mission.69 On the same day, farther south, the 494th Group raided Grace Park airfield, where guerrillas


had reported some hidden planes, and the 5th and 307th Groups repeated their strikes on Nichols and Nielson.70

"Commencing with 7 January," Kinkaid summarized in his fleet report, "the enemy attacks diminished sharply in intensity."71 But the admiral, ignoring the low-level AAF strike against Clark in a rare moment of ungenerosity, implied that the Third Fleet had accomplished the good work. This was probably because of the prevailing naval opinion, shared by Halsey, that the suicide planes were flying from northern Luzon; in postwar interrogations, however, Japanese airmen insisted that the attacks had originated at Clark Field.72 The suicide planes had flown circuitous routes to avoid U.S. fighter patrols, and thus left the impression that the attacks came from northern Luzon.

Post-mortem investigations undertaken at Clark, Nichols, and Nielson after their capture revealed an achievement far beyond any that had been anticipated. From the beginning of Allied air attacks in October, 1,505 Japanese aircraft had been put out of action on the ground, chiefly by air attacks. Many of the planes, however, lacked only a few parts to be ready for flight, and others showed that they had been inoperational for want of simple repairs prior to their destruction. P/W reports and captured records told of a speedy disintegration of the Japanese air services. At Clark the heavy bomber attacks beginning in December had caused utter confusion, out of which developed a hastily conceived and poorly directed effort at dispersal: repair shops, dumps, and maintenance units were scattered from Clark to Bamban. Over 200 new engines, most of them uncrated, were hidden in Mabalacat village, never more than 3 or 4 in the same place; parts were hidden inaccessibly or even buried (a George, for example, was found lacking only 1 of the carburetors buried at Mabalacat to be ready for flight).73 The Japanese air services on Luzon had reached a state of almost complete paralysis even before the landings on Lingayen.

In view of the great difficulty with which a limited heavy bomber effort had been maintained, FEAF leaders found cause for special gratification in Japanese comparisons of the relative effectiveness of carrier and land-based attack. A senior staff officer of the Fourth Air Army and three naval air officers testified:

The Navy air raids in December and early January caused only a little damage. They came and went away. ...These attacks did not disrupt our operations.


Disruption of our air operations was caused by the heavy land-based bombers. They gave us no rest and we were unable to recover between attacks. .. . It was impossible to maintain or repair the damage before they struck again.74

Only sporadic kamikaze attacks continued after 7 January. The largest of the Allied convoys, a force extending more than forty miles from van to rear as it sortied from Leyte on the evening of 4 January, was not attacked until the evening of the 7th when the two Japanese planes were shot down by fleet fire. Next morning six attacking planes badly damaged an escort carrier and hit the superstructure of an attack transport, but otherwise the convoy was unhurt. Another large convoy, which included the fleet flagship Wasatch with Kinkaid and Krueger aboard, went free of attack for two days after departing Leyte, when on 8 January a single suicide plane seriously damaged another CVE. That was all, except for a few suicide attacks which managed to sink two isolated minesweepers shortly before the landings on the 9th.75

There it soon became evident little other resistance would be offered. Naval bombardment uncovered few defenses along the gulf, underwater demolition teams found neither off-shore obstacles nor beach positions, and minesweepers met only a few floating mines, The Japanese obviously had no idea of defending Luzon on the beachhead,


Table of Contents
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Notes to Chapter 13

1. Ltr., Kenney to Arnold, 14 Nov. 1944.

2. FEAF A-5 Conference Journal, 30 Oct. 1944.

3. JPS 162d Mtg., 10 Aug. 1944.

4. Planning Div., Office of Dir. of Plans and Opns., ASF, Comparison of the Logistics Feasibility of Operations against Luzon and Formosa, 30 Aug. 1944.

5. Ibid. Marshall personally estimated that casualty expectations on Formosa would approach 90,000 men (memo for Embick from Marshall, 1 Sept. 1944).

6. JCS 1070, 26 Sept. 1944; JCS 1070/1, 30 Sept. 1944.

7. Msg. CX-18071, CINCSWPA to C/S WD, 20 Sept. 1944; msg. C-18103, GHQSWPA Rear to WAR and CG AFPOA, 21 Sept. 1944.

8. GHQSWPA, MUSKETEER III, Basic Outline Plan for Revised Philippine Operations, 26 Sept. 1944.

9. Memo for Handy from Hull, 26 Aug. 1944; [Ritchie], Notes for Discussion with General Marshall, n.d.

10. JCS 713/15, 22 Sept. 1944.

11. Memo for Arnold from Kuter, 23 Sept. 1944.

12. JCS 713/16, 23 Sept. 1944.

13. JCS 713/17, 25 Sept. 1944.

14. Memo for Roberts from Maj. Gen. W. A. Wood, Dep. Dir., Plans and Opns., ASF, 25 Sept. 1944; see also memo for Asst. Sec. WDGS from Col. F. N. Ryder, OPD, 26 Sept. 1944.

15. Ltr., Nimitz to COMsTHFLT, CG 10th Army, and Comdr. Amph.Forces, Pacific Flt., 16 Sept. 1944; see also ltr., Richardson to CINCPOA, 27 Sept. 1944.

16. Msg., Maj. Gen. R. J. Marshall to CINCSWPA, 26 Sept. 1944; memo for C/S from Handy, 2 Oct. 1944; JCS 713/18, 2 Oct. 1944; memo for Arnold from Kuter, 2 Oct. 1944; JCS 180th Mtg., 3 Oct. 1944; JCS 713/19, 3 Oct. 1944; CM-OUT-40782 (3 Oct. 44), JCS to CINCSWPA, CINCPOA, CG USAF CBI, 3 Oct. 1944.

17. Memo for Marshall from Arnold, 27 Oct. 1944.

18. Msg. C-51429, GHQSWPA to WAR, 2 Nov. 1944; msg. G51706, GHQSWPA to WAR, 7 Nov. 1944; AGS SWPA, Terrain Study #96, Mindoro Province, 10 Oct. 1944 and Terrain Handbook #35, Mindoro I., 28 Oct. 1944; Meteorological Study, Climate of San Jose, Mindoro, 5 Dec. 1944, in GHQSWPA Staff Study: Operations LOVE THREE, 2d ed., 11 Oct. 1944; 6th Army, Rpt. on the Mindoro Opn., 22 Apr. 1945, pp. 7, 20-21.

19. GHQSWPA Staff Study: Opns. LOVE THREE, 11 Oct. 1944; GHQ-SWPA, OI #74, 13 Oct. 1944 and #74/2, 30 Oct. 1944.

20. 6th Army FO 33. 20 Nov. 1944.

21. GHQSWPA, 01 #74, 13 Oct. 1944; AAFSWPA, OI #74, 30 Oct. 1944; 5th AF, OI #8, 3 Nov. 1944.

22. Ltr., Bird to Eddleman, 29 Oct. 1944;Notes on L-3 Opn. Conference, 16 Nov. 1944; ltr., Whitehead to Kenney, 15 Nov. 1944; ltr., Whitehead to CG 6th Army, 15 Nov. 1944.

23. Ltr., Whitehead to Kenney, 18 Nov. 1944; msg. CAX-11669, CINCSWPA to CINCPOA, 17 Nov. 1944.

24. Msg., CINCPOA to CINCSWPA, 170200 Nov. 1944.

25. Msg. CA-11746, GHQSWPA Adv. to GHQSWPA (Wheeler to Chamberlin), 20 Nov. 1944; ltr., Brig. Gen. D. R. Hutchinson, C/S 5th AF to CG 6th Army, 21 Nov. 1944; memo for CG 6th Army from Struble, 24 Nov. 1944; memo for CG 6th Army from Struble, 28 Nov. 1944.

26. Msg., COM3DFLT to CTF 38, 240400 Nov. 1944.

27. Rpt., COM3DFLT to COMINCH, 25 Jan. 1945, p. 13; msg., CINCPAC to COM3DFLT, 290324 Nov. 1944; msg.,COM3DFLT to CINCPOA, 290400 Nov. 1944; msg., CINCPOA to CINCSWPA, 292349 Nov. 1944. Brig. Gen. J. L. Loutzenheiser, AAF Plans Div., commented that Nimitz' radio was "historically valuable to stop once and for all Naval wild flights of fancy that land based air is not a requirement for continued amphibious operations" (memo for Kuter from Loutzenheiser, 2 Dec. 1944).

28. Memo for CINCSWPA from Kinkaid, 30 Nov. 1944, quoted in GHQ-SWPA, OPRST Pacific 314752: The Philippine Campaign, 1944-1945, p. 31.

29. Msg. C-54164, GHQSWPA to WD,30 Nov. 1944.

30. Hist. V FC, July-Dec. 1944, pp. 83-84; Hist. XIII BC, Dec. 1944, pp. 8794; 5th AF Wkly. Intel. Revs. #53 thru #55, 26 Nov. thru 16 Dec. 1944; USSBS, Answers to MAD Questionnaire, #10, pp. 9-11.

31. Hist. V BC, Dec. 1944, pp. 87-94; Hist. 494th Bomb. Gp., Dec. 1944, p. 3.

32. 5th AF Wkly. Intel. Rev. #54, 3-9 Dec. 1944, p. 3; Hist. 63d Bomb Sq., Dec. 1944; Vt., COM3DFLT to COMINCH, 25 Jan. 1945, p. 15; msg., COM3DFLT to CINCPAC, 150215 Dec. 1944; JANAC, pp. 21,78; msg., COA43DFLT to CINCSWPA, 172318 Dec. 1944.

33. Rpt., CTG 78.3 to COMINCH, 7 Mar. 1945; Hist. 308th Bomb. Wg., Oct-1 Dec. 1944, pp. 23-24; msg., CTF 77 to CG AAFSWPA, 071156 Dec. 1944.

34. Rpt., CTG 77.12 to COMINCH, 25 Dec. 1944; V FC A-2 Periodic Rpt. #583, 14 Dec. 1944; memo for C/S 6th Army from Eddleman, 14 Dec. 1944.

35. Rpt., CTG 78.3 to COMINCH, 7 Mar. 1945; rpt., CTG 77.12 to COMINCH, 25 Dec. 1944; 6th Army, Rpt. on the Mindoro Opn., pp. 16-17; memo for G-1 6th Army from Asst. G-3 6th Army, 9 Dec. 1944; V FC A-2 Periodic Rpt. #584, 16 Dec. 1944; ltr., Lt. Richard Ives, Asst. S-3 2d Engr. Spec. Brig., to CG 2d Engr. Spec. Brig., 19 Dec. 1944.

36. USSBS Interrog. #193, 26 Oct. 1945; rpt., COM3DFLT to COMINCH, 25 Jan. 1945; USSBS, Answers to MAD Questionnaire, #10, pp. 9, 11; ATIS, SCAP Doc. #16638-B, 16 Apr. 1946.

37. Ltr., "Bill" [Dunckel] to "Eddy" [Eddleman], 22 Dec. 1944.

38. Msg., CG AAFSWPA to GHQ-SWPA, 20 Nov. 1944; 6th Army, Rpt. on the Mindoro Opn., pp. 21-22; Hist. 310th Bomb. Wg., Nov. 1944-Jan. 1945, pp. 46-48.

39. Histories 35th, 36th, 8oth, 69th, 310th, and 311th Ftr. Sqs., Dec. 1944; AEB SWPA, Luzon, 2 May 1946, I, 57.

40. ATIS, SCAP Doc. #16638-B, 16 Apr. 1944; msg., CTF 77 to COM7THFLT et al., 280552 Dec. 1944; msg. D335-D, CO 310th Bomb. Wg. to CG 5th AF, 28 Dec. 1944. These two messages included information gathered from two enemy petty officers picked up at sea after the raid. USSBS Interrog. #233, Comdr. K. Mori, 3 Nov. 1945; AAFSWPA, Isum #252, 30 Dec. 1944, Pt. 2, p. 1; msg. LA-167, Dunckel to CG 6th Army, 19 Dec. 1944; memo for C/SSWPA from C. A. W[illoughby], G-2 SWPA, 21 Dec. 1944; msg. D-54-A, 310th Bomb. Wg. to C/S 5th AF, 21 Dec. 1944; AAFSWPA, Opns. Rpt. #32, 23-29 Dec. 1944; histories 17th and 110th T/R Sqs., Dec. 1944.

41. Hist. 310th Bomb. Wg., Dec. 1944, pp. 27-31; msg. D-274-D, A-2 310th Bomb. Wg. to CG 5th AF, 27 Dec. 1944; msg., CG AAFSWPA to CG 6th Army et al., 270704 Dec. 1944; msg., CTF 73 to 310th Bomb. Wg., 26q11 Dec. 1944; msg. D-236-E, 310th Bomb. Wg. to CG 5th AF, 26 Dec. 1944; msg. D-241-A, 310th Bomb. Wg. to CG 5th AF, 27 Dec. 1944; JANAC, p. 20.

42. Ltr., Dunckel to CG 5th AF, 30 Jan. 1945.

43. Hist. 310th Bomb. Wg., Dec. 1944 -Jan. 1945, p. 34; rpt., CTG 78.3 to COMINCH, 7 Mar. 1944; msg. D-73-E, 310th Bomb. Wg. to CG 5th AF, 21 Dec. 1944; Hist. 90th Bomb. Sq., Dec. 1944, p. 8; memo for CINCSWPA from Chamberlin, 28 Dec. 1944; msg., CG 6th Army to CINCSWPA, 29 Dec. 1944; msg. D206-D, 310th Bomb. Wg. to CG 5th AF, 25 Dec. 1944.

44. Msg. D-443-A, 310th Bomb. Wg. to CG 5th AF, 30 Dec. 1944; msg. LA488, CG US Forces, APO 321, to CG 6th Army, 31 Dec. 1944; AAFSWPA, Survey of Current Opns. and Cargo Movements #35, 29 Mar. 1945, sec. II.

45. Hist. 310th Bomb. Wg., Dec. 1944 -Jan. 1945, p. 47; histories 25th Photo, 82d T/R, and 547th Night Ftr. Sqs., Dec. 1944; msg. J-2650-A, CG 5th AF to CG FEAF, 1 Jan. 1945; msg. J-610-D, 310th 800 Bomb. Wg. to CG 5th AF, 3 Jan. 1945; msg. J-618-E, 310th Bomb. Wg. to CG 5th AF, 3 Jan. 1945; msg. WJ-3414, CG 6th Army to CG US Forces, APO 321, 28 Dec. 1944; msg. D-314-U, 310th Bomb. Wg. to CG 5th AF, 30 Dec. 1944.

46. AGS SWPA, Terrain Study #93, Lingayen, 4 Oct. 1944 and #94, Central Luzon, 18 Oct. 1944.

47. AGS SWPA, Terrain Handbook #42, Bataan-Zambales, 24 Nov. 1944 and #43, Baler Bay (Tayabas Province), 6 Nov. 1944; Terrain Study #95, Batangas-Lucena, 9 Nov. 1944; GHQSWPA, Tentative Staff Study: MIKE TWO, 4 Oct. 1944.

48. AGS SWPA, Terrain Study #86, Cagayan Valley, 1 Sept. 1944, #97, Northwest Luzon, 15 Nov. 1944 and #85, Southeast Luzon, 8 Sept. 1944; GHQSWPA, Basic Outline Plan for MUSKETEER Opns., 10 July 1944; GHQSWPA, Basic Outline Plan for MUSKETEER II, 29 Aug. 1944; GHQSWPA, MUSKETEER III, 28 Sept. 1944.

49. USSBS, Japanese Military and Naval Intelligence, Apr. 1946, pp. 63-65; msg. CX-52283, GHQSWPA to WD, 16 Nov. 1944; msg., CINCPOA to COMINCH, 040346 Dec. 1944; USSBS Interrog. #429, 8 Nov. 1945.

50. USSBS Interrogs. #502, Lt. Gen. S. Miyazaki, 4 Dec. 1945 and #418, 19-22 Nov. 1945; 8th Army, Staff Study of Japanese Opns. on Luzon, Pts. I-IV, n.d.; 6th Army G-2 Rpt. #89, 23 May 1944; USSBS, The Effect of Air Action on Japanese Ground Army Logistics, pp. 122, 180.

51. USSBS, Campaigns of the Pacific War, pp. 288-89; GHQSWPA, DSEI #1070, 2 Mar. 1945, p. 4 and #1081, 13 Mar. 1945, p. 5; CANFSWPA, Opns. Plan #17-44, 20 Nov. 1944; AEB SWPA, Luzon, I, 93-108; FEAF, 2d and 3d OAS, Luzon Air Opns. during January 1945, 11 Mar. 1945, p. 2; USSBS Interrogs. #249, 27-28 OCt. 1945, #193, 26 OCt. 1945 and #502, 4 Dec. 1945.

52. GHQSWPA, OI #73,12 Oct. 1944; 6th Army FO 34, 20 Nov. 1944; ASCOM FO 3, 30 Nov. 1944.

53. GHQSWPA,OI #73, 12 Oct. 1944; CANFSWPA, Opns. Plan #17-44, 20 Nov. 1944.

54. Memo for CINCSWPA and CINCPOA from Sherman and Chamberlin, 21 Sept. 1944; msg., Maj. Gen. R. J. Marshall to CINCSWPA, 26 Sept. 1944; msg. C-18496, CINCSWPA to WAR, 28 Sept. 1944; CINCPOA Joint Staff Study, INDUCTION, 19 Oct. 1944.

55. FIVESOME Agreement, Sherman (POA), Chamberlin (SWPA), Brig.Gen. C. B. Stone (India-Burma and China theaters), Col. William Ball (20th AF), 5 Nov. 1944.

56. AAFSWPA, OI #73, 17 Oct. 1944 and #73/8, 27 Dec. 1944; 5th AF, OI #7, 26 Oct. 1944; 13th AF, OI #15, 8 Nov. 1944.

57. Msg. CX-17013, CINCSWPA to CG AAFSWPA, 2 Sept. 1944; ltr., Beebe to CINCSWPA, 24 Oct. 1944; ltr., AG GHQSWPA to CG AAFSWPA and CANFSWPA, 1 Nov. 1944,

58. Memo for G-2 6th Army from Eddleman, 22 Nov. 1944; GHQSWPA,OI #73/6, 17 Nov. 1944; msg., CINCSWPA to CG AAFSWPA, 28 Nov. 1944; msg. A-30150, CG AAFSWPA to CINCSWPA, 2 Jan. 1945.

59. Ltr., Whitehead to CG 13th AF, 29 Oct. 1944; ltr., Whitehead to CG FEAF, 29 Oct. 1944; msg. AX-96524, CG AAFSWPA to CG 5th AF, 24 Dec. 1944; Hist. 494th Bomb. Gp., Dec. 1944; Hist. V BC, Dec. 1944, pp. 18-22; Hist. V FC, July-Dec. 1944, pp. 95-96.

60. Hist. V FC, July-Dec. 1944, pp. w-5; AAFSWPA, Opns. Rpt. 833, 30 Dec. 1944-5 Jan. 1945.

61. Hist. 345th Bomb. Gp., Dec. 1944.

62. Msg. D-2059-A, CG 5th AF to 310th Bomb. Wg., 26 Dec. 1944; msg. D443-A, 310th Bomb. Wg. to CG 5th AF, 30 Dec. 1%; msg. D-464-A, 310th Bomb. Wg. to CG 5th AF, 31 Dec. 1944; msg. D-2542-A, CG 5th AF to 310th Bomb. Wg.,31 Dec. 1944; msg., CTF 73 to Half Moon, 310828 Dec. 1944; msg. J-16-E, Comdr. 54th TC Wg. to CG 5th AF, 1 Jan. 1945; Hist. 54th TC Wg., Jan. 1945, pp. 22, 81-82; ltr., Whitehead to Streett, 3 Jan. 1945; msg., CG WVTF to CG 8th Army, 041950 Jan. 1945; msg. J-2735-E, CG 5th AF to CO 91st Photo Wg., 2 Jan. 1945; msg. J-2870-E, CG 5th AF to 310th Bomb. Wg., 3 Jan. 1945.

63. Hist. 310th Bomb. Wg., Nov. 1944-Dec. 195, pp. 32, 35; Hist. 417th Bomb. Gp., Jan. 1945; NMR #2-E-7, 675th Bomb. Sq., 2 Jan. 1945; FEAF, Daily Intel. Rpts. #115 thru #136, 29 Dec. 1944 thru 19 Jan. 1945; FEAF, zd and 3d OAS, Luzon Air Opns. during Jan. 1945.

64. Hist. V BC, Jan. 1945, pp. 12-17; Hist. 494th Bomb. Gp., Jan. 1944; Hist. V FC, Jan.-Mar. 1945, pp. 5-8; 5th AF Wkly. Intel. Rev. #58, 31 Dec. 1944-5 Jan. 1945; V BC A-2 Periodic Rpts. #1 thru #6, 1 Jan. thru 6 Jan. 1945; AEB SWPA, Luzon, I, 252.

65. Rpt., Comdr. Luzon Attack Force to COMINCH, 15 May 1944, pp. 10-15.

66. Rpt., COM3DFLT to COMINCH, 25 Jan. 1945, pp. 17-19; msg., COM3DFLT to CT 38 et al., 282150 Dec. 1944; msg., COM3DFLT to CINCPAC, 0305fis Jan. 1944; AEB SWPA, Luzon, I, 220-21; msg. CX-55816, MacArthur to COM3DFLT, 4 Jan. 1945; msg., COM3DFLT to CINCSOWESPAC, oszzo3 Jan. 1945; msg., COM3DFLT to CINCPAC and CINCSWPA, 070920 Jan. 1945.

67. Hist. V BC, Jan. 1945, pp. 16-20; Hist. XIII BC, Jan. 1945, pp. 21-22, 69.

68. Rpt., Comdr. Luzon Attack Force to COMINCH, 15 May 1945. p16-17; rpt., COM3DFLT to COMINCH, 25 Jan. 1945, p. 18; AEB SWPA, Luzon, I, 237.

69. NMR's FFO-7-E-2, 417th Bomb. Gp., 7 Jan. 1945 and FFO-7-A-1, 345th Bomb. Gp., 8-15 Jan. 1945; Hist. 312th Bomb. Gp., Jan. 1945; COIR's, 310th Bomb. Wg., 7 and 8 Jan. 1945; AAFSWPA, Isum #255, 21 Jan. 1945; RAAF Comd., Intel. Sum. #21, 23 June 1945, p. 25; Hist. V BC, Jan. 1945, p. 18; 5th AF, Monthly Stat. Rpt., Jan. 1945.

70. Hist. XIII BC, Jan. 1945, p, 69.

71. Rpt., Comdr. Luzon Attack Force to COMINCH, 15 May 1945, p. 16.

72. USSBS Interrogs. #249, 27-28 Oct. 1945 and #193, 26 Oct. 1945; FEAF, 2d and 3d OAS, Suicide Attacks at Lingayen, January 1945. 24 June 1945.

73. Hist. FEAF, I, 317-18.

74. Quoted in AEB SWPA, Luzon, I, 106-8.

75. Rpt., Comdr. Luzon Attack Force to COMINCH, 15 May 1945, pp. 11-16; 2d and 3d OAS, Suicide Attacks at Lingayen, January 1945. Utilization of the escort carriers for cover and close support at Lingayen had permitted an assessment of their vulnerability under air attack, even by a weak enemy air force whose pilots had been briefed to attack Allied transports. The following conclusions of Rear Adm. R. A. Ofstie, COMCARIDIV 23, are therefore pertinent:

"(3) It is my firm conviction that the placing upon the escort carriers of the full responsibility for direct air support of the invasion of Luzon, was not in accordance with the known capabilities of these ships. Had direct carrier air support of the landing been of crucial importance, the success of the entire campaign might well have been imperiled, In my view, in an operation of such magnitude and importance where direct carrier air support is essential, and where enemy air attack is a serious threat, only the Fast Carrier Task Forces have offensive and defensive power adequate to the task. . . ."

(5) The combat CVE has proved itself of distinct value in past campaigns; it has a definite place in operations of the future. But that place is not in operations where air attack is a major threat, nor in escort duties when shore based air can better do the job." (See rpt., COMCARDIV 23 to COMINCH, 21 Jan. 1945.)


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