The Plan for Invasion
Until September 1944 General MacArthur's plans for the reconquest of the Philippines, though changed often in detail during the weary months since March 1942, all called for a campaign divided into four phases. First would come seizure of a foothold in the southern Philippines, on southeastern Mindanao, in order to establish air bases for the support of the second phase. (See map, p. 20.) This would be a move into the central Philippines at Leyte, where MacArthur would develop major air and supply bases from which to stage and support the advance to Luzon. After the third-phase operations on Luzon had proceeded to the point at which necessary planes, ships, troops, and supplies could be released, fourth-phase attacks would begin for the recapture of those islands in the southern Philippines that had been bypassed during the first three phases.1
MacArthur eliminated the first-phase operations when, in mid-September 1944, the changing situation in the western Pacific made it possible for him to move directly to Leyte, bypassing Mindanao. The new three-phase campaign began with landings on small islands in Leyte Gulf on 17 October.2 (See Map 1.) Three days later the U.S. Sixth Army, Lt. Gen. Walter Krueger in command, sent the X and XXIV Corps ashore on the mainland. The rest of MacArthur's plan remained essentially unchanged. Luzon would come next, to be followed, when the means became available, by the occupation of the bypassed southern islands. Some of the operations in the southern islands were designed not only to liberate Filipinos but also to secure base sites from which to launch attacks on British Borneo and the Netherlands East Indies.3
From the first, General MacArthur's plans for the invasion of Luzon called for the main effort to be made at Lingayen Gulf, on the west-central shore of the island. The choice was practically inevitable, for Lingayen Gulf, where the Japanese had made their major landings in 1941,4 provides direct access to the
most important military objective on Luzon, the Central Plains-Manila Bay region, and boasts the best and most extensive stretches of good landing beaches on the island. Although Lingayen Gulf itself is something of a defile, being less than twenty miles across at its narrowest point, all other approaches to the vital Central Plains-Manila Bay area lead through still worse defiles--easily defensible isthmuses and tortuous mountain passes, coastal strips flanked by the sea on one side and mountains on the other, and narrower water approaches such as the 12-mile-wide entrance to Manila Bay. Lingayen Gulf gives direct access to Luzon's best railroad and highway network, running south through the Central Plains 120 miles to Manila. Finally, the region inland from the gulfs southern shores--although not the immediate beach area--provides ample maneuver room for large military forces. Similar space cannot be found elsewhere on Luzon except at Aparri, 175 miles northeast of Lingayen Gulf on Luzon's northern shore at the end of the Cagayan Valley. The southern end of the Cagayan Valley is separated from the northeastern corner of the Central Plains by fifty miles of rugged, mountainous terrain.
General MacArthur directed General Krueger's Sixth Army, supported by the Allied Air Forces and Allied Naval Forces, Southwest Pacific Area, to seize and secure a beachhead on Lingayen Gulf and then drive south through the Central Plains in order to take Manila and open Manila Bay. Operations to complete the occupation of Luzon would follow the execution of the Sixth Army's initial missions, but plans for the later maneuvers MacArthur left for future determination. Air and logistical bases for the support of subsequent operations against Japan would be constructed on Luzon, and the lawful government of the Philippine Commonwealth would be re-established in its capital city, Manila.5 The political implications of the last section of MacArthur's directive could hardly have been lost on the planners, who realized that the Luzon Campaign was not to be undertaken for purely military reasons. The political objectives of the campaign, as well as the American appetency to avenge on the ground the defeat of 1941-42 undoubtedly influenced planning and would just as surely influence the conduct of operations.
General MacArthur made tentative plans for a number of subsidiary operations along Luzon's extensive coast line, many of them scheduled for execution at points where the Japanese had landed in 1941. MacArthur's planners designed the secondary attacks both to provide support for the main effort at Lingayen Gulf and to keep the Japanese off balance. The operations would take place either before or after the Lingayen assault as the occasion demanded and if their execution proved necessary and feasible.6 All of them, in comparison with the assault at Lingayen Gulf, would present knotty problems--terrain, air and naval
Relief Map of the Philippine Islands
support, and logistics; all of them would be carefully examined by MacArthur's planners before they were undertaken.7
MacArthur originally intended to send his Lingayen-bound assault convoys north along the eastern coast of Luzon, west around the northern tip of the island, through Luzon Strait, and then south down the west coast to the gulf.8 This scheme required air cover by land-based planes operating from some northern Luzon field that would have to be captured well before the Lingayen assault convoys sortied from Leyte Gulf. General MacArthur's planners, led by Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Chamberlin, the Assistant Chief of Staff G-3 at GHQ SWPA, accordingly had to give serious consideration to the seizure of an air base site at Aparri. For a time, Chamberlin also thought it might prove necessary to establish land-based air strength at Legaspi, on the eastern tip of the Bicol Peninsula, Luzon's southeasternmost extension. Legaspi-based planes could supplement convoy cover to be provided by escort carriers (CVE's) and could also help support the ground forces at Lingayen Gulf until land-based aircraft could be sent forward to fields along the gulf's shores.
MacArthur, on Chamberlin's advice, soon dismissed the Legaspi plan from consideration. The operation posed such logistic problems that its execution might delay the Lingayen Gulf assault for a month. Furthermore, Chamberlin had decided, the additional air support that could be provided from Legaspi probably would not be needed.9 The Aparri operation likewise created grave logistical problems, since it called for the efforts of a corps containing two reinforced divisions. The corps would have to hold an isolated perimeter 600 miles from the nearest Allied air bases (at Leyte) but only 300 miles from major Japanese air concentrations on southern Formosa, and much closer to Japanese fields on Luzon, for a month or more before the Lingayen assault.10
Yet MacArthur had to give continuing consideration to the Aparri operation. Admiral King, for one, believed that until Japanese air strength on Luzon could be completely neutralized it would be unsafe to route assault convoys around the island unless land-based fighters were operating from Aparri.11 Admiral Kinkaid, MacArthur's naval commander, agreed with King, and went on to raise other objections to the proposed northern route. Kinkaid was especially worried about weather conditions off northern Luzon, where severe typhoons were known to occur around 20 December, the date MacArthur had set for the Lingayen assault. Although he had previously opposed sending the Lingayen-bound convoys through the confined waters around the Visayan Islands, reconsideration prompted Kinkaid to recommend that the assault shipping employ the Visayan route, where the seas were more protected and
where air cover could be provided by Allied Air Forces planes operating from Mindoro Island.12
General Chamberlin had already made a thorough study of the Visayan route and had recommended sending resupply and reinforcement convoys to Lingayen Gulf through the Visayans and up the west coast of Luzon. MacArthur, approving this recommendation, decided to establish land-based aircraft at the southwestern corner of Mindoro, 150 miles south of Manila, before the assault at Lingayen Gulf in order to provide air cover for the follow-up shipping and to increase the scale of air operations against Luzon.
Admiral Nimitz, responsible for supporting the invasion of Luzon with carriers, surface combat vessels, and amphibious shipping, was also interested in the Visayan route. Accordingly, when representatives of MacArthur and Nimitz conferred on plans early in November they quickly agreed that the assault convoys would be routed through the Visayans and that only the fast carrier striking forces of Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet, which was to provide strategic cover and support for the invasion of Luzon, need operate off northern Luzon. Aparri, under this new concept, would not be taken unless a completely adverse air and naval situation developed between the time of the Mindoro attack and the invasion at Lingayen Gulf.13
Changing the Target Dates
MacArthur decided early in November that Mindoro would be the only major operation to precede the assault at Lingayen Gulf. It was not, however, until the last day of the month that GHQ SWPA finally settled the dates for the two operations.
In conformity with the Joint Chiefs' directive, MacArthur had scheduled the Mindoro attack for 5 December and the Lingayen Gulf operation for 20 December. A number of developments within the Southwest Pacific Area forced the theater commander, with manifest reluctance, to consider changing the dates. First, operations on Leyte were consuming more time and effort than anticipated. The Japanese had sent such strong reinforcements to Leyte that on 10 November General MacArthur had to ask Admiral Nimitz to make available another infantry division from Central Pacific resources to execute an amphibious flanking attack on Leyte's west coast during the first week of December.14
Lt. Gen. Richard K. Sutherland, MacArthur's chief of staff, advised the theater commander that the movement of the new division to Leyte and the execution of the flanking operation would tie up so much shipping and so many escort vessels that the Lingayen invasion would have to be postponed at least a week beyond the scheduled date of 20 December. This delay, Sutherland pointed out, would mean that the assault convoys heading for Lingayen Gulf would have
to sail through Visayan waters under a full moon, a meteorological consideration that would force Admiral Kinkaid to request still further postponement of the Luzon invasion.15 Moreover, Kinkaid's Allied Naval Forces did not have enough assault shipping and escort vessels to execute both the Mindoro landing and the amphibious flanking operation at Leyte during the first week of December.16 For these reasons alone, it would probably be necessary to reschedule the Lingayen Gulf and Mindoro operations.
Next, heavy rains and Japanese air attacks had so slowed airfield construction at Leyte that it was impossible to find room on the island for the planes required for air defense and support of ground action there, let alone those needed to support advances to Mindoro and Luzon. General Kenney, the Southwest Pacific's air commander, in mid-November informed MacArthur that it would be 1 December at least before enough planes could be based on Leyte to cover the jump to Mindoro, and that it would be the 15th before those aircraft could neutralize all Japanese fields within fighter and medium bomber range of the Mindoro beaches.17
Kenney's estimates, coming as they did on top of Sutherland's and Kinkaid's discouraging reports about the shipping situation, proved a real blow to MacArthur, for the 5 December date for Mindoro had been predicated on the assumption that the Allied Air Forces would have control of the air over the central Visayans by that time. Despite the increasingly adverse outlook, MacArthur was not yet ready to change the Mindoro and Lingayen dates, but he was soon subjected to additional pressure from Admiral Kinkaid.
Kinkaid could not send assault shipping and escort vessels into the restricted Visayan waters unless air control was assured, for to do so, he felt, would invite disastrous and unjustifiable naval losses. Halsey's Third Fleet carrier groups had left Philippine waters and could not, in any case, provide close support for an advance to Mindoro, and Kinkaid was reluctant to send any of his Seventh Fleet escort carriers into the confined waters of the Visayans. So concerned was Kinkaid with the potential strength of Japanese air reaction to the Mindoro and Lingayen operations that he proposed to MacArthur that the two be canceled as currently planned in favor of a step-by-step advance through the many islands of the central Visayans, moving forward land-based aircraft with each step. Kinkaid was by no means wholeheartedly in favor of this slow method of advance, but he felt that only by proposing such a sweeping change in plans could he persuade MacArthur to reconsider the scheduled dates.18
Kinkaid, like Kenney, thought that the Mindoro operation ought to be postponed at least until 15 December, but it
soon became apparent to Kinkaid that even that date could not be met unless CVE support were made available to cover the assault. For one thing, airfield construction on Leyte continued to fall behind schedule. For another, airfield facilities at Leyte were such, and many of Kenney's pilots so inexperienced, that land-based planes from Leyte could not risk constant night take-offs and landings during the period of the Mindoro assault. Therefore, land-based planes would be unable to cover the assault convoys or the Mindoro beaches during the first and last hours of daylight, the two most critical times of the day. Weighing all these factors Kinkaid, who had already been under considerable pressure from General Chamberlin to provide CVE's for the Mindoro operation, finally and with misgivings decided to send a small force of CVE's to Mindoro with the assault convoys. He organized a covering force of 6 CVE's (replacing most of their torpedo and dive bombers with fighter planes) and, for escort and antiaircraft roles, added 3 old battleships, 3 cruisers, and 18 destroyers.19
Other naval and air support problems also forced MacArthur to give consideration to changing the dates. MacArthur wanted the Third Fleet's fast carrier groups to conduct an extensive series of strategic air strikes to support both the Mindoro and the Lingayen landings. Halsey was willing to provide the desired support to enable MacArthur to meet the 5 December target date for Mindoro, but recommended a more than 15-day interval between Mindoro and Lingayen. The inadequacies of land-based air support at Leyte, the Third Fleet commander pointed out, had made it necessary for the carriers to remain in Philippine waters an unconscionably long period--the fleet was in great need of repairs, rest, replenishment, pilot replacement and recuperation, and general servicing.20
Admiral Nimitz likewise felt that MacArthur's schedule did not take fleet requirements sufficiently into account. Knowing that the Third Fleet's need for rest would be even greater after the invasion of Luzon, especially if MacArthur's Mindoro and Lingayen dates were not postponed, Nimitz had already sought approval from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to change the target dates for Iwo Jima and Okinawa, originally set for 20 January and 1 March, respectively, to 3 February and 15 March. The Joint Chiefs, recognizing the close interdependence of operations in the Southwest and Central Pacific Areas, agreed to Nimitz' recommendations.21
Nimitz pointed out to MacArthur that with an adequate rest period before Mindoro the Third Fleet could return to Philippine waters to neutralize Japanese air power on Luzon for a considerable period. Without such rest, the fleet's operations would be so limited in scope that it simply could not meet MacArthur's requirements for carrier-based air support. Nimitz, accordingly, also recommended that the Mindoro and
Lingayen target dates be postponed until adequate land- and carrier-based air power could be made available for the proper support of both operations.22
In the face of the recommendations and estimates from Sutherland, Kenney, Kinkaid, Halsey, and Nimitz, General MacArthur, with far more reluctance than enthusiasm, decided to postpone the Mindoro and Lingayen target dates. On 30 November he set the Mindoro date forward ten days, to 15 December.23
Postponements were not over insofar as the Lingayen Gulf operation was concerned. MacArthur wanted to follow the formula of a 15-day interval between Mindoro and Lingayen Gulf, but he found this impossible. First, he had to consider the fact that Admiral Kinkaid would object to sailing the Luzon assault convoys through the Visayans under the full moon of late December, and would undoubtedly ask postponement of the Lingayen attack well into January. Naval planners also pointed out that moon and tide conditions at Lingayen Gulf itself would by no means be as favorable for amphibious operations on 30 December as they would be a week to ten days later. And from Kinkaid's point of view an additional delay in the invasion of Luzon would probably be necessary to give his Allied Naval Forces adequate time for rest, replenishment, loading, and rehearsals between the Mindoro and Lingayen assaults.
Air support problems again had a major influence on the decision. Kenney informed MacArthur that the continued slow pace of airfield construction at Leyte would make it impossible for the Allied Air Forces to meet a Lingayen Gulf target date of 30 December. Seeking a method to help overcome the construction difficulties at Leyte, Kenney recommended that a much larger air base than originally planned be established in southwestern Mindoro, and the additional construction that he proposed could not be completed by 30 December. The Southwest Pacific's air commander, and other planners as well, also pointed out that a longer interval than fifteen days between the Mindoro and Lingayen operations would probably be required to assure the complete neutralization of Japanese land-based air power on Luzon.24
In the end, MacArthur selected 9 January as the date for the Lingayen assault, a final postponement that provides another illustration of the interdependence of MacArthur's and Nimitz' operations.25 Many of the combat vessels and most of the amphibious shipping the Southwest Pacific needed for the Luzon invasion would have to be borrowed from resources under Admiral Nimitz' control. The ships could not be returned to the Central Pacific in time for Nimitz to meet an Iwo Jima target date of 3 February, and again the necessary period for repair and replenishment of the carrier striking forces would also have to be moved forward. Therefore, the Central Pacific commander had to reset Iwo Jima
for 19 February, a change that simultaneously forced him to postpone the invasion of Okinawa to 1 April.26
These were the last changes Nimitz had to make in his schedule, and MacArthur, when he set Mindoro for 15 December and Lingayen Gulf for 9 January, had made what he expected to be his final changes. The dates were as firm as Allied planners could make them--only the Japanese could force further changes.
The Intelligence Basis
When, in mid-October, General MacArthur directed the major subordinate commands within the Southwest Pacific to begin preparations for the Luzon operation, he assigned the bulk of his U.S. Army ground combat and service forces to the undertaking.27 Likewise, most of Kenney's Allied Air Forces and practically every ship and landing craft of Kinkaid's Allied Naval Forces would participate.28 No one expected the Mindoro operation to turn into a major battle. The island was known to have a weak Japanese garrison, and there didn't seem to be much likelihood that the enemy would attempt major counterattacks once Allied forces were ashore. On the other hand, intelligence indicated that the Luzon operation promised to be the biggest and toughest yet to take place within the Pacific. Every scrap of information that Maj. Gen. Charles A. Willoughby, MacArthur's intelligence chief, was able to gather during the waning months of 1944 served to confirm that view.
The Southwest Pacific's intelligence estimates concerning Japanese strengths, dispositions, capabilities, and intentions on Luzon were reasonably accurate from the start of planning. The abundance of information must be attributed in large measure to the efforts of guerrillas on Luzon, an island that was becoming a veritable hotbed of guerrilla resistance, both American-led and Filipino-led, even before Lt. Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright's surrender at Corregidor in May 1942. Carefully nurtured by MacArthur's headquarters, especially after mid-1943, the guerrilla organizations had grown steadily in strength and effectiveness not only as sabotage units but also as valuable sources of information. The Leyte invasion in October 1944 gave great encouragement to the guerrillas, who redoubled their efforts in preparation for the invasion of Luzon, which they realized could not be too far off. Throughout 1944 supplies of all types had been sent to the guerrillas, first by submarine and later by airdrop and clandestine interisland transportation. After the establishment of the Allied base on Leyte, the flow of supplies increased by leaps and bounds. The guerrillas themselves established
a network of radio communications that soon came to be sustained and, to some extent, controlled by MacArthur's headquarters, which also sent into Luzon special intelligence parties to develop new sources of information and provide guerrilla efforts with more effective direction.
In the end, one of the major difficulties Southwest Pacific intelligence agencies had was not obtaining information from Luzon but rather sifting the plethora of guerrilla reports, which attained every conceivable degree of accuracy and detail. Once sifted, the information had to be evaluated and correlated with that received from other sources such as radio intercepts, captured documents, and prisoner interrogations.
When detailed planning for the advance of Luzon began, General Willoughby could not know that the Japanese would choose to make a stand at Leyte--nor, as a matter of fact, did the Japanese. Thus, Willoughby expected the Japanese to make their principal defensive effort on Luzon. In mid-October he estimated that a total Japanese garrison of nearly 121,000 men, including four infantry divisions and three independent mixed brigades (each about half the size of a standard Japanese infantry division), was on Luzon, and he anticipated that the Japanese would strongly reinforce the island before the Allies could reach it. He also assumed that Sixth Army would encounter the main Japanese defenses in the militarily important Lingayen Gulf, Central Plains, and Manila Bay areas. He expected the Japanese to deploy strong forces along the Lingayen shores and in successive delaying positions down the Central Plains.
When the Japanese began sending strong reinforcements to Leyte, Willoughby had to make many revisions in his Luzon estimates. He noted the shifting of units on Luzon to take over the areas vacated by the forces sent to Leyte, and he kept track of new units arriving on Luzon. In mid-December he estimated that the Japanese had on Luzon a tank division, 5 infantry divisions, 6 independent mixed brigades, and 2 separate infantry regiments, thereby identifying all the major Japanese ground force units already there or soon to reach the island. He had also found out that large numbers of naval troops and Japanese Army Air Force units were on the island, and he had identified the commanders of most of the major units.
Willoughby estimated that a large and potentially dangerous concentration of Japanese forces held the region immediately east, northeast, and southeast of Lingayen Gulf, a concentration that could seriously threaten the Allied beachhead or the left flank of Allied forces moving south down the Central Plains toward Manila, He further estimated that the Japanese would deploy strong forces to defend the Clark Field area, a well-developed air center lying seventy miles south of Lingayen Gulf and about fifty miles north of Manila. General Willoughby was also concerned about Japanese strength in southern Luzon, below Manila, and deduced that the Japanese expected a major Allied effort along the island's southern coast. Finally, he devoted considerable attention to Bataan Peninsula "as possibly the site of a historically repetitive delaying action."29
In detail, Willoughby estimated that the Japanese would have at least two
infantry divisions in position to defend Lingayen Gulf and environs, and, until the first week in January, he anticipated that the Japanese would defend all the gulf's beaches strongly. He insisted that the Japanese could mount strong and rapid counterattacks against the Allied beachhead, possibly employing as a spearhead the tank division, which, he thought, the Japanese would hold mobile in the Central Plains. He further estimated that the Japanese might build up a strong central reserve of infantry units not committed to specific defense roles but rather held ready to counterattack at any point during the early stages of the operation.
As time passed and more information concerning the Japanese became available from Luzon, Willoughby raised his October estimates of Japanese strength. As of late December, in his final estimate before the assault, he reckoned that the Japanese garrison numbered about 152,500 troops of all categories.
The estimates concerning Japanese ground forces presented only one important aspect of the Southwest Pacific's intelligence problem--the task of determining Japanese air and naval strengths and capabilities was equally important and, probably, much more difficult. Southwest Pacific intelligence agencies believed that the Japanese would commit all their available air strength in counterattacks against Allied forces while they were moving toward Luzon and while the ground forces were establishing the beachhead. Willoughby assumed that the Japanese would maintain their Philippine air strength at 400-500 planes, the bulk of them based on Luzon. Furthermore, he expected that despite the best efforts of Allied land-based and carrier-based aircraft, the Japanese could have 300-400 planes on Luzon as of 9 January.
The Japanese could easily reinforce their air garrison on Luzon from Formosa, China, the Indies, and the Ryukyus; they could also stage in planes from the homeland. For instance, the Japanese could move 400-500 planes to Formosa from the home islands within a week after the Allied assault at Lingayen Gulf and, with planes based at such nearby bases and on Luzon, could mount daily attacks with 150 planes for a period of at least ten days.30
Estimates of Japanese naval capabilities and intentions changed drastically, of course, after the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Although the Allies had anticipated strong naval counterattack against Luzon, they now knew that the Japanese Navy was incapable of a major, sustained action. The Japanese could bring together a respectable but unbalanced force if they chose to concentrate the scattered elements of their fleet, but the force would be no match for the one the Allies could assemble. Nevertheless, Allied intelligence agencies considered it likely that the Japanese might risk some ships in hit-and-run raids, and it was known that the Japanese had large combat vessels based in Indochina waters, within easy sailing distance of Luzon and Mindoro. The only other naval threat seemed to be that posed by small suicide
craft, coveys of which the Japanese were known to be hiding along Luzon's southern and western coasts.31
Ground Force Plans
The task confronting the Southwest Pacific planners was clear. They had to allot sufficient forces to the Luzon operation to overcome a strong Japanese garrison that they believed would be reinforced before 9 January; secure a beachhead against possible determined opposition at the beaches; drive south through the Central Plains against anticipated strong defenses; protect the beachhead against expected counterattack; and secure the Central Plains-Manila Bay area in four to six weeks, the period within which General MacArthur had promised the Joint Chiefs he could secure that strategically important region. In addition, sufficient naval and air strength, both land- and carrier-based, had to be assembled to counter whatever air and naval threat the Japanese could pose.
Changes in the intelligence estimates were reflected by corresponding changes in the size of the force General MacArthur assigned to the Luzon operation. In October, in accordance with Willoughby's estimates at that time, MacArthur allocated to General Krueger's Sixth Army, responsible for the Lingayen invasion, the I Corps, consisting of the 6th and 43d Infantry Divisions, and the XIV Corps, containing the 37th and 40th Infantry Divisions. Also assigned to the Sixth Army for reserve and followup roles were the 25th Infantry Division, the 11th Airborne Division, the 158th Regimental Combat Team (a separate organization not part of any division), the 13th Armored Group (initially consisting of a tank destroyer, an engineer, and two tank battalions), and the separate 6th Ranger Infantry Battalion. Supporting elements for all these units included 13 nonorganic field artillery battalions of various calibers, 2 chemical mortar battalions, 2 other tank battalions, the bulk of 5 engineer boat and shore regiments, 4 amphibious tractor battalions, and 16 engineer aviation battalions. The total assault force numbered approximately 191,000 men, of whom 131,000 were classified as combat troops. Base service troops to come forward with the initial echelons brought the total to 203,000.32
Simultaneously, MacArthur assigned Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger's Eighth Army the task of executing a subsidiary landing on Luzon, the troops ultimately to pass to Sixth Army control. The forces thus allocated included XI Corps headquarters, the 32d Infantry Division, and the separate 112th Cavalry and 503d Parachute Regimental Combat Teams (RCT's) together with supporting units. For General Headquarters Reserve MacArthur set aside the 33d and 41st Infantry Divisions.33
With the new estimates in hand it became evident that the Sixth Army would need additional forces. Therefore, GHQ SWPA laid plans to ship to Luzon within two months after the assault the 33d, 38th, 41st, and 77th Infantry Divisions and the 1st Cavalry Division, in addition to the units already allocated to the Sixth and Eighth Armies. The 77th Division
was used on Leyte, and the 41st never reached Luzon. The rest of the foregoing units were employed on Luzon, as was the bulk of the 19th and 34th Regimental Combat Teams of the 24th Infantry Division.34
Thus, the ground force commitment to Luzon grew larger than General MacArthur had contemplated in October. At one time or another he committed to Luzon 2 army headquarters, 3 corps headquarters, 10 divisions, and 5 regimental combat teams.35 Armored units assigned to the Sixth Army aggregated more tanks than an armored division. One well-organized guerrilla unit approximated the size and effectiveness of a U.S. infantry division, less supporting arms, while at least two others attained something near the strength and usefulness of infantry regiments.36 In all, including effective guerrilla forces, MacArthur employed the equivalent of nearly fifteen divisions in the reconquest of Luzon.
For operations in the Southern Philippines Campaign--the responsibility of the Eighth Army--U.S. Army ground forces remaining available after the initial assignments to Luzon were the X Corps headquarters, the Americal Division, the 24th Division less two regimental combat teams, and the 31st and 93d Infantry Divisions--of which the 93d was deemed suitable only for garrison duties. Ultimately, the 24th Division's two RCT's were reassigned to the Eighth Army from Luzon, as were the 40th and 41st Divisions, the 503d Parachute RCT, and various supporting units. Some large guerrilla units were also available in the southern Philippines, especially on Panay, Cebu, and Mindanao.37
The principal combat-ready Australian units available to General MacArthur at this time comprised an army headquarters, two corps headquarters, the equivalent of six infantry divisions, and an armored brigade. MacArthur had once planned to use a two-division Australian corps in the Philippines, but ultimately most of the Australian units replaced U.S. Army units in eastern New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and the Bismarck Archipelago. Australian forces also undertook the recapture of Borneo.38
While it did not equal the strength of U.S. Army ground forces committed in central Europe, the Luzon Campaign was by far the largest of the Pacific war. It entailed the use of more U.S. Army ground combat and service forces than did operations in North Africa, Italy, or southern France and was larger than the entire Allied commitment to Sicily.39 It far outclassed the Japanese effort of 1941-42, which had totaled little more than the equivalent of four divisions.40
The Sixth Army's plan for the Lingayen assault called for the amphibious attack to be launched across the gulf's southern beaches, a significant decision in that these beaches were not the best along the gulf's shore.41 The southern beaches have little protection from the weather and are backed by fish ponds, rice paddies, and many tidal streams of varied widths and depths. These obstacles severely limit maneuver in the immediate beach area and channel movement along a relatively few narrow corridors of egress from the shore line to the Central Plains. By far the best beaches at Lingayen are those on the eastern shore, where the Japanese had landed in December 1941. But information available to General Krueger indicated that the Japanese maintained strong defenses along the east side of the gulf, taking advantage of high ground overlooking that shore. Insofar as could be ascertained from guerrilla sources, the southern beaches were weakly defended. Moreover, the southern shore boasted an airstrip that the Sixth Army might be able to rehabilitate rapidly. Finally, since the southern beaches were relatively poor, especially in regard to exits, a landing there might well achieve a considerable degree of tactical surprise.
Taking into consideration the exit problem, yet desiring to get ashore quickly as strong a force as possible, Krueger decided to land on a broad front. Thus, he would send ashore the maximum number of troops the southern beaches could hold and the maximum strength that could push inland without creating unmanageable bottlenecks along the few exits. He directed his two corps to land abreast, with the I Corps on the left, or east, and the XIV Corps on the right. Each corps would put two divisions, each less one RCT, ashore abreast. One RCT (or its equivalent) of each division would remain afloat in reserve until 10 January.42
The two corps' initial missions were identical: to seize the beachhead area within their respective zones; to protect the Sixth Army's flanks; and to maintain contact with each other. Both corps would be prepared to push rapidly inland to secure a crossing over the Agno River, which, originating in mountains far northeast of the landing beaches, swept in a broad arc twenty to twenty-five miles inland across the Central Plains and emptied into the southwestern corner of Lingayen Gulf. Krueger figured that once the Sixth Army was on the Agno and its flanks were secure, it would be ready to drive on south to secure Manila and Manila Bay.
Expecting some congestion on the beaches, Krueger decided to hold his army reserve--the 25th Infantry Division, the 158th RCT, and the 13th Armored Group--afloat until 11 January. Since the greatest threat would probably develop on the army's left, Krueger directed the 158th RCT to go ashore on the 11th along the I Corps' extreme left and be ready to block the coastal corridor on the gulf's eastern shore so as to hold back any Japanese counterattack from the north. Sixth Army prepared a number of alternative plans for the employment
of the 25th Division, most of them anticipating that the division would probably be committed in the I Corps' zone, where the 13th Armored Group was also to land and prepare for both defensive and offensive action.
To General Krueger, the task of seizing and securing a beachhead entailed gaining control of all the terrain enclosed within the limits of an "Army Beachhead Line," a semicircle with a radius of roughly fifteen miles from the center of the landing area. The factors determining the location of the Army Beachhead Line are perhaps best described by the Sixth Army's own report:
Sufficient depth was essential to secure the landing beaches against fire from hostile long range artillery. In addition to providing space for initial air installations, dispersion of supply dumps, and deployment of large forces, it was highly desirable that the Army Beachhead include the main access roads leading to the south across the Agno River as well as an adequate lateral road net to facilitate ready shifting of forces when the time came to break out of the beachhead. It was important that this area also include the road net emanating from Pozorrubio and Binalonan [roughly, seventeen miles east] to permit the concentration of our own armor in that area, while at the same time denying the area to our enemy. As the final consideration, the Sixth Army flanks [had to] be anchored on the high ground along the coastal defiles at Port Sual [to the west] and in the Rosario-Damortis area [to the northeast].43
The Naval and Amphibious Plan
Admiral Kinkaid's Allied Naval Forces was responsible for transporting the Sixth Army to Lingayen Gulf and establishing it ashore. This mission included the protection of the assault convoys, the transport and cover of reinforcement and resupply echelons, preparation for possible surface engagements with elements of the Japanese Navy, and mine sweeping and preliminary bombardment at Lingayen Gulf before the arrival of the assault convoys bearing the Sixth Army.44
These tasks were beyond the capability of the Allied Naval Forces as constituted.45 Kinkaid had barely enough amphibious means under his permanent control to mount a one-division assault; he had no battleships for preliminary bombardments; he had no CVE's for escort and ground support missions; he lacked destroyers and destroyer escorts for the proper protection of large assault convoys; and he had insufficient mine sweepers to undertake the extensive sweeping at Lingayen Gulf that available information indicated might be necessary. Adequate means would have to come from resources under Admiral Nimitz' control, and, in accordance with the Joint Chiefs' instructions to support the Luzon invasion, Nimitz furnished the necessary combat vessels and amphibious attack ships.
Once the means were assembled, the naval and amphibious organization for Luzon followed a pattern long since established in the Southwest Pacific. At the top was Admiral Kinkaid, simultaneously
the commander of the Allied Naval Forces, the U.S. Seventh Fleet, and the Luzon Attack Force. The Allied Naval Forces was the Seventh Fleet plus the few Australian and Dutch vessels assigned to MacArthur, while the Luzon Attack Force was the Allied Naval Forces augmented by the ships borrowed from Admiral Nimitz.46 Kinkaid divided Luzon Attack Force into various combat components, over some of which he retained direct control.47 The rest he assigned to two subordinate amphibious forces commanded by Vice Adm. Daniel E. Barbey and Vice Adm. Theodore S. Wilkinson.
Barbey (known as "Uncle Dan, the Amphibious Man," in the Southwest Pacific Area) had long experience as the commander of the Seventh Fleet's VII Amphibious Force. For Luzon his command was designated Task Force 78 (the San Fabian Attack Force) and was responsible for putting the I Corps ashore. Admiral Wilkinson, whose normal command was the III Amphibious Force of Halsey's Third Fleet, commanded Task Force 79 (the Lingayen Attack Force) and was responsible for putting the XIV Corps ashore. Each task force was further subdivided into amphibious task groups, each of which was to land one infantry division.48
The amphibious landing plan presented few unusual features. The landing hour was set for 0930 on 9 January, a bit later in the day than normal, and there were variations in the composition and timing of the assault waves of each amphibious group, or, perhaps better, each assault infantry division. Kinkaid set the hour for 0930 both to provide greater visibility in the landing area and to make allowances for tidal conditions. An earlier landing would set forces on shore in the face of a strong ebb tide, low tide being approximately 1050; a later hour might redound to the advantage of the Japanese. Assault waves were made up of LVT's (Landing Vehicles, Tracked) or LVT(A)'s (Landing Vehicles, Tracked, Armored) and the timing of succeeding waves varied from one division beach to another.49
While the amphibious command structure was the same as that previously employed in the Southwest Pacific, it differed from that normally employed in the South and Central Pacific Areas. Control of all air, land, and sea forces of the Southwest Pacific was vested in General MacArthur. Directly under him, commanding the invasion until ground force commanders could assume control ashore, was Admiral Kinkaid. The transfer of control from naval to ground commanders passed from the bottom up. Thus, when an infantry division commander assumed control ashore he passed from the control of the task group commander to that of the next higher naval echelon, the task force. When the corps commander went ashore, he passed from the control of the amphibious task force commander to that of Admiral Kinkaid. Kinkaid retained command of both naval and
ground elements until Krueger went ashore, reporting only to MacArthur until Sixth Army headquarters was functioning on land. As a practical matter, Kinkaid issued no orders to the ground forces without prior consultation with General Krueger.
Admiral Wilkinson, more familiar with another system of amphibious command, suggested that he command the "joint expedition," that is, the landing operation proper, while Kinkaid retained "over-all" command not only of the amphibious operation but also of all other Allied Naval Forces activities--those of submarines and detached surface groups, for example--not directly involved in the invasion. Wilkinson's proposals called for the creation of a separate command and staff, that of the "commander, joint expeditionary force." This system had worked well in the South and Central Pacific Areas, where carrier and battleship forces not directly associated with a landing had operated under the same fleet commander as had the amphibious attack forces.50 Admiral Kinkaid saw no necessity for an extra headquarters during the Luzon invasion. Halsey's Third Fleet, while it was to provide general cover and support, was not under Kinkaid's control. Therefore, Kinkaid turned down Wilkinson's suggestion with the observation that since so much of the Allied Naval Forces would be an integral part of the proposed "joint expeditionary force," Kinkaid could retain tighter control over the amphibious operation with a single headquarters than would be possible under Wilkinson's system.
Operating essentially as a fast carrier task force under Halsey, and comprising the bulk of the U.S. Navy's most modern battleships, carriers, cruisers, and destroyers, the Third Fleet's missions in support of the Lingayen invasion principally concerned strategic air support operations. However, in the unlikely event the Japanese should assemble sufficient surface elements to precipitate a major fleet action, Admiral Halsey would reorganize his vessels for surface action. In this connection, it is interesting to note that despite the near shambles at Leyte Gulf in October, necessary naval co-ordination at the time of the Lingayen assault could be accomplished only by co-operation between MacArthur and Nimitz. Again no provision was made for unified command in case of an emergency.
The Air Cover and Support Plan
Unlike Admiral Kinkaid, General Kenney had sufficient resources in the Southwest Pacific to undertake the bulk of the air missions necessary for the support of the Lingayen invasion, but he could not bring those resources to bear.51 The fact was that the Allied Air Forces
could not deploy enough land-based aircraft at fields within range of Luzon, the southern Philippines, Formosa, and other Japanese air base areas to furnish the required minimum essential support of various types. For this reason MacArthur had to borrow CVE's from the Central Pacific, make arrangements with Nimitz for Third Fleet cover and support and the help of land-based aircraft of the Central Pacific Area, arrange with the Joint Chiefs of Staffs for support by B-29 units in the Pacific and China, and co-ordinate his plans with the China-based Fourteenth Air Force.
Kinkaid's CVE-based planes had varied missions in connection with the Lingayen assault, many of which they would execute in co-operation with the land-based planes of the Allied Air Forces. The CVE's would provide cover for the assault and reinforcement convoys, undertake air strikes at the objective area in conjunction with the preassault mine sweeping and bombardment, help the Allied Air Forces forestall Japanese overland and overwater movements toward Lingayen Gulf, and provide close air support for ground operations ashore until relieved of that responsibility by Kenney's land-based planes.
In turn, the Allied Air Forces' principal missions included striking southern Luzon before the assault in conjunction with Third Fleet carrier operations to the north, helping the CVE's to protect assault convoys, augmenting CVE-based aircraft efforts to stop any Japanese attempts to move troops toward Lingayen Gulf by land or sea, bombing Japanese air bases and other installations in the southern Philippines and the Indies, helping guerrilla saboteurs disrupt Japanese communications on Luzon, and, finally, making reconnaissance and photographic missions.52 Within a week after the Lingayen assault, Kenney's land-based aircraft were to relieve the CVE-based planes of further responsibility for the support of ground operations on Luzon, a mission that required the rapid construction of airstrips in the Lingayen Gulf area.
Kenney delegated responsibility for the execution of the bulk of these missions to the U.S. Fifth Air Force, commanded by Maj. Gen. Ennis C. Whitehead. The other major components of the Allied Air Forces--the Thirteenth Air Force under Maj. Gen. St. Clair Streett, and the Royal Australian Air Force Command under Air Vice Marshall William D. Bostock--were to help insofar as their deployment and other assignments permitted. The last two would be more intimately concerned with the reconquest of the southern Philippines and Borneo.
Many of the Allied Air Forces search and reconnaissance missions would be flown by land-based aircraft of the Allied Naval Forces, operating under Kenney's control. Also under the operational control of the Allied Air Forces were U.S. Marine Corps air units--then in the process of moving forward from the Solomon Islands and Bismarck Archipelago--which Kenney had placed under Whitehead's command. Palau-based bombers of the Seventh Air Force, under Nimitz' control, were also to hit targets on Luzon at times and places determined by Kenney. The Fourteenth Air Force
would conduct searches over Formosa and the South China Sea and bomb Japanese air and port installations along the China coast. Land-based planes in the rear areas of the Pacific would continue to neutralize Japanese airfields on bypassed islands.
There was some difficulty selecting profitable targets for the supporting B-29's of the Twentieth Air Force--the XX Bomber Command in China and India and the XXI Bomber Command on the Mariana Islands. MacArthur and Nimitz wanted the big bombers to pay special attention to Japanese port and air installations on Formosa and in the Ryukyus, but General Arnold, the commander of the Army Air Forces, did not consider airfields suitable B-29 targets. As it worked out, the B-29 plan called for strikes against aircraft depots and factories in Japan immediately before and after the Lingayen assault, together with attacks against port installations in northern Formosa. The first series was designed to forestall the Japanese sending any planes southward from the home islands and the second to prevent the Japanese from assembling reinforcement convoys at Formosa. Finally, the XX and XXI Bomber Commands were to undertake an extensive reconnaissance program over the western Pacific and Japan, the program to be accompanied by light, harassing bombing.53
The principal missions of the fast carrier task groups of Halsey's Third Fleet were to destroy Japanese air and naval forces in the Ryukyus, Formosa, south China coast, and northern Luzon areas before the Lingayen assault, and to prevent Japanese air and naval interference with the assault. Specifically, the carrier-based aircraft were scheduled to strike Formosa, the Ryukyus, and the Pescadores (between Formosa and the south China coast) on 3 and 4 January, then refuel and move to new positions on the 5th in order to blanket Japanese airfields in northern Luzon on 6 January, and strike Formosa and the Ryukyus again on 7 and 9 January.54
One important, albeit tentative, change was proposed for this schedule before 9 January.55 Fearing that Japanese surface forces might sortie from bases at Singapore and in Indochina after the CVE's and other surface combat vessels borrowed from Nimitz had returned to the Central Pacific, General MacArthur suggested that after the Lingayen assault the Third Fleet move into the South China Sea to strike Japanese naval and air concentrations along the coast of the mainland. If such a move could not be undertaken, the Southwest Pacific commander pointed out, it might be necessary to hold the borrowed resources at Luzon longer, thus again delaying Nimitz' invasions of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
The waters into which MacArthur suggested the Third Fleet sail had been unchallenged by Allied naval forces other than submarines since the loss of H.M.S. Prince of Wales and H.M.S. Repulse to Japanese aircraft in December 1941. Moreover, the South China Sea was ringed by Japanese fields estimated to hold well over 1,000 planes, the operations of which would not be as severely handicapped by the bad weather to be expected during January as would those of carrier-based aircraft.
Nevertheless, Nimitz and Halsey fell in quite happily with the idea. Halsey had been anxious to press the war closer to the Japanese for some time, and Nimitz, too, felt that successful operations in the South China Sea might well have grave adverse psychological effects on the Japanese, simultaneously boosting Chinese morale. Furthermore, the Japanese combat vessels known to be based in Indochina, together with concentrations of cargo and transport ships along the western shores of the South China Sea, promised lucrative targets for carrier-based air attacks. Finally, the sortie might help mislead the Japanese as to the direction of the main attack. Accordingly, Nimitz directed Admiral Halsey to be ready to move the fast carriers into the South China Sea after Southwest Pacific forces had made a successful assault at Lingayen Gulf.
As was the case for naval elements, the invasion of Luzon involved no provisions for centralized air command, except in the immediate Lingayen Gulf area.56 Again, for forces of the Southwest Pacific, the joint control was vested in General MacArthur, who by virtue of his position would control both CVE-based and land-based aircraft through Kinkaid and Kenney, respectively. However, all land-based and CVE-based planes operating in the Lingayen Gulf area before the assault would be controlled by the Advance Commander Support Aircraft, reporting to Kinkaid through the naval officer in control of the preliminary bombardment and mine sweeping groups. Upon the arrival of the Luzon Attack Force, control over these planes would pass to the Commander Support Aircraft Luzon, another naval officer reporting directly to Kinkaid, who would remain in general control of air operations in the area until the Allied Air Forces took over.57
For the rest, the CV-based and land-based planes from Admiral Nimitz' command had to be controlled by cooperation between Nimitz and MacArthur, just as MacArthur had to make arrangements with the Joint Chiefs for B-29 support and could exercise control over Fourteenth Air Force activities only by co-operation. The execution of the air plan, as it was finally evolved, entailed the efforts of nearly fifteen major air commands, both Army and Navy, directing the activities of both carrier-based and land-based aircraft, operating in separate theaters and across theater boundaries, and reporting to higher headquarters through widely differing channels. The task facing the planners was difficult, to be sure, but after three years of experience with such a complicated air organization the planners were well aware of what was required and of
what each air echelon was capable. Thus, in the end, an air plan was developed with remarkably little fuss, considering the problems involved. There can, however, be no evading the fact that the task of co-ordinating air, ground, and naval plans and operations would have been considerably simplified had a different command arrangement existed in the Pacific.
The Logistical Plan
Organization and Responsibility
The United States Army Services of Supply, Southwest Pacific Area, was to provide the necessary supplies for the ground forces and most of the air echelons that General MacArthur committed to the Luzon operation.58 The Allied Naval Forces was responsible for its own logistics--although in case of emergency it could draw upon Services of Supply stocks--while the Allied Air Forces would provide its elements with specialized items of air force equipment. The Allied Air Forces was also responsible for emergency air supply operations, for which it would draw stocks from the Services of Supply. The supporting forces under Admiral Nimitz' control would draw their own supplies and equipment through various Army and Navy channels in the Central Pacific Area. From S-day--as MacArthur designated the invasion target date--on, the Sixth Army was responsible for all other logistical operations on Luzon until it was relieved of those duties by the Services of Supply, on or about S plus 35. On the same date, the Services of Supply was to relieve the Allied Naval Forces of the responsibility for transporting men and equipment to Luzon.
In general, the logistical program for the Luzon Campaign presented few unusual features except an extreme decentralization of logistical responsibilities during the staging and assault phases, when the corps and, to a lesser extent, the divisions had abnormally heavy logistic duties. In the plan, logistical operations ashore on Luzon would be divided into three phases. First, under Sixth Army's general direction, the corps and divisions were to be responsible for all aspects of supply and construction except for the duties assigned to the Allied Air and Naval Forces. Second, with the Allied Naval Forces continuing to hold overwater transportation responsibilities, an Army Service Command would relieve the corps and divisions of many logistical burdens. The lineal descendant of a similar organization employed by the Sixth Army at Leyte, the Army Service Command, operating under the control of Headquarters, Sixth Army, would assume logistical responsibility in the Lingayen Gulf area on S plus 6. At that time it would take over the control of most of the logistical support agencies already ashore, such as the shore parties built around engineer boat and shore regiments previously assigned to divisions. The third and final phase would begin on or about S plus 35, when the Services of Supply was to assume responsibility for all logistical operations (except combat supply activity), taking over the control of the Army Service Command and its subordinate echelons.
The supply plan called for assault units to reach Lingayen Gulf with sufficient supplies and equipment of all types to last ten days. At the same time combat echelons would bring with them two units of fire for all weapons. By S plus 12 a month's supply of most items of equipment and five units of fire for combat organizations would have been built up in the Lingayen Gulf area. Within two months after the invasion, the Services of Supply would ship forward to Luzon a three-month supply of matériel for some 203,000 troops, including fifteen units of fire for artillery and mortars and ten units of fire for all other weapons.59
The big problem in staging and supporting the Luzon invasion was the same one encountered in most other operations in every theater throughout the war--insufficient shipping.60 For Luzon, specifically, the lack of ships caused two significant shortages in the forward area. First, the assault units, finding it necessary to allot most of their available cargo space to troops and general supplies, had to leave behind in the staging areas many of their assigned vehicles.61 A general shortage of engineers would also develop during the initial stages of the operation, since it was impossible to send forward with the assault convoys all the required engineers and equipment. This shortage was overcome relatively early in the campaign as resupply convoys, often involving a return trip by ships of the assault echelons, brought forward more Engineer units and equipment.
The shipping that reached Lingayen Gulf in the first two convoys--one on S-day and one on S plus 2--consisted of three principal categories: the naval assault shipping functioning mainly as troop carriers but having secondary cargo-carrying capacities; naval assault vessels, whose primary function was transporting bulk cargo and vehicles but which also carried some troops; and merchant-type cargo ships involved mainly in resupply operations. Of the first group, 84 vessels arrived at Lingayen Gulf through S plus 2. There were also 216 naval and merchant-type cargo ships. Twenty-five more of these types were scheduled to arrive on S plus 4, and an aggregate of 71 merchant ships would reach the gulf by S plus 60.
In setting up a timetable for dispatching ships to Luzon, the Sixth Army and the Allied Naval Forces had to plan for a discharge rate of about 5,000 deadweight tons per day during the first month, and had to take into account the potential demands of the tactical situation ashore as well as the availability of
escorts. Each headquarters, basing its arguments on experience at Leyte, came up with an entirely different time schedule for the arrival of resupply convoys, and the area of disagreement became so wide that at one time early in November all planning came to a near standstill.
The principal point at issue was whether to schedule a convoy for S plus 1. Krueger argued that congestion at Leyte had been caused by dividing ships of a once-scheduled A plus 1 convoy between A-day and A plus 2 echelons, but Admiral Kinkaid replied that if an A plus 1 convoy had been sent to Leyte the confusion already existing there would have become complete chaos, since much of the shipping scheduled to be unloaded on A-day was not discharged as planned. Moreover, Kinkaid pointed out, he did not have sufficient escort vessels to execute the Sixth Army's plan. The solution finally agreed upon called for a combined S-day and S plus 1 convoy to reach Lingayen Gulf on S-day but with no effort to be made to start discharging the S plus 1 convoy until 10 January. Other echelons were to arrive on S plus 2, S plus 4, S plus 8, S plus 12, and so on.62
Except for artillery ammunition and light, portable bridging equipment, the Services of Supply had little difficulty meeting supply quotas. A theaterwide artillery ammunition shortage prompted General Krueger to direct artillery commanders to control expenditures carefully. He enjoined them to make accurate calculation of fire data and to hold unobserved fire to the minimum.63 The shortage was gradually overcome, especially after resupply began to arrive from the United States and after the cumulative effect of the program of careful expenditure began to make itself felt. The shortage of light bridging equipment was not alleviated until very late in the campaign. At first, a slow rate of discharge created a shortage of heavy bridging equipment inland from the beachhead, but as the equipment was unloaded the problem diminished.
One other supply problem deserves special mention, that concerning civil administration and relief. With the Japanese taking everything they could possibly carry with them as they moved into defensive positions, the civilian population of Luzon began to run dangerously low on food and medical supplies. Government at the local and national levels, completely reorganized since 1941, was approaching a state of chaos. The problem was vast, yet could not be allowed to interfere with tactical operations.
To help the Sixth Army and its components with a civil affairs and relief program, MacArthur activated and attached thirteen Philippine Civil Affairs Units (PCAU's) to the various echelons of the command. Bearing some resemblance to military government units being employed in Europe, many of the PCAU's were partially staffed by expatriate Filipinos from the United States. Their responsibilities included supervising
the distribution of relief supplies, setting price ceilings and directing the retailing of consumer goods, re-establishing schools and medical facilities, and reconstituting local governments. Since the vast majority of the Luzon Filipinos were loyal, the PCAU's could expect co-operation.
Each PCAU boarded ship with the maximum quantity of relief supplies it could squeeze into the cargo space allotted it. GHQ SWPA provided for a bulk shipment of 4,000 tons of relief supplies to reach Lingayen Gulf on S plus 18, and within another month and a half some 16,000 more tons would arrive on Luzon. Suitable captured Japanese supplies would be distributed to the needy, and in an emergency the PCAU's could call upon the Sixth Army or the Services of Supply to provide food and medical supplies.
For the combat forces, the most pressing assault logistical requirement would be the unloading, stockpiling, and delivery of essential supplies and equipment. No provision was made for centralized control of these operations during the assault phase--such would not come until the Army Service Command assumed logistical responsibilities in the Lingayen Gulf area. Instead, the responsibilities were decentralized at the division level, the actual work to be undertaken by shore parties built around engineer boat and shore regiments attached to each division. Shore party operations would be supplemented by the activities of Navy beach parties, control over which was even more decentralized. In general, the beach parties would direct unloading traffic and, in co-operation with the shore parties, select beaches for supply discharge.
The next major logistical requirement involved construction. A great deal of road and bridge construction would be necessary in the beachhead area, and airfields would have to be built quickly in the region so that the supporting CVE's could be released on schedule. The first airfield construction project was to provide a field by S plus 6 to accommodate two fighter groups and a night fighter squadron. By S plus 15 a second field was to be ready, tripling or quadrupling the capacity of the first. The I and XIV Corps were responsible for beginning work on all construction projects; the Army Service Command would take over on S plus 6.
Other major construction projects to be undertaken by the Army Service Command included petroleum storage and distribution facilities, warehouses, hospitals, docks and jetties, and, in general, all the base facilities necessary to the support of the 203,000 troops for whom supplies were to be brought forward. A Naval Service Command, operating initially under Sixth Army control, would prepare a PT (Motor Torpedo) boat base, some naval shore installations including repair facilities, and a seaplane base.
Evacuation of sick and wounded from the front lines to the beachhead was at first the responsibility of the two corps. The Allied Naval Forces, during the early phases of the operation, would send casualties to rear areas on assault shipping, and the Allied Air Forces would undertake air evacuation as airfields became available. Until adequate fixed hospitalization could be established on Luzon, most casualties would be moved to hospitals run by the Services of Supply on Leyte.
Thus, the logistical plan called for extreme decentralization of operational responsibilities during the assault phase, decentralization that would be followed by an orderly passage of responsibility to centralized direction first under the Army Service Command and then under the Services of Supply.
Table of Contents ** Previous Chapter (1) * Next Chapter (3)
1. The concept of the four-phase plan for the reconquest of the Philippines, together with the timing and selection of targets, is to be found in a series of plans covering the conduct of the war in the Southwest Pacific produced at MacArthur's headquarters from RENO I of 25 February 1943 through MUSKETEER II of 29 August 1944, copies to be found in OPD files and précis in collection of GHQ SWPA Historical Record Index Cards, in OCMH files.
2. For details of the change in plan and of the Leyte landings, see Cannon, Leyte, chs. I and IV.
3. MUSKETEER III, 26 Sep 44. For the planning of specific operations in the southern Philippines and the Indies, see below, ch. XXX.
4. Morton, The Fall of the Philippines, pages 51-61, 123-38, describes the Japanese landings of 1941.
5. GHQ, SWPA OI 73, 12 Oct 44, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 14-31 Oct 44.
6. MUSKETEER III, 26 Sep 44; GHQ SWPA OI 73, 12 Oct 44; GHQ SWPA Staff Studies: MIKE I (Lingayen Gulf), Edition No. 2, 7 Oct 44; MIKE II (Dingalan Bay), 4 Oct 44; MIKE III (Vigan), 23 Nov 44; MIKE IV (Nasugbu and Balayan Bays), 7 Nov 44; MIKE VI (Batangas and Tayabas Bays), 2 Jan 45; and MIKE VII (Zambales coast), Edition No. 2, 14 Jan 45. All in OPD ABC 384 Pacific (1-17-43), various sections. GHQ SWPA OI 74, 13 Oct 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 13 Oct 44; GHQ SWPA OI 80, 20 Nov 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 20 Nov 44.
7. See, for example, the examination of proposals for operations in southern Luzon in ch. XII, below.
8. MUSKETEER III, 26 Sep 44, and other plans cited previously in this section.
9. Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, C-14608, 8 Jul 44, CM-IN 6202; WD Telecon, Handy (in Washington) and Maj Gen John E. Hull (Chief, Theater Gp OPD, in Brisbane, Australia), 7 Aug 44, CM-OUT WD-TC-797.
10. Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, C-51429, 2 Nov 44, CM-IN 1749; MUSKETEER III, 26 Sep 44.
11. Rad, Marshall to MacArthur, 31 Oct 44, CM-OUT 55075.
12. Interview, author with Kinkaid, 25 Jun 51, notes in OCMH files; Comments of Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Chamberlin (Ret.), 20 Jan 57; Comments of Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid (Ret.), 15 Jan 57.
13. Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, C-18496, 28 Sep 44, CM-IN 26358; Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, C-51429, 2 Nov 44, CM-IN 1749; Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, C-51706, 7 Nov 44, CM-IN 6425.
14. This was the 77th Infantry Division, which had originally been part of Sixth Army Reserve for the Leyte operation but which had been released to Nimitz' control, without having been committed on Leyte, on 29 October. See Cannon, Leyte, pp. 276-77.
15. Rad, Sutherland to MacArthur and Krueger, C-52192, 15 Nov 44, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 25 Nov-1 Dec 44.
16. Cannon, Leyte, p. 276.
17. ACofS G-3 Sixth Army, Notes on LOVE III (Mindoro) Conf at Hq Sixth Army, 16 Nov 44, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Mindoro, 28 Sep-20 Nov 44; Rad, MacArthur to Nimitz and Marshall, CAX-11669, 16 Nov 44, CM-IN 16704; Sixth Army Rpt Mindoro, pp. 10-11. See Cannon, Leyte, pp. 185-88, 306-07, for further information on airfield construction at Leyte.
18. Memo, Kinkaid for MacArthur, 30 Nov 44, CofS GHQ SWPA File, ANF 116, précis in collection of GHQ SWPA Hist Red Index Cards in OCMH files; Interview, author with Kinkaid, 25 Jun 51; Kinkaid Comments, 15 Jan 57; Chamberlin Comments, 20 Jan 57.
19. Rad, Kinkaid to King, 0235 27 Nov 44, CM-IN 26547; Kinkaid Comments, 15 Jan 57; Chamberlin Comments, 20 Jan 57.
20. Rad, MacArthur to Nimitz and Marshall, CAX-11669, 15 Nov 44, CM-IN 16704; Rad, MacArthur to Kinkaid, Halsey, and Nimitz, CX-54038, 27 Nov 44, CM-IN 7958; Rad, Halsey to Nimitz, 0400 29 Nov 44, CM-IN 29593.
21. Rad, Nimitz to King, 2040 17 Nov 44, CM-IN 16705; Rad, Nimitz to MacArthur, 0200 17 Nov 44, CM-IN 16045; Rad, Nimitz to MacArthur, 0502 25 Nov 44, CM-IN 25078; Rad, Nimitz to Halsey and King, 0324 29 Nov 44, CM-IN 29579.
22. Rads, Nimitz to MacArthur, 0502 25 Nov 44 and 2349 29 Nov 44, CM-IN's 25078 and 29598.
23. Rads, MacArthur to Marshall, C-54164 and CA-54167, 30 Nov 44, CM-IN 306 (Dec) and CM-IN 29666 (Nov).
24. Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, C-54164, 30 Nov 44; Kenney, General Kenney Reports, pp. 478-79; Comdr Luzon Attack Force (Kinkaid) Action Rpt Luzon, pp. 2-4 (this document is simultaneously the report of the ANF SWPA, the Seventh Fleet, Task Force 77, and the Luzon Attack Force and is hereinafter cited as Luzon Attack Force Action Rpt); Kinkaid Comments, 15 Jan 57.
25. Rad, MacArthur to Marshall, C-54164, 30 Nov 44.
26. Rad, Nimitz to King, 0215 3 Dec 44, CM-IN 2908. For further information on setting the target date of the Okinawa operation, see Roy E. Appleman, James M. Burns, Russell A. Gugeler, and John Stevens, Okinawa: The Last Battle, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1948), pp. 19, 28.
27. This subsection is based primarily upon the following general sources: G-2 GHQ SWPA, DSEI's, 12 Oct 44-9 Jan 45, filed in the G-3 GHQ Jnl Files for the corresponding dates; G-2 GHQ SWPA, Monthly Summaries of Enemy Dispositions, Oct, Nov, and Dec 44, filed in the G-3 GHQ Jnl Files for 31 Oct, 30 Nov, and 31 Dec 44, respectively; G-2 GHQ FEC, The Guerrilla Resistance Movement in the Philippines, passim, copy in OCMH files; G-2 Sixth Army, Summary of Info Affecting MIKE I, 30 Oct 44, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 14-31 Oct 44.
28. See app. A-1 for organization of the Southwest Pacific Area.
29. G-2 GHQ SWPA, DSEI 1017, 7-8 Jan 45, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 8 Jan 45.
30. In addition to the sources cited in note 27, above, information on air intelligence estimates is derived from: AAF SWPA, Intel Summary 252, 30 Dec 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 30 Dec 44; CINCPAC-CINCPOA, Opns in POA During Jan 45, 31 Jul 45, pp 5, 10-12, copy in OCMH files; AAF SWPA OI 73, 17 Oct 44, and amendments thereto, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 17 Oct 44; ANF SWPA Opn Plan No. 17-44, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 1-2 Dec 44; Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, II, 27, 30.
31. CINCPAC-CINCPOA, Opns in POA During Jan 45, pp. 5, 48-49; Luzon Attack Force Action Rpt, pp. 4, 7, 48; Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, III, 28-30.
32. GHQ SWPA OI 73, 12 Oct 44.
33. Ibid.; GHQ SWPA Staff Study MIKE II, 4 Oct 44.
34. Rad, MacArthur to Krueger, CX-52617, 21 Nov 44, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 15-25 Nov 44; GHQ SWPA OI 84, 19 Dec 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 19 Dec 44; Eighth Army FO 13, 8 Jan 45, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 12 Jan 45, For the employment of the 77th Division, see Cannon, Leyte. For the assignment of the 19th and 34th RCT's to Luzon, see below, chs. XII and XVII. The employment of the 41st Division is described below, chs. XXX-XXXII.
35. Subsequent information on the commitment and deployment of major ground units available in SWPA is based upon G-3 GHQ SWPA, Monthly Summaries of Opns, Jan-Jun 45, copies in OCMH files.
36. Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, III, 3. See also below, chs. XX, XXIII, XXVIII.
37. See below, chs. XXX-XXXII.
38. See apps. A-2 and A-3.
39. The U.S. commitment in North Africa stayed below 7 divisions; in Sicily, the Allies used approximately 12 divisions; and the U.S. Army commitment to Italy remained below 9 divisions.
40. See Morton, Fall of the Philippines, passim.
41. The remainder of this subsection is based generally upon: Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 6-9; Sixth Army FO 34, 20 Nov 44, ibid., I, 117-39; I Corps FO 1, 25 Nov 44, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 9 Dec 44; XIV Corps FO 1, 30 Nov 44, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 2-5 Dec 44.
42. See app. A-3.
43. Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 8.
44. GHQ SWPA OI 73, 12 Oct 44.
45. The general sources for the remainder of this subsection are: Luzon Attack Force Action Rpt, pp. 3, 7-13, 18-20, 48-51, and an. A, Organization, pp. 1-14; Comdr III Amphib Force (Vice Adm Theodore S. Wilkinson) Lingayen Gulf Opn Rpt, pp. 1-7, 15-18; Comdr VII Amphib Force (Vice Adm Daniel E. Barbey) Lingayen Rpt, pp. 5-6, 26-27; Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 14-15; CINCPAC-CINCPOA, Opns in POA During Jan 45, pp. 4, 48-49.
46. Eleven Australian vessels, including two heavy cruisers and two destroyers, participated in the Luzon invasion. At the time of the assault, the Netherlands contribution to the Allied Naval Forces was represented only by a few submarines, which played no direct part.
47. See app. A-4.
48. See app. A-5.
49. See app. B.
50. See, inter alia, Philip A. Crowl and Edmund G. Love, Seizure of the Gilberts and Marshalls, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1955).
51. This subsection is based principally upon: GHQ SWPA OI 73, 12 Oct 44; AAF SWPA OI 73, 17 Oct 44; ANF SWPA, an. G, Air Plan, to Opn Plan No. 17-44, 20 Nov 44, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 1-2 Dec 44; Fifth Air Force OI 7, 26 Oct 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 31 Oct 44; Ltr of Agreement G-3 GHQ SWPA and Plans Off Pacific Fleet (Sherman) for MacArthur, Nimitz, Arnold, et al., sub: Co-ordination of Opns (FIVESOME Agreement), Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 1-15 Nov 44; CINCPAC-CINCPOA, Opns in POA During Jan 45, pp. 3-8, 11-12, 24-31, 48-51.
52. In addition to the sources listed in note 51, information on Allied Air Forces missions is derived from: AAF SWPA, OI's 73/3, 21 Nov, and 73/8, 27 Dec 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 17 Oct 44; Thirteenth Air Force OI 15, 8 Nov 44, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 13 Nov 44.
53. Rad, MacArthur to Arnold, CX-51561, 5 Nov 44, CM-IN 4769; Rad, MacArthur to Nimitz and Arnold, CX-52470, 19 Nov 44, CM-IN 18735; Rad, Nimitz to MacArthur, Halsey, and Arnold, 2255 20 Nov 44, CM-IN 21078; Rads, Arnold to MacArthur, Nimitz, Wedemeyer, et al., 17 Nov, 26 Nov, 19 Dec, and 22 Dec 44, CM-OUT's 64579 and 68829 Nov, 79536 and 80998 Dec.
54. An. C to Third Fleet Opn Plan No. 24-44, 28 Dec 44, and 2d Carrier TF (TF 38, the Third Fleet's fast carriers) Opn Order No. 5-44, 27 Dec 44, both in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 1-3 Jan 45.
55. The story of this change is based principally upon: Memo, ACofS G-3 GHQ SWPA for MacArthur, 25 Dec 44, sub: Protection of Amphibious Assault . . . Movement to Lingayen Gulf, G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 25 Dec 44; Rad, MacArthur to Halsey, CX-54435, 6 Dec 44, CM-IN 7977; CINCPAC-CINCPOA Opns in POA During Jan 45, pp. 4, 11-12; Halsey and Bryan, Admiral Halsey's Story, pp. 241-42.
56. See app. A-6.
57. An. G, Air Plan, to ANF SWPA Opn Plan No. 17-44, 20 Nov 44; Comdr Air Support Control Units, Seventh Fleet, Rpt of Support Aircraft Opns MIKE I, 20 Jan 45, G-3 Jnl File, 17 Jan 45.
58. This and the next subsection are based generally upon: GHQ SWPA OI 73, 12 Oct 44; USASOS LI 73/SOS, 4 Nov 44, and LI 73/21/SOS, 21 Jan 45, both in G-3 GHQ Jnl File, 4 Nov 44. Sixth Army Admin Order 16, 23 Nov 44, and amendments thereto, in Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, I, 136-39; Sixth Army Rpt Luzon, III, 51-58, 113.
59. The World War II unit of fire was the amount of ammunition one weapon or one organization would normally use in one day, and was figured in terms of rounds or tons per weapon or organization. At this writing the wartime term "unit of fire" has no exact equivalent in U.S. Army usage, and three different terms are presently employed for ammunition requirements and expenditures. The Southwest Pacific's unit of fire at the time of the Lingayen Gulf assault included; M1 rifle, 100 rounds; 81-mm. mortar, 240 rounds; 105-mm, field artillery howitzer, 300 rounds; 155-mm. howitzer, 150 rounds.
60. In addition to the sources listed in note 46, general sources used in the preparation of this subsection include: Luzon Attack Force Action Rpt, pp. 16-19, 77-79, and an. A, Org, pp. 4-12; Sixth Army Rpt on Luzon Campaign, IV, 3, 7-8, 11, 18, 22; III Amphib Force Lingayen Gulf Rpt, Encl G, Logistics, pp. 1-3; 4th ESB Rpt Luzon, pp. i-iii, 1-2.
61. The 40th Division, for example, left about one-third of its vehicles on New Britain. Comments of Maj Gen Rapp Brush (Ret.) (formerly CG 40th Div), 28 Dec 56.
62. The story of the solution of the convoy-scheduling problem is to be found in a series of radios among Sixth Army headquarters at Leyte, a Sixth Army planning group in GHQ SWPA at Hollandia, and ANF SWPA. These messages, most of them exchanged during the first week of November, are located in Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 1-15 Nov 44, or in Sixth Army Rear Echelon G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 1-11 Nov 44.
63. Ltr, Krueger (to subordinate units), 4 Dec 44, sub: Sp Instructions to FA Comdrs in M-1 Opn, Sixth Army G-3 Jnl File Luzon, 6-8 Dec 44.